Reed first Aussie to win an AMA supercross round

Reed first Aussie to win an AMA supercross round

Reed - first Aussie to win an AMA supercross round

2002 Dirt Rider Magazine Cover - Chad Reed AMA East Coast 125cc Supercross Champion
2002 Chad Reed's Yamaha Bluebird - ADB Magazine

Photos  [Left]:  In 2002, Chad Reed twice created history, becoming the first  Australian to win an AMA Supercross round, at Indianapolis, and Championship (Cover Dirt Rider magazine); and [right] Reed’s Yamaha YZ250F motocross bike (By courtesy ADB Magazine).

Reed creates history at Indianapolis SX, with fellow-Aussie Byrne seriously injured

On 9 February 2002, 19-year-old Chad Reed won the opening round of the AMA East Coast 125cc Supercross Series at the Indianapolis RCA Dome in front of 60,000 screaming fans.

In doing so, he became the first Australian to ever win an AMA Supercross race. It was also a feather in the cap of his team manager, Australia’s Craig Dack, who had played a major role in signing Chad Reed to the Yamaha of Troy racing team.

But after finishing runner-up to Mickael Pichon in the 2001 World 250cc Motocross Championship and then going 5-6 at the opening two rounds of the 2002 250cc AMA Supercross Series in SoCal, Reed was already firmly on the radar for factory team managers in the USA.

Reed qualified fastest in Indianapolis, just ahead of fellow Aussie, Amsoil Honda’s Michael Byrne. In the main event, Reed got an average start, but throughout the race he carved his way through the pack – eventually catching up to race leader Mike Brown (Pro Circuit Kawasaki) to challenge for the lead.

It was an exciting time for Australian fans with Byrne riding out of his skin to rocket up into third, with a chance to hunt down race leader Brown and Reed.
But having two Aussies in the Top 3 would soon come to an end when Byrne’s Honda bogged on the triple’s up-ramp and he landed horribly short and crashed heavily and was immediately taken to hospital.

It was around this time that Reed blew past Brown to take the lead, continually extending the margin each lap until the chequered flag.  Since starting racing at age 9 at his home in Kurri Kurri, New South Wales, Reed achieved a child-hood dream to win his first AMA Supercross race, with Brown finishing in second ahead of American Suzuki rider Buddy Antunez.

But following the race, the celebrations and presentations were delayed after Brown’s team lodged a protest, arguing that Chad had jumped under the yellow flag – the one that marked Michael Byrne’s stretchered exit from the track. 

Michael Byrne - Australian Supercross Racer in AMA Championships

Fellow-Aussie Michael Byrne (Honda) in happier times

Reed was summoned to answer questions raised by the AMA Racing watchdog. Ten minutes later he emerged with a $2500 fine, but the win stood. 

It was a day of mixed emotions for the two Aussies – Reed and Byrne. After the race, Reed went straight to the hospital to check on his mate and fellow countryman to discover some bad news.  From his race accident, Michael Byrne sustained fractures to his ribs, ankle, spine and shoulder and was struggling for breath, after collapsing his lung.

Byrne was out of action for three months with Reed going onto win five more rounds that year to convincingly win the AMA SX East Coast 125cc Championship to create further history to become the first Australian to win an AMA title!

Round 1 - AMA Supercross East Coast 125 Results

Round 1 Indianapolis
9 February 2002

Round 1 Results

1. Chad Reed (Australia, Yamaha)
2. Mike Brown (US, Kawasaki)
3. Buddy Antunez (US, Suzuki)
4. Larry Ward (US, Yamaha)
5.  John Dowd (US, KTM)

End of year championship

1. Chad Reed, Australia 172 points
2. Mike Brown, US 120
3. Branden Jesseman, US 101
4. Buddy Antunez, US 96
5. Steve Boniface, France 91


Reed wins his first AMA Supercross in 125s at Indianapolis – Racer X Motocross & Supercross News

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