Pontiac, Michigan
Round 13 of 16
By John Basher

Pontiac characteristically is the place where the 125 East championship comes down to the wire, and where there are surprise winners in either class. It was going to be a perfect night for racing, but Mother Nature had other plans. As winds and freezing rain swept across the northern United States, power outages and broken tree limbs became remnants of the terrible weather. While the weather had only mild-like tornado symptoms, Pontiac was going to become a mess on race day. And, just as expected, an icy blanket of freezing rain caused power outages and accidents around the city. But as it is said, ?The show must go on!?


And the show certainly did go on, as Pontiac played host to great racing and the first crowned supercross champion of the new year. It was Branden Jesseman who used a mixture of wins (Minneapolis, Indianapolis, St. Louis) and consistent riding to capture his first professional title at the tender age of 20. Branden needed to finish eighth or better in order to secure the 125 East, but it wasn?t an easy task for the Fombell, Pennsylvania native. With an unusually poor start, he picked his way through the field only to fall on lap five, sending him back to 16th. Knowing the task at hand, Jesseman did what he has done many times before, cutting once again through the field en route to sixth place and the championship.


So who won the race if the 2003 125 East champ Branden Jesseman did not? How about Ivan Tedesco, who had been searching for his first ever supercross win. It wasn?t easy for Tedesco, however, has Yamaha of Troy teammate Brock Sellards was up front as well early on. After a second place finish in Houston, it was only a matter of time before Ivan nailed a win down, and he did it in convincing fashion. Also at midpoint through the race, Brock Sellards crashed in the whoops, taking out Mike Brown and ending Brown?s bid at the title.


Speaking of a supercross title, Chad Reed is still in the thick of things and has an outside shot at winning the premiere division. What is truly amazing is that Reed was 25 points behind Ricky Carmichael after Daytona, but has fought his way back to only 16 down on RC. And by saying ?only 16 points? is a true testament to how Chad Reed has kept Carmichael honest the tail end of this series. Ricky obviously wants to wrap up the championship before Las Vegas, but Reed has been leaching three points off Ricky every time they set foot in the stadium! In a sense, it has to be demoralizing to Carmichael, as he looked to have the series all but wrapped up after Daytona. And then something set Chad Reed on fire, as he has now strung together three straight wins. No one has beaten Carmichael three straight in a long time, but thanks to Reed the last few races of the series will be very interesting.

The key problem Carmichael has been having these last few rounds is his inability to grab a top five start. At Pontiac, Ricky once again found himself out of reach of the leaders immediately, starting in seventh. Meanwhile, Reed passed Sean Hamblin with ease and took control of the race. It took Carmichael several crucial laps to make his way into second, giving Reed an almost five second cushion. Add to that was a whoops section that Reed had wired and that Carmichael never went through straight once and you have Reed maintaining that 5 second lead all the way to the finish. Before the season ends we need a race where Ricky and Chad start first and second, with neither rider crashing over the entirety of the race.

Team Honda?s Ernesto Fonseca once again took the final podium spot, giving him a great opportunity to finish in the top three before series end. Sean Hamblin supported a new No Fear jersey with images of our troops over in Iraq as a nice gesture of support. Before the season is over Hamblin just might stand on the podium as he finished a career best fourth in Pontiac.

Congratulations to Branden Jesseman, Ivan Tedesco, and Chad Reed for their hallmark moments at Pontiac. The 125 East might be over, but get ready for James Stewart and Travis Preston to do battle out west. Oh yeah, and there still is the 250 supercross championship up for grabs. Stay tuned…

250 RESULTS   
1. Chad Reed…Yam   
2. Ricky Carmichael…Hon   
3. Ernesto Fonseca…Hon   
4. Sean Hamblin…Suz   
5. Heath Voss…Yam   
6. Keith Johnson…Yam   
7. Larry Ward…Hon   
8. Nick Wey…Yam   
9. Ryan Clark…Yam   
10. Josh Demuth…Yam

1. Ricky Carmichael…301
2. Chad Reed…285
3. David Vuillemin…169
4. Ernesto Fonseca…165
5. Tim Ferry…163
6. Nick Wey…151
7. Ezra Lusk…149
8. Heath Voss…139
9. Larry Ward…125
10. Keith Johnson…116

1. Ivan Tedesco…Yam   
2. Kelly Smith…Yam
3. Mike Brown…Kaw   
4. Matt Lalloz…Suz   
5. Steve Boniface…KTM   
6. Branden Jesseman…Suz   
7. Josh Summey…Yam   
8. Michael Blose…Yam   
9. Jeff Gibson…Suz   
10. Thomas Hofmaster…Yam

1. Branden Jesseman…150
2. Mike Brown…143
3. Brock Sellards…120
4. Kelly Smith…105
5. Brett Metcalfe…89
6. Steve Boniface…88
7. Matt Lalloz…85
8. Erick Vallejo…72
9. Ryan Mills…63
10. Ivan Tedesco…62


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