Ricky Carmichael: Dirt bike legend

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How did Ricky Carmichael manage to completely dominate motocross and Supercross to the point where he was given the nickname G.O.A.T? I can tell you it’s not because he resembles one, or even sounds like one, and it has nothing to do with his Ginger hair. It stands for Greatest Of All Time. And when it comes to racing dirt bikes, R.C is exactly that.

No one has ever been as consistent or won as many professional American Championships as Ricky has in his career. And he not only won just about every race he entered but he did it with style and sportsmanship. These characteristics amongst others, acquired him a huge following of loyal fans and helped him to become probably the most highly respected person in the sport.

So what drives Ricky Carmichael? Well, he was born in Clearwater, Florida, U.S.A and was introduced to his first dirt bike at age 5 by his parents ‘Big Rick’ and Jeannie. Ricky took to riding like a rabid dog does to a postie boy. He was already racing at 5, and crossing the finish line first was his number one goal and driving force.

Over the following 10 years, he completely dominated the American amateur ranks winning an incredible 67 titles. At the end of the 1996 MX season, he turned pro, riding on a Kawasaki and earned himself AMA Rookie of the Year honors. 1997 brought Ricky Carmichael his first AMA outdoor championship win, followed by another 1st place in both the MX and SX Champs in 1998. And so his domination had begun…

From 2001 to 2004 R.C switched his ride to Honda where he knocked Jeremy McGrath from his throne and somehow achieved two perfect seasons (24-0) in the AMA Motocross Championships. From 2005 to the end of his professional career in 2007, he raced for Team Makita Suzuki and awed millions of spectators with some of the most epic battles ever witnessed involving James Stewart and Chad Reed.

Winning has come at a price for Ricky Carmichael and it has certainly not been a walk in the park for this athlete. In his younger days, he was a short, stocky lad and his enthusiasm and determination was enough to make him #1. However, he struggled with his transition to the 250 class (as many pros do) and quickly realized that he needed ‘that something else’ to win against the big boys. Part of his problem was that he couldn’t throw around or control his heavier 250 like he could on his 125. Ricky was often seen hanging on desperately to his bike or even getting thrown off wildly onto the track. He knew that he needed to change something, so he began an intensive fitness training program that focused on building his strength. This proved to be a winning formula and it was exactly what he needed to keep him on the podium.

When you take a quick look at champions like Ricky Carmichael, it’s all too easy to think that it’s just talent and luck that makes them who they are. But when you delve deeper into their lives you often find that there has been a lot of blood, sweat and hard work along the road to success. And in the world of motocross I don’t think you could find anyone for who this is more true than it is for Ricky. He was so disciplined in his training that he trained from sun-up to sun-down and even referred to it as “Groundhog Day”. What ever it takes huh?

So what are some of the rewards of winning I hear you ask? Well, apart from the satisfaction he has of accomplishing all of his goals and knowing he was the worlds best during his reign… he of course was, and still is heavily sponsored which pulls him in a significant income. Enough money to pay for a decadent home for his wife and their children. His home in Florida boasts an outdoor swimming pool with a hot tub, a bar and games room with all of his trophy’s and mementos, a large garage to house their 4×4’s and of course his own MX/SX track. The dream lifestyle really…

Resting amongst his impressive collection of trophy’s is his X Games medals. You’ve probably seen him showing off his freakish skills in the Best Whip and Step Up competitions. Only he and a handful of other riders in the world are doing what they are doing in the Step Up comp. Ricky and Ronnie Renner both cleared 34 feet to tie with a gold in the 2009 X Games and Ricky is practicing on a specially made jump that he reckons will allow him to clear 40 feet. Talk about raising the bar!

Well, as they say, all good things must come to an end, and unfortunately for us spectators, Ricky Carmichael’s professional career in MX and SX has also come to an end. He retired at the age of 27 at the top of his game to pursue NASCAR racing. And although retired, when he does attend events like the X Games or hit the track for a fun ride or the odd race, he still draws a huge amount of fans that are there to cheer him on and witness the G.O.A.T in action.

