Interview: Ricky Carmichael
By Eddie Graveline
© 2001 Motopress
I had a chance to sit down with reigning 250 National MX Champion and winning MX des Nations team member Ricky Carmichael before the opening round of the Supercross series. Since then, RC has been on the box at all of the first 3 rounds of the series, including one win at the 2nd round. Here are some of his thoughts going into the season.
Q: I havenít talked to you since the beginning of the outdoor season last year. You had quite a season, winning the 250cc National title in your first attempt. How was that whole experience?
A: It was good, you know. It was a little tough. Things worked out. I ended up winning a lot of races and I had some good luck. Iím happy and Iím looking forward to trying to keep the ball rolling here.
Q: Letís talk about the off-season for a minute. You didnít go over and do the usual assortment of European races this winter. Was that an attempt to avoid injury or were you just running a different program?
A: No, just a little different program and trying to get prepared for the season. Iím not really about going to Europe and stuff unless Iím 100%. I had some work to do with myself and the bike. Thatís what we spent that time doing.
Q: You were part of the American team that finally won back the MX des Nations title last year. I know that was an incredible victory for you. How does that victory compare to winning a Supercross or National Championship?
A: As far as championships go, I think itís not quite as big as that. Itís definitely the biggest race win, for sure. It definitely means a lot.
Q: Youíve ridden the des Nations a few times now. Now that youíve won it, is it something that you plan to continue chasing, or will you take that time off in future years?
A: I wouldnít mind chasing it. Itís fun.
Q: Last year, as the outdoor season wore on, your determination and aggressiveness seemed to increase with every round. I remember one block pass on Sebastien Tortelli in particular. You were basically willing to do anything to win. Will we see that determination and killer instinct from you in Supercross races if youíre challenging for the win?
A: (Laughs) Iím not going to go out of my way to do anything like that unless itís a last lap situation like that was. Hopefully I wonít have to do any of that. Like I said, Iím not going to go out of my way to be dirty, but if I have to do something like that, I will. Iím just looking forward to trying to be up front this year and being a serious contender.
Q: When Ryan Hughes was working on the broadcast of some of the outdoor races, he stated that you just wanted to win more than anyone else out there. Is that your mindset going into the Supercross season?
A: Definitely. I race to win. I donít race to be second.
Q: The Chevy Trucks/Kawasaki team is down to two riders this year. Does the smaller size change things for you in any way?
A: Itís pretty much the same. It doesnít matter to me. Three guys or two guys, Iím going to worry about myself and no one else.
Q: How have things been going so far with your new teammate, Stephane Roncada?
A: Heís a good person. I havenít spent that much time with him because I donít live out here and he just came aboard the team. Iím looking forward to having fun and he should have a good time.
Q: In the year 2001, which title is more of a priority for you? Supercross or 250 National?
A: Winning both would be an excellent year, but my number one goal is winning the Supercross title.
Q: This year some of the older guys have moved on to retirement and some younger guys (i.e. Pastrana, Roncada) are moving into the 250 class. Are there any guys outside of the regular contenders that you think might surprise everyone by winning a race or two?
A: Ezra (Lusk) is going to do good. I think a lot of people are counting him out. Heís got what it takes to win. Heís the only guy whoís shown he can beat McGrath.
Q: I know that you and Ezra have ridden and trained together a lot in the past. Were you able to do that this year?
A: Not really because he moved up to Atlanta. He doesnít live by me anymore. I havenít gotten to ride with him that much like I used to be able to.
Q: Well, I wish you the best of luck. Iíll catch up with you after the first few rounds.
A: All right, thank you.