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RC leads Supercross to Indy, 125 East opens
10 February 2005
The THQ AMA Supercross and World Supercross GP championships make their first swing East this Saturday, February 12, as Supercross comes to the RCA Dome in Indianapolis.
Suzuki's Ricky Carmichael is off to his best start ever in the series and comes to Indy with a commanding 29-point lead over defending champ Chad Reed. Indiana's own Mike LaRocco is third in the standings and is the defending winner of the Indy Supercross.
But while Carmichael has taken early control of the 250 class, part of the attention in Indianapolis will turn to the start of the AMA 125 East Supercross Series. The 125 East Series is loaded with top-notch riders all hoping to add a Supercross title to their résumé.
Grant Langston, a former AMA 125 Motocross and 125 World Motocross champ from South Africa, will be making his debut with the Pro Circuit Kawasaki team in Indy.
After racing for KTM, Langston is hoping to earn his first AMA 125 Supercross title riding for his new team. Pro Circuit Kawasaki is one of the leading 125 teams and has a truckload of titles to its credit and Langston said he was looking for a change.
"I'm looking forward to racing with Kawasaki," Langston said. "You've probably only got about 10 good years as a professional rider and sometimes change can be good. With the four-stroke era in the 125 class in full swing I wanted to be with a team with a lot of experience. Kawasaki's KX250F is a proven winner and I have everything with my new team that I need in order to win championships."
Other top riders slated to race in the 125 East Series include Suzuki's former amateur racing standout Davi Millsaps; Josh Grant of Amsoil Chaparral Honda, last year's surprise 125 motocross rider who will making his Supercross debut; Grant's team-mate Joaquim Rodrigues, a native of Portugal who is considered a top up-and-coming rider in the series; the aggressive riding Matt Walker of Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki and other names very recognizable to Supercross fans such as Brock Sellards, Branden Jesseman, Shae Bentley, Eric Sorby and Troy Adams just to name a few.
But Indy fans will surely be rooting for home state hero LaRocco (middle pic) in the premier 250 class. After years of coming up short the Hoosier racing veteran known as 'The Rock' finally broke through to win his home Supercross last year in what proved to be one of the most memorable races in the history of the series. An Indy win would provide a fitting birthday present for LaRocco, who turns 34 on Saturday.
While the Indy fans may favour LaRocco, they'll likely cheer loudly for Carmichael as well. The two-time Indy Supercross winner once suffered deafening boos a few years ago in the RCA Dome after a run in with Travis Pastrana.
Since then Carmichael has more than earned the respect of racing enthusiasts with record-setting performances. He is making his return to Indy for the first time in two years and he'll be riding with Suzuki. Last weekend in Anaheim, California, he became the first Suzuki rider ever to win four AMA Supercross races in a row.
"I'm looking forward to racing back East," Carmichael said after the West Coast swing. "I like being closer to home. It gives me a little more time to relax between races. I'm going to keep racing hard and doing what I've done to get in the position to reach my goal of winning this championship."
If Carmichael goes on to win the series this year it would mark the second time in AMA Supercross history that a Suzuki rider has earned the title.
Joining LaRocco and Carmichael as former Indy winners is Yamaha's David Vuillemin. After a slow start the Frenchman comes into Indy this year ranked seventh in the series. He'll be looking to improve on that ranking with another strong performance in the RCA Dome.
AMA Supercross King Jeremy McGrath (lower pic) is also scheduled to race in Indianapolis as part of his limited comeback to racing after retiring in 2002.
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