Chad Reed has demonstrated the speed, but not yet the consistency, to win a round of the 2005 THQ AMA Supercross Series, but the young Aussie is hoping to turn that around in the San Francisco Supercross this Saturday.
After suffering a 16th-place finish in the rain-soaked season opener at Anaheim on 8 January, Reed has charged all the way back in the standings into a tie for third place behind series leader Ricky Carmichael and Kevin Windham.
Reed actually turned the fastest lap at Anaheim last weekend before making a mistake clipping a jump and hitting the ground allowing Carmichael to motor away to an uncontested victory. Reed remounted and finished second.
“The first three rounds have been a bit oddball,” Reed said. “If you'd have told me that I would have started the season this way I wouldn't have believed it. I was in a good position last weekend and couldn't take advantage of it. I'm in a bit of a hole at the moment, but this is racing and you never know what's going to happen. My team has given me a great bike and I think if I keep working hard it will eventually start paying off.”
This weekend's event marks the third AMA Supercross race at SBC Park. With its views of the Bay Bridge and the marina it has quickly become one of the favorite venues in the series for fans and riders alike.
Suzuki's Ricky Carmichael returns to San Francisco after missing the entire supercross season last year while recovering from knee surgery. The 2003 San Francisco winner is riding a two race win streak coming into this Saturday's race and took over the series lead last weekend at Anaheim II.
“I hated to win that way,” Carmichael said of his victory over Reed last week. “When he [Reed] fell down it kind of took the wind out of my sails. I was looking forward to a good battle. I've got the points lead now and have to keep it going. I think Chad is going to come on strong, but I'm ready for the challenge.”
Honda's Kevin Windham lost the series lead last weekend in spite of coming from the back of the pack to finish an inspired third. Windham suffered a hard crash in his heat race and was shaken up, but managed to overcome the effects of the crash and as a result is just three points out of the series lead.
“I think we're all riding as hard as we can and that's why we're having all these crashes,” Windham said. “I took a pretty good hit in the heat race crash and tossed around the idea of not riding in the main, but this is a long season and it's no time to roll over and play dead. It's nice to know I can get a bad start and still get up on the podium.”
Legendary AMA Supercross racer Jeremy McGrath is making a limited return from retirement and will experience a homecoming of sorts in San Francisco. The all-time AMA Supercross wins leader was born in San Francisco and got his first taste of entertaining fans when as a three-year-old he'd race a Big Wheel down hills on the sidewalk of his San Francisco neighborhood and amuse his playmates by jumping driveway curbs on the way down. McGrath scored a fifth last Saturday in Anaheim and seems to be getting faster every weekend in his return.
Defending AMA 125 West Supercross Champion Ivan Tedesco comes into San Francisco with the series lead again this year. The Pro Circuit Kawasaki rider had a five race win streak halted at San Francisco last year by archrival Nathan Ramsey. Tedesco and Ramsey are expected to be the top contenders in the 125 race along with Suzuki's Broc Hepler who won in Phoenix two weeks ago.