Friday, May 24, 2013

6 Over 60 Riding Coast to Coast for Wounded Warriors


On June 20, 2013, six men in their mid-60’s will embark on a bicycle ride across the Northern Tier of the United States to raise money and awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project.  The 6 over 60 Team hopes to raise $60,000 for this amazing group of unsung American heroes.  All of the money donated goes directly to the Wounded Warrior Project.  The Team is self-funding all ride expenses.  Donations can be made directly on the Wounded Warrior web site that has a direct link from the Team web site www.6over60raa.com.

The Team will begin its journey in Astoria, Oregon by dipping their rear wheels in the Pacific Ocean and conclude 60 days and 3,667 miles later in Portsmouth, New Hampshire by dipping their front wheels in the Atlantic Ocean.  Their support vehicle during this adventure will be driven by their longtime good friend and retired pastor.

The six riders range in age from 64 to 68.  They will all be retired at the time of the ride from varied careers that include a high school principal in Irvine, an Irvine police officer, a director of a local water district, a real estate developer, a software developer and an executive from the oil industry.  The members of the 6 over 60 Team are longtime residents of Irvine.  They attend the same church and have ridden together for many years and many miles.

The individual riders have a variety of personal reasons for doing this ride but they all have a common purpose, to generate support for the Wounded Warrior Project.  This 6 over 60 Team does not take their lives for granted.  They are reminded every day of their mortality by the evening news, the aging of their parents and the reflection in the mirror.  All six realize how fortunate they are to be blessed with good health and great friendships.  They also recognize our Wounded Warriors made a choice to defend what we should never take for granted.  Please refer to the Team’s website to learn more about the ride and route they plan to follow.

Team Members:

PAT
 Occupation:  For the last 13 years, I have worked in R.E. development with Prologis in a variety of capacities. Prior to that I was with CBRE, as a commercial R.E. broker for 16 years.
 Location Born in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Located to Southern California in 1956 and currently reside in Irvine, CA for the last 32 years.
 Introduction:  Age 64, makes me the junior member of this silver haired team. I have been married for 34 years to Dorothy and have 2 girls (Christine and Michelle) and one son (Paul). Christine is married to Scott, and they have blessed us with two granddaughters, Addie and Claire. My son-in-law's dad is Tom, a fellow rider on this adventure and great friend.
 Motivation: My interest in this adventure started a few years back when my son Paul and 3 of his friends started planning a similar trip. They forged ahead with their plans and kicked off their cross country trip in May, 2011 from our house in Irvine. I rode with them to the county line that day and really felt the urge to have a similar adventure. Their trip ended tragically with Bill Cranshaw's death in an automobile accident in Arkansas which causes a number of mixed emotions regarding our trip. I am grateful for the support I have from Dorothy  and family to do something a bit selfish and free spirited at this stage of my life and to have a group of friends I enjoy enough to consider such a trip.
 Military:  I have not served in the military; however my father, "the sarge", was an army veteran of WWII. I am  most appreciative of the sacrifice our military personnel make, and especially grateful to those who either paid the ultimate price or suffered injury defending our freedom. It is an honor to dedicate our trip to those individuals.

ED
Occupation:  Retired after 43 years in computer software working in various management and software developer positions.
 Location: Raised in Connecticut, now living in Southern California.
 Introduction: 67 years old, blessed to be married 30 years to Linda. We have a daughter Beth, and son John. I also have a daughter Julie living on the east coast.
 Motivation:  I am thankful for the family support, and health to experience cycling across this nation. I look forward to this opportunity to bond with 6 men, enjoy the hospitality of individuals we meet, and raising money for those who have chosen to serve and protect us.
 Military:  I have never served in the military. I honor and respect those who have, and wish to help in some way. I have family and friends who have served, including a retired friend who recently returned from a tour in Iraq.

DALE
Occupation:  Retired two years ago after 25 years of service as a police officer for the City of Irvine.  Prior to serving as a police officer I owned and operated two gas stations specializing in auto repair.
 Location: Born and raised in California I have lived in Irvine for the past 32 years.
 Introduction:  Age 66.  Married for 36 years to my wife Diane.  Two sons, Michael and Matthew.  Hobbies now include swimming and bike riding participating in organized century bike rides.  I have had both knees replaced and bike riding has been a great way to recover. Favorite music...Jimmy Buffet and IZ and anything Hawaiian.  Favorite vacation spot:  Maui and Kauai.
 Motivation: The Ride Across America isn’t just a cycling event or an awe-inspiring journey across our nation, it’s an expression of my passion for the sport of cycling, health, and fitness. I want to do it because it’s a challenge, because it’s a bucket-list dream, a test of the mind and  body.  If I can do this, I can do anything.  Because it reminds me how lucky I am to be alive and healthy.  It is going to be a mind boggling experience and a test of friendships.
 Military:  I served 3 years in the Army (1964 -1967) with 14 months serving in Viet-Nam.  I was lucky to come back home uninjured.  I am looking forward to riding with and for the Wounded Warriors.

