Reed on the verge of clinching Thq Ama Supercross series title in Salt Lake City
Yamaha’s Chad Reed is poised to clinch his first THQ AMA Supercross Series championship this Saturday, April 24, as the series moves to Salt Lake City’s picturesque setting of Rice-Eccles Stadium for round 15 of the 16-race series. Reed, a 22-year-old Australian, needs only to score 11th-place or better in Utah to wrap up the 2004 championship. The only other rider in contention for the AMA Supercross title is Factory Connection Honda’s Kevin Windham, who is 40 points behind Reed coming into this weekend’s race.
Reed is coming off his tenth victory in the series last weekend in Irving, Texas. Already Reed is assured a place in AMA record books by becoming only the third rider in the history of AMA Supercross to earn a ten-win season, joining Ricky Carmichael and Jeremy McGrath.
If Reed clinches the series he would become the first Australian to win the prestigious title and the first foreign rider to do so since France’s Jean-Michel Bayle won the AMA Supercross Series in 1991.
This year marks the fourth year that the AMA Supercross Series has visited Rice-Eccles Stadium. The 46,000-seat stadium is the home of the University of Utah football team, as well as the site of the 2002 Winter Olympic Opening and Closing Ceremonies. It is located on the scenic University of Utah campus in the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains. Fans seated in Rice-Eccles, at an elevation of 4,657 feet, have a dramatic panoramic view of downtown Salt Lake City and the Great Salt Lake.
Reed is the defending winner of the Salt Lake City Supercross. He took the victory there last year after he and 2003 champ Ricky Carmichael came together hard with the result of Carmichael hitting the ground. Reed pushed Carmichael in the title chase all the way to the final event of the 2003 season by winning the final six rounds. This year Carmichael sat out the AMA Supercross campaign after getting knee surgery this winter.
In Carmichael’s absence Kevin Windham has stepped up as Honda’s top rider. Windham has won three rounds this year and has missed the podium only three times. While he concedes the battle for the championship is realistically over, Windham would still like to finish out the season on a winning note. Salt Lake may present an opportunity for Windham since Reed said that winning the championship would be his main focus as he approached the final two rounds. This will be Windham’s first appearance in Salt Lake since 2001. He finished seventh that year.
Saturday’s event will also feature the final round of the 2004 AMA 125 West Supercross Series. New Mexico native Ivan Tedesco wrapped up the AMA West title last weekend with a victory in Dallas. Instead of taking it easy in Salt Lake, Tedesco said that having the championship already clinched would allow him to ride even harder this weekend.
Photo (C) TFS – Info AMA