Ricky Carmichael (born November 27, 1979 in Clearwater, Florida) is a professional motocross racer. He is considered by many to be the greatest motocross racer of all time.
Carmichael began riding at age 3 and raced the amateur motocross circuit during his childhood. After a record setting career in the amateur ranks he made his pro debut at the last race of the 1996 season. He finished 8th overall in the 125 class which was enough to earn him rookie of the year honours.
From 1997 to 1999 Ricky won the 125 National Motocross Championship. He also captured the 125 East Supercross title in 1998, winning every single race.
His rookie season in 250 supercross in 1999 was less than stellar and resulted in several crashes and an injury early in the season. Ricky picked up his first 250 supercross victory in 2000 at Daytona International Speedway. He was much more successful during the outdoor nationals and won 9 of 12 races, capturing the 250 National Championship in his first attempt.
The 2001 supercross series saw Ricky dethrone Jeremy McGrath as supercross champion. McGrath won 2 of the first 3 races over Carmichael but after McGrath's last win Ricky went on to win 13 races in a row. He won 14 out of 16 races and the championship. Ricky also won the 250 National Championsip that summer winning 7 of 12 races.
For the 2002 season Carmichael switched teams from Kawasaki to Honda. This was an unpopular move with many fans who thought the switch was motivated by money. Ricky claimed the switch was because of Honda's technology. After a rough start to the 2002 supercross season, which saw him fracture his hand, Ricky returned to his winning ways and won 11 races and the championship over David Vuillemin. Ricky won every single moto of the 2002 250 National Championship and recorded the first ever perfect season.
Carmichael won his third 250 supercross championship in 2003, although by a much smaller margin than his past two. He won 7 races and the title by a mere 7 points over Chad Reed. Reed had 8 wins. Ricky again dominated the outdoor nationals that summer and won 9 of 11 races and the championship.
Ricky elected to sit out the 2004 supercross series in order to have knee surgery on an injury from the previous year. Chad Reed won the championship. Ricky's return to action for the outdoor nationals that summer was spectacular as he again won every single moto and clinched another perfect season aboard a Honda CRF450R, in his first effort with the four-stroke machine. Carmichael and Honda were not able to come to terms on a contract extension and he signed with Suzuki for 2005.
Carmichael entered the 2005 season having not raced any supercrosses in nearly two years. In what was projected as "the perfect storm" supercross season with the 250 Supercross rookie James "Bubba" Stewart making his debut, along with perennial contenders Chad Reed and Kevin Windham, Carmichael triumphantly regained his supercross title, with 7 victories to Reed's five, Stewart's three, and Windham's one. Later that summer, Carmichael nearly scored a perfect 250 National outdoor season again, winning every overall event and 22 of 24 motos. Carmichael also scored the US Open of Supercross title and led Team USA to a convincing victory at the Motocross Des Nations.
Carmichael campaigned the 2006 250 Supercross season aboard an RMZ450, his first attempt at indoor competition on a four-stroke. It was the most exciting series battle in recent memory. There were multiple points lead changes and race winners, and Carmichael, Reed, and Stewart all entered the Las Vegas finale within 5 points of each other. Carmichael rode to a safe second place finish behind Stewart and ended the series with 6 victories and his fifth AMA Supercross title. He has indicated that this may have been his last full-time supercross effort.
Ricky holds the all time record for wins and championships in AMA competition. He has well over 100 wins, and has never lost an outdoor championship. He is unquestionably the most dominant racer of his generation, and the only significant records he does not hold are Most 250 Supercross Victories and Most 125 National victories which are held by Jeremy McGrath and James Stewart respectively.