The THQ AMA Supercross Series returns to Orlando's Citrus Bowl on Saturday, March 19, for round 11 of the 16-race series. It marks the first AMA race in the stadium since 1997 and highlight of the event will be the return to competition of local hero James 'Bubba' Stewart from nearby Haines City.
Stewart, the all-time most winning rider in AMA 125 Supercross history, fell during practice for his second 250cc event, at Phoenix in January, and broke his arm. The Kawasaki ace has been preparing for several weeks and racing fans across the country are abuzz about seeing the 19-year-old racing phenom back in action.
The final six rounds of the series promise to be attention grabbing. In addition to Stewart's return, Yamaha's Chad Reed earned a well-deserved victory at Daytona International Speedway last weekend over series leader and four-time Daytona Supercross winner Ricky Carmichael. Reed led from start to finish and Carmichael crashed chasing him.
In spite of the mistake, Carmichael remounted his Makita Suzuki and finished second to preserve a solid 32-point lead in the series standings. Carmichael said his loss at Daytona meant the hard working rider would train even harder to maintain his series lead and to earn his fourth AMA Supercross title.
"It's not easy to win these days with so many competitive riders in the series," said Carmichael, who won the AMA 125 East Supercross race in Orlando eight-years ago as a rookie. "I'll go back and step up my program and concentrate on being the best rider I can be in order to win this championship."
Indiana's Mike LaRocco is the only past winner of the Orlando Supercross slated to start Saturday. The rider known to race fans as 'The Rock' won Orlando in 1992 and 1993 and is still going strong in the series at 34. He's coming off a third-place finish last weekend in Daytona Beach and is in a heated battle with Amsoil Chaparral Honda teammate Kevin Windham for third in the series standings.
Meanwhile, the AMA 125 East Series went completely topsy-turvy last weekend in Daytona when no less than three of the top riders - Grant Langston, Davi Millsaps and Matt Walker - suffered crashes and lost ground in the title chase.
Instead, the big winner at Daytona was Red Bull KTM rider Josh Hansen. Hansen, son of 1982 AMA Supercross champ Donnie, took victory and with it the championship lead. However Langston, of Team Monster/Pro Circuit Kawasaki, is still solidly in contention - sitting just two-points behind.