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New Orleans – In detail

Published February 2nd, 2002

Story & photos by Tyler Young







Founded in 1718, New Orleans became the capital of a French colony in 1722. It was then passed on to the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. The city is known for its annual Mardi Gras party. But what does that have to do with supercross? Not much really, but it’s good if you are studying geography or American history.







If you would like to read the results and point standings from New Orleans, please visit this link





You’re deep down where one grim moment is replaced by another and you can’t tell the difference between the two or even when the one turned into the next. But each one takes all of your concentration and patience to endure, each one is a mile inside your head, a disappearing stretch of nothing, of no thought, you won’t allow it. The grim time stretches effortlessly out ahead of you with every ache you’re aware of but desperately refuse to acknowledge. You’re alone inside your one vast opinion, that surviving is all you are. It’s what you’ve become.



You only know one thing, and that’s what drives you. You don’t want to fail. Everything you’ve ever done or thought about has built into this, and now you have to show just how bad you want it. Are you willing to spit in the face of certain failure, do you believe in yourself beyond every assurance that no man could ever reach the place you want to stand upon, triumphant?



So you drive. You drive so hard; your mind goes numb to the pain but not the effort of driving off the pain. You lift yourself into that vacant, anonymous place where no real thought or emotion exists, just the fixation of focus and knowledge of the suffering without the importance of it. You endure your own desire to succeed. You go forward holding all of your failures in one fist and you dip them into the fire of your will to redeem them. One by one, they become your virtues.



You do it fulfill the promise of your youth. A dream of yourself. To have no place within you’re afraid to go, no hurt so strong you can’t withstand it. You do it even though it takes you away from everyone. You do it to believe in yourself, and become invincible.



David Vuillemin is in that place now, in New Orleans. He’s in that place over every jump and through every vicious hit of the track, he’s fixed on his dream of being AMA/EA Sports Supercross Series Champion for 2002, and he’s suffering for it, without any use for the suffering. His speed takes all of his attention, and he gives it tirelessly, perfectly.



David’s challenge isn’t to win tonight. It’s to finish. To save his championship. He’s riding hurt and it’s late in the season. He knows the championship will be won with something more than speed or skill. It will be won with sheer desire. David has to finish as close to Ricky as possible.



So that’s what he does. He rides with precision. He strikes early in the race while he’s still strong. He goes from a mid-pack start to second in the opening laps, and he’s not far from the leader, Ricky Carmichael. Stephane Roncada has just slipped his Chevy Trucks Kawasaki past teammate Ezra Lusk and Universal Studios/Honda rider Ernesto Fonseca in one decisive move.



Nathan Ramsey has already gone down, while bidding for the lead. Early race leader, Tim Ferry has gone down too, losing his front-end suddenly around the slippery inside of a corner, with Ricky so close behind him, he only misses him by the slimmest of margins.



When Ezra goes down only moments after Tim, the focus of the race falls on David. Riding with a shoulder injury painful enough to force him into conceding his points-lead the week before in Daytona, David is only bike-lengths behind Ricky. The two of them are a straightaway ahead of Stephane, and Stephane is a straightaway ahead of Rider Number Two, Jeremy McGrath.



Will David catch Ricky? No. He won’t be able to hold off Stephane, either. But he won’t give up third to Jeremy. Tonight, David will finish on the podium for the ninth time in nine tries, and only give up five points to his rival in the championship points chase.



Stephane will put in his best ride of the season, staying on Ricky’s pace until the very closing stages of the race.



It will be Ricky’s sixth win of the year, and his fifth in a row. After his disastrous night at round one in Anaheim, it has taken him seven races to gain five points on David. Going into Daytona, he was twenty points behind. Now, two races later, Ricky is ten points ahead.



The 250 championship is Ricky’s to lose, as the 125 East championship is Chad Reed’s.



Yamaha of Troy’s Four Star Attraction has just added another star to his name. Right above it, across his shoulder blades. Each one gold, with a number one inside of it.



But tonight’s win marks something special. Chad is nearly beaten at the hands of Red Bull KTM’s Grant Langston in heads-up racing.



Nearly. Grant has the speed to win. He has the momentum too, working his way from fourth to take the lead mid-race, jumping past Chad over a triple, staring over his shoulder at him, the whole way.



But Grant doesn’t have the stamina. Chad settles in behind him, and begins to stalk. On one side of the track, Grant pulls out ahead, and on the other, Chad closes in. The two of them pull away from everyone. The laps go by, and their battle begins to change. Each lap brings Chad closer to Grant.



Grant’s lines have changed from the fastest lines to the most protective lines. The advantage falls to Chad. He knows Grant is pushing through a grim place inside, his arm strength fading.



When Chad dives inside of Grant with two laps to go, both setting up for the same inside line around a slippery right-hand corner, it surprises Grant so much he straightens out of his lean and shoots to the outside of the corner. Grant will finish the race off Chad’s pace, but well ahead of Moto-XXX’s Larry Ward in third.



So, for the fifth week in a row, Ricky and Chad continue their domination. But both David and Grant have made it clear, those win streaks are in jeopardy. There are some great battles left in the season, and the price to be paid for each victory will increase each week as each challenger’s strength returns. function OpenWindow(url, width, height) { window.open(url, ‘img’, ‘resizable, width=’+width+’,height=’+height+”); }




New Orleans - In detail - Photo 1 of 24

125 Podium

New Orleans - In detail - Photo 2 of 24

250 Podium

New Orleans - In detail - Photo 3 of 24

Buddy Antunez

New Orleans - In detail - Photo 4 of 24

Chad Reed

New Orleans - In detail - Photo 5 of 24

Chad Reed

New Orleans - In detail - Photo 6 of 24

David Vuillemin

New Orleans - In detail - Photo 7 of 24
New Orleans - In detail - Photo 8 of 24

Ezra Lusk

New Orleans - In detail - Photo 9 of 24

Tim Ferry

New Orleans - In detail - Photo 10 of 24

Grant Langston

New Orleans - In detail - Photo 11 of 24

Grant Langston

New Orleans - In detail - Photo 12 of 24

Jeremy McGrath

New Orleans - In detail - Photo 13 of 24

More Jeremy McGrath

New Orleans - In detail - Photo 14 of 24

McGrath, Ferry, ready

New Orleans - In detail - Photo 15 of 24

Mike Brown

New Orleans - In detail - Photo 16 of 24

Nate Ramsey

New Orleans - In detail - Photo 17 of 24

Nathan Ramsey

New Orleans - In detail - Photo 18 of 24

Ricky Carmichael

New Orleans - In detail - Photo 19 of 24

Ricky Carmichael

New Orleans - In detail - Photo 20 of 24

Ricky Carmichael

New Orleans - In detail - Photo 21 of 24

Stephane Roncada

New Orleans - In detail - Photo 22 of 24

Stephane Roncada

New Orleans - In detail - Photo 23 of 24

Steve Boniface is from France

New Orleans - In detail - Photo 24 of 24

Vuillemin and crew



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