by Bad Billy
Bench Racing Ammo: Great RacesTuesday, December 6, 2005 | 11:23 AM
In this article…
The infamous “block pass” race between Kawasaki’s Jeff Matiasevich and Suzuki’s Larry Ward. Ward has the Seattle fans on his side and the two riders stop, bump, block, and ram each other all night. Amazingly, they do this while pulling away from the rest of the pack! Ward ends up with his first supercross win and the crowd goes nuts.
Los Angeles 1990
Jeremy McGrath wins the first five rounds in 1995, and the supercross win-streak record sits at six. MC goes after it in Atlanta, and he even wears a helmet cam for the ESPN2 broadcast. Early in the race he tries jumping to the inside in a corner and crashes into Honda of Troy’s Mike Craig, sending both riders to the ground (this becomes an infamous helmet-cam shot). MC recovers and battles with Mike Kiedrowski and Jeff Emig for the lead, but Mike LaRocco, coming through the pack after one of his patented bad starts, passes everyone and takes the win.
Damon Huffman is a hot property in the 250 class after winning back-to-back 125 West SX titles. In Seattle, Huffman and McGrath both get bad starts and follow each other through the pack. Huffman is faster in the whoops, but McGrath has a tricky jump combination dialed in. They battle for about 15 laps, until Huffman’s clutch begins to go south and he stalls. McGrath continues on in his quest for the perfect season, until …
St. Louis 1996
… Jeremy gets to St. Louis, the next-to-last round of the series. Local product Jeff Emig is fired up and Mike LaRocco gets a rare good start, so MC has his work cut out for him (and “Factory” Phil Lawrence is also in the mix). McGrath finally zaps LaRocco and looks to go after Emig, but LaRocco comes back with one of the all-time stuff jobs in a bowl turn. As McGrath said in Cycle News, “LaRocco stuffed the crap out of me!” The pass takes some wind out of Jeremy’s sails, and while he is able to get LaRocco back, he can’t get around Emig, who ends McGrath’s 13-race win streak.
Los Angeles 1998
In a muddy opener at the Los Angeles Coliseum, it’s Doug Henry getting out front on the production YZ400F’s maiden voyage (Henry having won the ’97 Las Vegas season finale on a white, pre-production thumper). Henry leads all the way while an unknown rider on #103 charges from way back in the pack. It’s 125 World Champion Sebastien Tortelli, racing in the U.S. as a warm-up for the GPs. Tortelli passes everyone—even the announcers think he is a lapped rider at one point—and then Henry falls and stalls his thumper. Tortelli takes his first (and still only) supercross win.
Anaheim 2 and 3 2001
Midway through the main event, Travis Pastrana and Ricky Carmichael are battling hard for the lead. RC and Pastrana then come together, resulting in Pastrana going down and the Indy fans erupting on RC in a chorus of boos. RC leads, but he’s not out of it yet, and David Vuillemin passes him on the last lap in the funky bowl turn after the finish line to take the win.
Finally, Nathan Ramsey, who had fallen over early in the race, finds himself in the lead when the checkered flag flies. RC roars back to second, right on the rear fender of Ramsey’s CRF450R (marking the first time a Honda thumper would win a main event). Jeremy McGrath finishes third on his Chaparral Yamaha.
The race is a rematch of sorts between Carmichael and Reed. The two have arguably the best AMA Supercross race of the 2003 season at Texas Stadium. The riders swap for the lead close to a dozen times during the 20-lap final. Reed finally opens up a small gap in the latter stages of the race.
Anaheim 3 2004
Chad Reed and Kevin Windham battle for nearly the entire race, until Reed washes out in a turn trying for one last pass. Windham wins.
Mike LaRocco pulls the holeshot and leads all 20 laps for an upset win in front of his incredibly loud hometown crowd, holding off a determined Chad Reed, who had fallen off the start. People in attendance claim it is the loudest crowd they’ve ever heard.
San Diego 2005
After pulling the holeshot, Chad Reed loses the lead to RC on lap four. Ricky then washes out in a corner and drops to third behind Reed and Windham. After an aggressive pass on Windham, Carmichael puts his head down and does what many thought wouldn’t happen: reels in and passes Reed for the win.
After getting a third-place start, then getting passed by James Stewart, Yamaha’s Chad Reed stays in the fight. Stewart crashes, then Reed passes Carmichael and battles with Kevin Windham for several laps before taking over the lead for the win.