DARRYL
Occupation:  Retired Geologist and municipal water resource and management leader.
 Location: Born and raised near the beach in sunny Southern California.
 Introduction: 65 years old, married 41 years to Jeanne. We have a son, Ryan (36) and daughter Jamie (34), daughter-in-law Amy (36) and three grand children, Nathan (6), Chase (4), and Aiden (2).
 Motivation: Looking forward to achieving a long time "bucket list" item with good friends who share the same interests, values, and love for Jesus.
 Military:   Served six years in the Air Force reserves during the Vietnam era and appreciate the profound commitment and service of our soldiers.

TOM
Occupation: Prior to retirement, I enjoyed 30+ exciting years working in 3 different Public High Schools in the roles of Teacher, Coach, Athletic  Director, and finally Principal. There are not too many things that I would have changed during these years. It was a great "ride".
 Location: Southern California
 Introduction: I am 65 years old and this year my wife (also a retired  teacher) and I will be celebrating 40 years of marriage. We have two adult children who are both married, live close, and have started their own families. When I am not out riding with my buddies, you can usually find me playing with one of my three grand daughters.
 Motivation: Without a doubt, my 5 pals that join me in this adventure bring out the best in me, just like the Proverb states: "Iron sharpening iron as one man sharpens another". My friendship with these men motivates me to be the best I can be. Right now that means riding my bike across America in support of our Wounded Warriors. Next year will bring  something new.
  Military:  I personally have not served in the Military. However, I am proud to say that both my Biological and Step Fathers served in WWII and my high school team mate and close friend served in the Viet Nam War sadly losing his life in a helicopter crash. I am proud to be an American and honored to dedicate this effort to our Wounded Warriors.

JIM
Occupation:  Retired after spending 30 years in the oil industry.
 Location: Born in Long Beach Ca. and have lived my entire life in beautiful Southern Calif.
 Introduction: I'm 66 years old and married for over 40 years to wife Jennifer. We have a son and daughter and 5 grandchildren. We Americans have been so blessed to live in this great country of ours and to have had men and women who have given their all to preserve our freedom. It is an honor and privilege to be able to give back in a small way to those who have given so much. I thank God for our team and the friendships we have with each other and the health the Lord has blessed us with to be able to undertake such a challenge.
 Motivation: There is no better way to see a big chunk of the country than from the seat of a bicycle with a bunch of good friends.
 Military:  I served in the USMC and spent a tour in Vietnam '68. My best friend from High School Ray Burbage was also serving in Vietnam with the Army. We were both due to be discharged in the fall of '68 and had long planned on taking a year and driving around the United States after we were discharged. Ray was killed on Feb 21, 1968 near Saigon. I will be riding for Ray 45 years later and for the Wounded Warriors.


What a great cause and I look forward to following the ride.


Monday, May 20, 2013

RACERX - 30 GREATEST AMA MOTOCROSSERS: #1 RICKY CARMICHAEL


For as long as Ricky Carmichael raced professional motocross, he relied on a single measure of his success: the scoreboard. As we wrap up this countdown and start the Hangtown Motocross Classic, we are pleased to announce that he’s the #1 athlete on our Monster Energy 30 Greatest AMA Motocrossers list. While no one is surprised by his presence at the top of the list, it is still remarkable to look back at the one measure that RC regarded as his legacy—that very same scoreboard.