Some Career Highlights

2009 – Gold Medal (Tied), X Games Step-Up
2008 – Gold Medal, X Games Step-Up
2007 – Gold Medal, X Games Racing
2007 – 1st, Motocross of Nations Champion, Team USA
2006 – 1st, AMA Supercross Champion
2006 – 1st, AMA Outdoor Nationals
2005 – 1st, FIM SX1 World Supercross Champion
2005 – 1st, AMA Supercross Champion
2005 – 1st, AMA Outdoor Nationals
2005 – 1st, Motocross des Nations, Team USA
2005 – 1st, U.S. Open of Supercross
2004 – 1st, AMA Outdoor Nationals
2003 – 1st, AMA Supercross Champion
2003 – 1st, AMA Outdoor Nationals
2002 – 1st, AMA Supercross Champion
2002 – 1st, AMA Outdoor Nationals
2001 – 1st, AMA Supercross Champion
2001 – 1st, AMA Outdoor Nationals
2001 – 1st, U.S. Open of Supercross
2000 – 1st, AMA Outdoor Nationals
2000 – 1st, U.S. Open of Supercross
2000 – 1st, Motocross des Nations Champion, Team USA
1999 – 1st, AMA Outdoor Nationals, Lites
1998 – 1st, AMA Supercross East Region Series, Lites
1998 – 1st, AMA Outdoor Nationals, Lites
1997 – 1st, AMA Outdoor Nationals, Lites


Full Name: Ricky Carmichael
D.O.B: 27th November 1979
Place of Birth: Clearwater, Florida, U.S.A
Height: 5’4″
National MX & SX Number: #4
Other Interests: Wakeboarding, snowboarding, boating & family

* All care was taken to get this information correct at the time of writing. If anything is wrong please contact me so I can correct it.

Have A Great Story Or Photo Of Ricky Carmichael?

This is where you can share your opinion, thoughts, story or encounter with the G.O.A.T. Maybe you have a great photo of him doing his thing? Maybe it’s a photo of you and him chilling out? Maybe you want to add some interesting info. about him? Whatever you want! But please make it interesting and more than just two sentences, and let’s keep it clean.

Notes from Fans

I first remember watching Ricky race on Foxtel here In Australia. He was racing a Kawasaki KX125 in about 1997 I think. The next I heard of him was about 2004 and the talk was that James Stewart would take the Crown once he got to compete in the open?

But not myself, I believed Ricky would fight tooth and nail like the true Ginger Red Dog he is, with a will to win and dogged determination like no other. We backed Ricky and he always matched our expectations.

I’m an Aussie and I like Chad Reed also. I have seen him race here in Aus many times, but Ricky was always my favorite. I just wish I had seen him race before he retired.

I believe if he did one season against Villopoto, Dungey, Stewart, and Reed, and did his usual training work up he would still dominate. There may never be another RC only the next best rider. Long live the legend and reality of RICKY the Great.

A tribute from his number 1 Aussie fan – Matty Kelly 20 March 2012

Tell Your Daughter I’m Flattered

I know there are a lot of people out there like me when it comes to fans, but there is only One Ricky Carmichael!

He’s known all around the world for what he has managed to do on the track under pressure. Me? I’m known throughout my house for wrecking every time while on the track.

I have been one of Ricky Carmichael’s biggest fans since the young age of eight. For those of you who don’t know him, he was once a professional Motocross and Supercross racer for over 10 years. Some of his many career highlights have been his 2007-2009 Gold medal winnings in the X games, and over 5 AMA Supercross Championships.

I know so much about him, but yet have never met him. If I had the opportunity to just talk to him for one single hour, I know that I would come out of the conversation as not only a better rider, but a better person as well.

I would ask him simple questions at first, like “When you ride, do you shut everyone and everything else out and just think about the now, like me? Or do you have to focus on what the press said about you after your last race?”. But I would eventually ask more life concerning questions. I would ask “How did you never once let all of this fame and fortune get inside of your head?” Well, at least not that I saw. “And how you never let all of this pride get the best of you? And how through all the years, you always seemed rooted and in control of who you are?”

You never once let someone tell you that you couldn’t do something. I know that a lot of famous people aren’t always who they seem to be after meeting with them, but I know that this isn’t the case when it comes to Ricky.

At the age of 12, I got a little dog who I named Ricky Carmichael (not much of a surprise). Well, my dad went to take Ricky to get his hair cut in Tallahassee (where the real Ricky Carmichael lives). My dad had my dog bag in the car and had to stop by the gas station, and wouldn’t you know, there’s Motocross legend Ricky Carmichael getting gas! My dad explained how I was a huge fan of his and told him how I had even named my dog after him. My dad went on to ask if he would sign my dog bag. Now I’m sure Ricky had better things to do that day besides talking to some random Man about how much his daughter looked up and appreciated him. Without hesitation, he signed my dog bag and said “Tell your daughter that I am flattered.” As a fan, I don’t think he has any clue how much that small gesture meant, and still means to me this day! I would be honored to have a single moment with the one they call The G.O.A.T (Greatest Of All Time).

Jim Harmer

I'm the co-owner of Dirt Bike Planet. I live in Star, Idaho and enjoy dirt biking with my wife and two boys throughout the Idaho mountains.

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