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Ricky Carmichael Favored to Three-Peat at Daytona Supercross

Honda’s Ricky Carmichael is on a roll. Winner last week in Atlanta, Carmichael is now the only rider with four victories this year in AMA 250 Supercross competition. He is twenty points behind Yamaha’s David Vuillemin, who suffered a photo shoot crash yesterday morning (we will check on Vuillemin’s condition with Yamaha officials when the work week begins tomorrow).

The next round of the AMA Supercross series is in Daytona Beach Florida next weekend, and it is the single, most prestigious supercross race (arguably, supercross or motocross race) in the United States each year. Lately, Ricky Carmichael owns the Daytona Supercross, and one would have to expect Carmichael to win his third straight at Daytona this year.

Indeed, Carmichael’s toughest competition might have been expected to be fellow Honda rider Mike LaRocco, who also thrives on the most brutal tracks, where his legendary conditioning and late-race speed are a big advantage. Unfortunately, LaRocco was injured a couple of weeks ago (dislocating his wrist — requiring surgery and a several week recovery period). In LaRocco’s absence, Suzuki’s Travis Pastrana may be Carmichael’s biggest challenger at Daytona. Pastrana has ridden very well at Daytona (on a 125), and, like Carmichael, combines excellent outdoor skills with his supercross skills (Daytona is a hybrid track — combining both indoor and outdoor elements).

Vuillemin has ridden well all year, of course, and is the 250 class points’ leader. If he is not feeling 100% for Daytona, it will be tough for him, however. If he cannot win at Daytona, Vuillemin desperately needs to finish near Carmichael to maintain a significant points lead. A points lead he will have a better chance of defending in the tighter, more technical indoor tracks that follow Daytona.

Another rider to watch is Yamaha’s Jeremy McGrath. McGrath is also a multi-time Daytona winner, and he has been riding better every week this season. If he has finally conquered his arm-pump problems, McGrath will be very competitive at Daytona this year.