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SUPERCROSS

Jeers Are Just Part of the Job

January 18, 2003|Martin Henderson | Times Staff Writer

David Vuillemin doesn't like the boos. He heard them two weeks ago when he was introduced at Anaheim in the opening round of the AMA supercross series, though they weren't as loud as last year when he won the season's first two races and established himself as a rival to champion Ricky Carmichael.

"I don't want to be the bad guy," said the Frenchman, who goes for his first U.S. victory of the season tonight at Edison Field. "Nobody wants to be the bad guy. I just accept it. It's a source of motivation."

Vuillemin is among three Yamaha riders in the top five after the first two rounds. Australian Chad Reed leads with 47 points, and American Timmy Ferry is tied with defending champion Honda rider Ricky Carmichael with 40 points.

But Reed and Ferry haven't been booed in Anaheim as was Vuillemin, who is fifth in the standings with 34 points. And, Vuillemin says, "Sometimes fans often boo the wrong guy," citing the maelstrom that encircled Carmichael two weeks ago in Anaheim after he'd knocked over Travis Pastrana in what was nothing more than a racing incident.

"I don't race dirty, I don't take anybody out," Vuillemin said. "I just want to race and win clean."

A Corona resident, Vuillemin won three races last season and finished second to Carmichael in the championship.

In the THQ World Supercross GP, which includes two European races along with the American events, Vuillemin is second with 87 points, four behind Reed. Vuillemin won in Geneva and finished second in Arnhem, Netherlands.

Ezra Lusk, who won last week in Phoenix, is fourth in the series with 38 points.

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