The year was 1980. Mike “Too Tall” Bell rode his factory Yamaha to victory in the inaugural San Diego Supercross over rivals Donnie Hansen and Marty Tripes in Jack Murphy Stadium.
This Saturday, February 19, 2005, the race will celebrate its 25th anniversary when the AMA Supercross series comes to the same San Diego venue now known as Qualcomm Stadium. This year's event is round seven of the AMA series (and round seven of the World SX GP championship) and is the final of five Supercross races held in California this season.
While Bell, Hansen and Tripes are now all enshrined in the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in Pickerington, Ohio, a new generation of riders featuring names such as Ricky Carmichael, Chad Reed and Kevin Windham will take to the track this weekend in San Diego.
Team Makita Suzuki rider Carmichael has won five of the six rounds, consecutively, coming into San Diego and enjoys a huge 32-point early season lead over two-time San Diego winner Reed.
A three-time AMA Supercross champ, Carmichael is off to his best start ever in the series. The 25-year-old is in the prime of his career - and it's showing: his ride last weekend in Indianapolis was one of the most dominating of the season.
“My confidence is at an all-time high,” Carmichael admitted after his victory in the RCA Dome. “Everything is going in my direction. I'm enjoying the challenge of trying to get better as a rider every season and so far I'm happy with the results. I seem to be adapting well to different track conditions this year. I've got a point to prove this year and I can't afford to become complacent.”
Carmichael looks unbeatable right now and surely has the opportunity to break the all-time single season AMA Supercross Series win record. He and the legendary Jeremy McGrath share the current record of 14 wins in a season. Carmichael is hoping to earn his first San Diego Supercross win in four years this weekend - and to give Suzuki its first ever San Diego Supercross victory.
Meanwhile, Reed comes to San Diego hoping to win his third straight at Qualcomm. Even more important than another victory in San Diego, a win for the defending champ could give the Aussie hope of catching Carmichael. In 2003 Reed went on a six-race winning streak in the second half of the season and pushed the race for the title to the final round. He hasn't yet given up hope of a similar rally this year.
“I've got to stay strong and improve my game,” Reed said. “I rode a good race in Indianapolis, but Ricky's riding better right now. I'm just going to work harder and if I do good things will happen. My team is working hard and now I need to uphold my part of the bargain.”