For Team Makita Suzuki Racing's Ricky Carmichael, his final Amp'd Mobile AMA Supercross race was in his home state of Florida at Orlando's Citrus Bowl and it couldn't have been more exciting.
The rider they call the "Greatest Of All Time" battled for the lead for all 20 laps of the Main Event before finishing a very close second position. Makita Suzuki team mate Ivan Tedesco followed Carmichael home in an impressive fourth position.
"It was definitely the race of a lifetime," said Carmichael, a bit teary-eyed in front of more than 40,000 screaming fans. "It was a good race, that's what we live for. It's been an amazing ride. The Orlando fans are awesome and while being a great racer is one thing, what I want is to be a good person at the end of the day and a good ambassador to our sport. Great things have happened to me from riding motorcycles. I'm going to miss the fans, and my sponsors. Every opportunity that I have had and the lifestyle that I have wouldn't have been possible without this sport and my sponsors."
Carmichael's final Supercross heat race was the first one of the night. In true Carmichael fashion, the defending AMA Amp'd Mobile AMA Supercross Champion won his eight-lap qualifier. "It was great to get a good win here in front of a hometown Florida crowd," said Carmichael. "It's going to be an electric Main Event for sure. I'm really looking forward to a fun race and I just hope the fans get their money's worth."
Tedesco was in the second heat race and unfortunately got tangled in a turn-one melee. He remounted, however, and picked off his competition one by one to finish in eighth position. "The night didn't start off that great," admitted Tedesco. "I got taken out in the first corner in my heat race but I made it up and qualified for the Main."
The Main event itself was as exciting a race as most Supercross fans had seen all year: Carmichael got a great start and he took over the lead on the second lap. Although he was passed and in second place mid-way through the event, the 15-time AMA Champion continued to fight for the lead until the race's end.
"I tell you, it was so much fun tonight, you have no idea," said Carmichael from the podium. "James Stewart and I got in our little mode and started reeling out laps. It was good, clean racing and James got the job done and I was right there behind him. It was a great way to go out tonight. It's been really fun racing James these last couple of races, we've really elevated our game."
Tedesco, meanwhile, picked up his third fourth-place finish of the season at Orlando. Unlike Carmichael, he was caught up in the pack after the first turn and had to work his way through. Riding his Makita Suzuki RM-Z450 consistently and smoothly, the former Supercross and Motocross Lites Champion came home one place shy of the podium.
"I had a bad gate pick because of my heat race and I was lined up on the outside," recalled Tedesco. "But I got a killer jump, a really good start and I was trying for the holeshot and I almost had it but I got blown into a corner. So I 'rodeo-ed' over the Tuff Blocks and didn't go down and was somewhere in the middle of the pack. I just started picking guys off and I settled into fifth for a while, before finally getting into fourth, and that was it. The Makita Suzuki RM-Z450 was really good tonight, especially after we made some changes to the suspension between the first and second practice sessions. The difference was like night and day and that carried over into the Main Event."
In the Supercross Lites class, Ryan Dungey won his heat race with an impressive ride on his Makita Suzuki RM-Z250. In the 15-lap main event, the 17-year-old rider got another good start but was almost instantly surrounded by carnage and taken out by a bike coming from the adjacent lane. A red flag was thrown and Dungey's mechanic rode the bike to the pits to fix it but AMA rules maintained that - in spite of the red flag -- because the race was already underway the bike could not be returned to the pits and Dungey was not allowed to participate in the Main.
Team Makita Suzuki Racing will return next week for round 12 of the Amp'd Mobile AMA Supercross Series at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis.
- 1. James Stewart (Kawasaki)
- 2. Ricky Carmichael (Makita Suzuki)
- 3. Chad Reed (Yamaha)
- 4. Ivan Tedesco (Makita Suzuki)
- 5. Tim Ferry (Kawasaki)
- 6. Grant Langstone (Yamaha)
- 7. David Vuillemin (Honda)
- 8. Kevin Windham (Honda)
- 9. Heath Voss (Honda)
- 10. Josh Summey (Honda)