Ricky Carmichael and Ezra Lusk [pictured] will feel right at home this Saturday, Feb. 22, when the AMA/World SX GP Supercross Series visits Atlanta's Georgia Dome.

Lusk hails from nearby Bainbridge, Ga., and Carmichael, who lives just across the state border in Havana, Fla., owns 100 acres in Southern Georgia, where he has his practice tracks.

Carmichael and Lusk are coming off a 1-2 finish last weekend in Minneapolis, with RC, the two-time defending champ, leading the series and Lusk fourth coming into this weekend's eighth round of the 16-race AMA championship, also round 10 of the World SX GP series.

Carmichael got off to a shaky early start in his title defense, but has come on strong to win four out of the last five rounds on his factory Honda to take a 14-point lead over Australian Chad Reed.

The Carmichael/Reed rivalry is shaping up to be one of the best in years. Reed, who has won two races this season, passed and led Carmichael last week in Minneapolis before crashing and finishing sixth.

There is no love loss between the leading duo. Reed has made a number of statements that some insiders say are designed to "get into Carmichael's head."

For his part, Carmichael has implied that Reed may be riding a little over his head to keep pace, remarking last week on Reed's pass on him: "He (Reed) was just too much on the edge. I figured if he could hold that pace he deserved to win. Chad is a good rider but that is not my main concern. My main concern is the track. The races that I didn't win are the races that I fell on. That is the thing that beat me."

Carmichael, the winningest active rider in the series, has won the last two years in the Georgia Dome. Reed won the 125 East Region Series race there last year.

Lusk meanwhile, has some momentum coming into his home race. The 12-year veteran, who rides for Team Chevy Trucks Kawasaki, won his first AMA Supercross race in nearly four years last month in Phoenix and as always, he is excited about coming home to race in Georgia.

"I always have a lot of support from friends there," said Lusk, whose best finish in the Atlanta Supercross was third in 2001. "I still feel I'm in the hunt for the championship. I need to get on a roll and it would great to get a win in front of the hometown fans."

Mike LaRocco, who won the Atlanta Supercross in 1995, will attempt to race Saturday, but is still battling a sore shoulder that forced him to sit out the last two rounds.

Meanwhile, eyes will also be on the SoBe Suzuki squad, who now have all three regular riders, Travis Pastrana, Sebastien Tortelli and Stephane Roncada, out injured - will they field any riders this weekend in the premier class...?

Regardless, Suzuki arre sure to be well represented in the AMA 125 East Region Supercross Series, with Branden Jesseman leading the points after winning the opening round last weekend in Minnesota.

Jesseman himself raced last week for the first time since September after coming back from knee surgery, so he was thrilled to do so well in his return.

"It was a huge relief to get the first race over with," said Jesseman. "I was so excited to go racing again. I just had a basic ACL reconstruction and meniscus repair, and a lot of therapy. It's not very fun but it's all worth it."

Yamaha of Troy's Brock Sellards and Factory Connection Honda's Michael Byrne are second and third, respectively, in the early 125 East point standings, with pre-season favourite Byrne determined to get his title charge back on track after a first turn tangle last week.