Carmichael's Perfect MX Season



Carmichael's Perfect MX Season/Stewart Sets Records

Mission Accomplished
Team Fox riders Ricky Carmichael and James Stewart put an exclamation mark on the most dominant season in American motocross history.

On Sunday, September 1, 2002, Team Honda/Fox Racing rider Ricky Carmichael became the first rider in the 31 year-history of the AMA National Motocross Championship Series to complete a perfect season. Winning both 250cc motos of the SoBe Steel City Nationals by huge margins, Carmichael and his Honda rode into the record books with an unblemished season point total of 600 (24 motos at 25 points each). Initially winning in the heat and dust of Glen Helen Raceway in Southern California back in May, Carmichael forged ahead to win in the rain and mud of Sacramento, California; in the deep brown sand of Southwick, Massachusetts; on the sweeping, high-speed hills of Unadilla, New York, and in dramatically different track and weather conditions all summer long to record his unparalleled 24 for 24 season.

Along the way, Carmichael, through earning 12 250cc National victories this season, also managed to break the all-time single season win mark of nine (a mark he set in 1999 and 2000). Finally, on Sunday, Carmichael also broke the all-time career 250cc National win mark of Bob "Hurricane" Hannah. Set on Sunday, August 11, 1985 at Millville, Minnesota, Hannah's record of 27 250cc National victories stood for 17 years before RC snapped it this past Sunday with his 28th 250cc National victory. In his amazing six year AMA National Championship Motocross career, Carmichael has not lost a single championship he has competed, and in a total of 74 National Championship races that he has competed in, Carmichael has won 54 of them for a National career winning percentage of 72%.

"I was born and raised to race motocross," offered Carmichael. "Outdoor motocross is all about pain and suffering and whoever wants it the worst, wins. It doesn't take as much natural talent. I ride a lot and have a solid training program and good people around me and it all pays off come race day. I just race to win."

And of now being considered the greatest motocross racer of all-time?

"It definitely makes me feel good," conceded the 23 year-old ace. "But I firmly believe that unless you have the most wins - combining together both supercross and motocross - you can't say that you are the best of all-time. In my opinion, when you have the most wins, then you can claim that you are the best. Until that point, I only consider myself to be one of the best. It's easy to accept what people say, but if you look at all his supercross wins, Jeremy McGrath still has me beat. Until I surpass him, I'm not going to claim that I am the best rider that ever lived."

For the record, Jeremy McGrath has ridden to 89 career wins (72 250cc Supercross wins, 15 250cc National wins, and 2 125cc National) in 12 year career. Ricky Carmichael, as of the conclusion of the 2002 race season, now has 80 career victories (26 250cc Supercross wins, 28 250cc Nationals wins and 26 125cc National wins) in his six year career. Moreover, Carmichael and McGrath are now tied for most AMA Championships at eight (McGrath has seven Supercross titles and one 250cc National title, while Carmichael has two 250cc Supercross titles, three 250cc National titles, and three 125cc National titles).

Meanwhile, in the 125cc National Championship division, 16, nine month old Fox Racing rider James Stewart rode his factory Kawasaki to his 10th 125cc National win of the summer. By winning both 30-minute, plus two-lap motos before the 18,859 fans on hand at Steel City Raceway on Sunday, the youngest AMA National Champion in history broke the single season 125cc victory mark of nine shared by Ricky Carmichael (1999) and Steve Lamson (1996). "I'm not looking at the records," said the sensational rookie following the first moto at Steel City. "I'm just looking to go out and win." And win he did, completing the most spectacular 125cc season in American motocross history.
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