Chad Reed: RC’s Glowing Tribute
Well, Chad Reed finally did. As we telegraphed late last week, the 35-year-old Australian made the AMA SX Series Main event (albeit via the LCQ) over the weekend at Tampa, Florida, and in doing so broke Mike LaRocco’s longstanding record of 227 premier-class AMA SX starts. The praise and admiration for Reed’s achievement and contribution to the sport was universal, but the most glowing tribute for Reed came from a former rival (and now good mate), Ricky Carmichael (who’s broken a record or 10 in his time!). Here’s what Carmichael had to say about his old sparring partner during Fox Sports’ coverage:
“Chad Reed first came to race in the US at the end of the last century. He finished 17th in the 1999 San Diego 125cc Supercross. When he returned in 2002, he was ready to begin his ascent up the ladder in American racing. Chad won six of seven races and easily won the 125cc East title. He made a few brief appearances in the 250cc class out west that season, earning three top-10s and a top-five in San Diego.
“2002 was the year I earned my second supercross title. Starting the next season, I would have to deal with Chad for the remainder of my career. I was totally caught off guard by Reed and was not anticipating what was to come. He won the Anaheim 1 season opener in 2003 and the last six races of the season. Luckily, I managed to hold him off by only 7 points.
“I raced against a lot of great and talented riders in my career, but no one ever raced me with the package of skill, speed and tenacity that the two-two displayed every time we went to the starting gate. In 20004, I watched from the sidelines as Chad would win the first of his two championships, outpacing Kevin Windham by winning 10 races and never finishing off the podium. I returned on the Suzuki to win two more titles, including my fifth and final championship in 2006, when myself, Chad and James Stewart fought down to the final lap in Las Vegas in an epic points chase.
“Twenty-six times, Reed and I battled for the race win. The guy was always there till the bitter end. I always knew it would be a 20-lap fight to the finish, and I had to race him to the chequered flag. Chad would add his second title in 2008. Whenever he decides to walk away, he will be remembered as an all-time great. I hung it up in 2007, and here we are 11 years later, and he is still out there getting after it. It’s been a decade since I last threw a leg over the number-four Suzuki and raced with Chad Reed, but our battles over the years were hands-down some of the greatest memories of my career. And, by far, he was the toughest competitor I’ve ever faced and tried to beat in a supercross championship.
“Congratulations, Chad Reed … Supercross’s new ironman.”
1st Chad Reed: 228
2nd Mike LaRocco: 227
3rd Kevin Windham: 207
4th Larry Ward: 190
5th Nick Wey: 189