Ricky Carmichael Goes Grave Digging

March 10, 2004
Courtesy of Steve Bruhn

Supercross champion Ricky Carmichael can now add driving a Monster Truck to his already impressive list of accomplishments. “I am still trembling,” said the multi-time SX champ after he got out of the 1,500 horsepower Grave Digger monster truck.

RC’s personal training facility in Tallahassee, Florida looked like any young man’s dream the Monday after the Atlanta supercross. On hand was the Yamaha of Troy semi along with Mike Brown, Josh Hansen, Kelly Smith, Danny Smith, and 2-time 125 champion Steve Lamson. All of which were getting ready for Daytona. “Camp Carmichael” was full of box vans, motocross bikes, mechanics, mini bikes, and the ultimate toys, 2 full-on USHRA Monster Trucks.

Ouch Ricky! Stay on the gas guy!
Carmichael didn’t mention any plans for a second career in truck racing but he could get used to it. “It was pretty simple really,” he said referring to the truck’s controls, “They are hard to control because there are 4 wheels and the ground is not perfectly smooth. It is tough. Like anything you could get used to it, the more you do it the better you get.”

Carmichael is known to have some rally-style off-road fun on the property. He sometimes buys old cars and rips them around until he and his friends get their fill. Then they sell the leftovers as junk. But the property has never seen the likes of these two behemoths before.

“Clear Channel called and said in a couple of weeks the Monster Trucks would be in Tallahassee doing a show,” said Carmichael. “They called to see if I would be interested in driving one just to see what it would be like and I said ‘sure.’ It had been a couple of weeks and the next thing you know they are out here. There were two trucks, the Blacksmith and Gravedigger. They gave me a great opportunity. It was fun.”

When asked what was scarier, jumping a triple for the first time or a Monster Truck, Carmichael quickly responded, “Monster Trucks without a doubt. With 4 wheels you feel like you have no control whatsoever. I was terrified. I was so nervous and didn’t know what to expect. You are just kind of in the dark and you don’t know what to look out for.”

The one-time event was organized by the Director of Supercross, Todd Jendro of Clear Channel, and Bill Easterly, the Senior Director of Operations at Clear Channel. Easterly made sure the usual safety precautions were being taken just like they would at any truck event; like keeping spectators far away from running trucks and keeping the remote control ignition close by in case things got out of hand.

Veteran Grave Digger driver, Pablo Huffaker, was on hand to show Carmichael the ropes. After giving him a brief tutorial, he demonstrated what BIG air really means in the Blacksmith truck. Later the two of them took to the track.