The balance of power in Supercross may well have shifted following the announcement that AMA champion Ricky Carmichael will enter the World Supercross GP series this year.

Traditionally, the AMA championship has been the premier Supercross series in the world - a status achieved by offering the best riders, venues, racing and prize money.

However, this has long been at odds with the theory that world championships should be above the level of national series and last year a deal was reached which would combine the two series within one championship: The World SX GP calendar contained two races in Europe before joining the AMA series at its first round. To be eligible for the world crown, riders had to take part in the European legs.

Few viewed this as anything other than an attempt to wean the AMA stars into a FIM world championship, but with only Yamaha entering a factory team for the European leg it was the AMA championship which all wanted - with the World SX GP crown an afterthought.

Chad Reed went on to dominate the World SX GP standings, but hardly seemed to notice as he was locked in battle with AMA only man Carmichael, a fight the Floridian would win.

However, with the news that Carmichael has been convinced to take the trip over to Europe, World SX GP will finally gain credibility, while the winner of the World and AMA crowns will almost certainly be the same rider (unless AMA only Team Suzuki/Kawasaki pull off a shock).

2004 could therefore signal the beginning of the end for American dominated Supercross, since should more AMA heroes enter the World SX GP it's likely to lead to fewer events in the US and more around the rest of the world.

RC and Reed will first clash at the opening SX GP round at Seville, Spain, on Saturday 6th December before the second (and final) European leg at Arnhem, in the Netherlands, one week later.

23-year-old Carmichael had a dream 2003 season, earning his 10th AMA national championship by winning his fourth 250cc outdoor motocross title. The Honda rider has now also won three consecutive 250cc AMA SX titles in a row.

Ricky's last European race was the Motocross des Nations, where Team USA finished second to Belgium, but Carmichael stole the show by beating Stefan Everts for individual honours. It is that race which has RC excited about returning to Europe.

"After my experience at the (Motocross) des Nations this year I'm looking forward to racing in front of the European fans again," said Carmichael. "I look forward to racing Chad Reed for the world championship."

Meanwhile, 21-year-old Reed is the main candidate to dethrone Ricky, having built a reputation as the best non-American Supercross rider of recent times.

"The THQ World Supercross GP is gaining more momentum, and I am very excited to be a part of it once again this year," said the defending champ. "I'm really excited about racing there this year because (Ricky) Carmichael is going to be there. If I am going to race, I want to race the best. These races are important to the rest of our season because they give us a building block."

James 'Bubba' Stewart looks set to make his 250cc debut at the first AMA SX round, at Anaheim, California.



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