2003 Phoenix 250cc Heat #1 (Ricky Carmichael Vs. Travis Pastrana #2)

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This is the 1st 250cc qualifying heat race from the 2003 Phoenix Supercross.

In 2003, Honda's Ricky Carmichael came into the 2nd round of the Supercross season at Phoenix with a 2nd place finish at the Anaheim 1 opener. After a qualifying heat incident with Team Suzuki's Travis Pastrana, which resulted in the whole crowd booing him, Carmichael crashed twice in the main after an 8th place start and finished in 2nd after coming from last twice. Yamaha 250cc rookie Chad Reed took an easy first round win, but Carmichael and Pastrana would meet each other again in this heat race.

In this heat race, Travis and Ricky nearly tied for the holeshot. Pastrana held the lead and swapped positions with Carmichael, giving the crowd an immediate excitement to begin the 250cc racing. Pastrana and Carmichael swapped positions left and right before Carmichael crashed in turn #2 and Travis (again) had nowhere to go. Travis went down, too, which handed the lead to Ricky's Honda teammate, Ernesto Fonseca.

Ernesto held the lead for 4 turns before stalling his CR250 in the turn after the whoops. KTM's Grant Langston, and Yamaha's Tim Ferry got by, which turned into a new battle for 1st place. Fonseca restarted his bike and lost 3rd to Carmichael. Tim Ferry chased Grant Langston for a few turns before he crashed in the rhythm section and was forced to go to the semi. Carmichael moved back up to 2nd and challenged Langston for the heat win, but he couldn't make the pass. Langston won the heat (his first on the 250), and Carmichael finished a very close 2nd; Fonseca recovered from the stall to finish in 3rd, and Travis Pastrana recovered from his crash to finish in 4th.

After the heat race, Ricky was visibly upset. The main didn't go much better. Carmichael ran 3rd for a majority of the race behind Chad Reed, and Team Kawasaki's Ezra Lusk before he crashed in the first turn around lap 10. Carmichael recovered for a 4th place finish, but Ezra Lusk broke through and won his first Supercross race since Indianapolis 1999. Chad Reed took a smart 2nd place. As for Travis Pastrana, he took a disappointing 12th after he was lapped before the white flag. As for Grant Langston, an early crash shuffled him to 20th place, but his 250cc season was full of crashes and injuries since a 3rd in the Geneva World Supercross opener; Grant would later drop down to ride the 125cc East again, but yet another injury to his wrist ruined that season, too. Amazingly enough, Langston would battle with Pro Circuit Kawasaki's Mike Brown and his KTM teammate Ryan Hughes for the 2003 125cc National Championship and come out the champion with only 1 moto win.


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