As far as we can tell, Suzuki’s Ricky Carmichael has never lost a national championship (or a World Supercross GP championship) once he has taken the points lead. With 13 national championships already, Carmichael will likely gain his 14th at the conclusion of the AMA Supercross series in Las Vegas, Nevada on May 6th, 2006. The World Supercross GP championship, however, is another story.
Kawasaki’s James Stewart is red-hot. He has won 3 supercross main events in a row, and is now tied with Carmichael for the points lead in the World Supercross GP championship with three races remaining (including the Texas round this Saturday evening). Carmichael has a difficult choice to make. If he takes second place to Stewart in each of the remaining three rounds, he will still win the AMA Supercross title, but he will lose the World Supercross GP title to Stewart. On the other hand, if Carmichael tries to run the incredible pace Stewart has shown lately in order to protect the World Supercross GP championship, he significantly increases the odds that he will crash and jeopardize his chances to win both titles.
At this point, the AMA Supercross title is clearly the more prestigious title for both riders and their manufacturer/employers. We suspect Carmichael will do his best to win each of the remaining three races, but that he will not ‘hang it out’ and risk crashing if that is what becomes necessary to run with Stewart at the front. In any event, if Stewart wins either, or both, of the titles on the table, it will be the first time Carmichael will have lost a points lead in a national or world championship series.