Let’s see, six National championships and 13 straight Supercross victories against Jeremy McGrath (in his prime?). Ricky Carmichael had everyone psyched. The guy was god on a motocross bike.
At the opening round of the 2002 AMA Supercross series (at Anaheim, California), after winning his heat race easily, Carmichael crashed hard and appeared to have suffered a serious concussion in the main event. Carmichael was hurt and he was hurt bad. Yamaha’s David Vuillemin won the opening round and proceeded to dominate the series for several rounds while Carmichael recovered.
Carmichael could not recover. Vuillemin, LaRocco and Pastrana were gone — they were healthy and fast, and Carmichael was still fuzzy for several rounds. This was it. Carmichael’s control of the 250 class (as solid as his control of the 125 class had been) was coming to an end.
Carmichael did not give up. He believed in himself. He knew his destiny. He kept fighting and, eventually, he would win.
Just past half-way in the AMA Supercross series, Ricky Carmichael has taken the points lead from David Vuillemin. Look at the record. Once in the lead, Carmichael never looks back.
If Ricky Carmichael wins this AMA Supercross championship, his psychological advantage over his competitors in the 250 class will be hard to measure.