WASHINGTON, Ga. — Ricky Carmichael returned to motocross racing for the first time since 2007 Sunday at Aonia Pass Motocross.
While many believed Carmichael’s return to competitive racing was part of an April Fool’s Joke, the 15-time AMA champion rode in two classes as part of a local qualifying round for the prestigious Red Bull AMA Amateur National Motorcross Championship held July 29-Aug. 4 at Loretta Lynn Ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tenn.
Riding Suzukis in two classes, Carmichael took the first step toward qualifying for the national championship by advancing to the regional qualifier June 9-10 at Mill Creek Motocross in Alabama.
“I had issues in pro sport, and I’ll go to the regional as an alternate, which shouldn’t be a problem and the plus 25 class I won that race pretty easily,” Carmichael told National Speed Sport News Monday afternoon. “The pro sport shouldn’t have been a problem, but I actually tipped over in the corner and I had an issue with the throttle housing.
“It actually slipped off of my handlebars and I’ve never had that happen in the whole 25 years of racing. It is kind of funny that that happened, and it’s no big deal. There is zero pressure and I am doing it because I love the sport and love to race. It is something I can go and have fun with and not have to worry about results.”
Carmichael, 32, maintains that fun is the most important part of this venture.
“I have a lot of stuff going on. It will be a great story and it will be a lot of fun. The plan as of right now is to keep going with the regional qualifier in Alabama in a couple of months,” Carmichael said. “I am doing this because it is fun, and I like giving back to the sport. The sport provided many opportunities and a great lifestyle for me, and it is definitely fun.”
April Fool’s Day or not, Carmichael was simply enjoying the ride.
“It is so exciting for me to be able to go there and to race and have fun with no pressure,” he said. “I grew up racing the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals for many years up until 1996, I think. Now that I am able to go there mentally in a different place, it will be nice to go there with no pressure and just enjoy it.
“It had been a long time and it was really cool to be back behind the gate.”
For more on Carmichael’s return to motocross racing, pick up a copy of the April issue of Speed Sport Magazine.BREAKING NEWS: SPEED SPORT is back in print with a new monthly format! Subscribe for just $24.95. Special offer for former subscribers.