MX Sports Pro Racing and Alli, the Alliance of Action Sports, is proud to announce the return of the Ricky Carmichael Hard Charger Award for the 2011 season. Named for the single-most successful athlete in American Motocross history, the RC Hard Charger Award recognizes the one competitor at each of the 12 rounds of the championship tour who overtakes the highest number of his fellow racers in one of the four championship motos between the 250 and 450 Classes.
The award is a testament to the sport's greatest champion of all time; a reminder of Carmichael's never-give-up attitude during a career that included 10 consecutive AMA Motocross titles and an astonishing 102 race wins-each records that will likely never be broken. The Florida native's exceptional on-track success and reign of dominance during his illustrious career led to the moniker "The Greatest of All Time" and he is now affectionately known today simply as "The GOAT."
Carmichael, who also won five AMA Supercross Championships and 48 main events in that discipline, went out a winner in 2007, winning every outdoor race he entered in an abbreviated motocross schedule. This farewell tour allowed him to transition into his new career in auto racing, while keeping one boot firmly in his beloved sport of motocross.
Since 2008, Carmichael's legacy has continued to be enshrined in motocross history by giving this coveted award to the athlete who shows the most heart, speed and endurance at any given round of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship.
Somewhat ironically, if there is a single race in his victory-packed career that best exemplifies this award, it was the Washougal 125cc National, held on August 1, 1999. It was at that race in which Carmichael, then riding for the Splitfire/Pro Circuit Kawasaki team, crashed on the start of both motos in the first turn. He got up last, and then proceeded to pass a total of 76 riders – an unofficial record for a single race in the 40-year history of the series – over the course of both motos. The irony is that he while he made it all the way up to second in each moto, he failed to secure the overall win.
"All the races I won and that's the one you guys have to bring up!" laughed Carmichael, at the reminder of that frantic afternoon from a dozen years ago. "I guess that it was a pretty good day for me, given the way it started, and I am probably as proud of the effort that I put in there as I am of any of my races. If any of the riders in this summer's series can grow inspiration from that, I would feel honored."
"The Ricky Carmichael Hard Charger Award has become something our athletes and fans really appreciate," said MX Sports Vice President Davey Coombs. "Ricky was tough to beat on any track on the tour, no matter what the conditions or whom he lined up against. To be as successful as he was – as often as he was – is to have the heart and work ethic of a true hero, and no one had more heart or worked harder than Ricky Carmichael."
The Rockstar Energy Hangtown National on May 21 from Rancho Cordova, Calif., marks the beginning of the 40th season of the most prestigious series on the planet. It's where American Motocross starts, and it is where the world's best riders will be in less than two weeks.