1 Gatorback Cycle Park 125MX 2-Mar-97 Kawasaki
1 Hangtown Motocross Classic 125MX 4-May-97 Kawasaki
1 Glen Helen Raceway 125MX 11-May-97 Kawasaki
1 Budds Creek Motocross 125MX 15-Jun-97 Kawasaki
1 Moto-X 338 125MX 22-Jun-97 Kawasaki
1 Spring Creek Motocross 125MX 3-Aug-97 Kawasaki
1 Washougal Motocross 125MX 17-Aug-97 Kawasaki
1 Broome-Tioga Sports Center 125MX 24-Aug-97 Kawasaki

125 National MX Champion

1 Glen Helen Raceway 125MX 10-May-98 Kawasaki
1 High Point Raceway 125MX 24-May-98 Kawasaki
1 Budds Creek Motocross 125MX 21-Jun-98 Kawasaki
1 Red Bud Track 'n Trail 125MX 5-Jul-98 Kawasaki
1 Unadilla Motocross 125MX 19-Jul-98 Kawasaki
1 Kenworthy's Motocross Park 125MX 25-Jul-98 Kawasaki
1 Washougal Motocross 125MX 2-Aug-98 Kawasaki
1 Spring Creek Motocross 125MX 16-Aug-98 Kawasaki

125 National MX Champion

Carmichael won his first outdoor title in 1997.
Racer X Archives

1 Glen Helen Raceway 125MX 9-May-99 Kawasaki
1 Hangtown Motocross Classic 125MX 16-May-99 Kawasaki
1 High Point Raceway 125MX 30-May-99 Kawasaki
1 Moto-X 338 125MX 13-Jun-99 Kawasaki
1 Red Bud Track 'n Trail 125MX 4-Jul-99 Kawasaki
1 Unadilla Motocross 125MX 18-Jul-99 Kawasaki
1 Kenworthy's Motocross Park 125MX 25-Jul-99 Kawasaki
1 Broome-Tioga Sports Center 125MX 29-Aug-99 Kawasaki
1 Steel City Raceway 125MX 5-Sep-99 Kawasaki

125 National MX Champion

1 Glen Helen Raceway 250MX 14-May-00 Kawasaki
1 Moto-X 338 250MX 11-Jun-00 Kawasaki
1 Budds Creek Motocross 250MX 18-Jun-00 Kawasaki
1 Unadilla Motocross 250MX 16-Jul-00 Kawasaki
1 Kenworthy's Motocross Park 250MX 23-Jul-00 Kawasaki
1 Washougal Motocross 250MX 30-Jul-00 Kawasaki
1 Spring Creek Motocross 250MX 13-Aug-00 Kawasaki
1 Broome-Tioga Sports Center 250MX 27-Aug-00 Kawasaki
1 Steel City Raceway 250MX 3-Sep-00 Kawasaki

250 National MX Champion
By 1999, Carmichael already had three titles on his resume.
Simon Cudby photo

1 Moto-X 338 250MX 10-Jun-01 Kawasaki
1 Budds Creek Motocross 250MX 17-Jun-01 Kawasaki
1 Red Bud Track 'n Trail 250MX 1-Jul-01 Kawasaki
1 Unadilla Motocross 250MX 15-Jul-01 Kawasaki
1 Kenworthy's Motocross Park 250MX 22-Jul-01 Kawasaki
1 Spring Creek Motocross 250MX 19-Aug-01 Kawasaki
1 Broome-Tioga Sports Center 250MX 26-Aug-01 Kawasaki
1 Steel City Raceway 125MX 2-Sep-01 Kawasaki

250 National MX Champion

1 Glen Helen Raceway 250MX 12-May-02 Honda
1 Hangtown Motocross Classic 250MX 19-May-02 Honda
1 High Point Raceway 250MX 26-May-02 Honda
1 Moto-X 338 250MX 9-Jun-02 Honda
1 Budds Creek Motocross 250MX 16-Jun-02 Honda
1 Red Bud Track 'n Trail 250MX 7-Jul-02 Honda
1 Kenworthy's Motocross Park 250MX 14-Jul-02 Honda
1 Unadilla Motocross 250MX 21-Jul-02 Honda
1 Washougal Motocross 250MX 28-Jul-02 Honda
1 Spring Creek Motocross 250MX 18-Aug-02 Honda
1 Broome-Tioga Sports Center 250MX 25-Aug-02 Honda
1 Steel City Raceway 250MX 1-Sep-02 Honda

250 National MX Champion

Carmichael won three outdoor titles with Honda.
Simon Cudby photo

1 Glen Helen Raceway 250MX 11-May-03 Honda
1 Hangtown Motocross Classic 250MX 18-May-03 Honda
1 High Point Raceway 250MX 25-May-03 Honda
1 Moto-X 338 250MX 8-Jun-03 Honda
1 Budds Creek Motocross 250MX 15-Jun-03 Honda
1 Red Bud Track 'n Trail 250MX 6-Jul-03 Honda
1 Spring Creek Motocross 250MX 17-Aug-03 Honda
1 Broome-Tioga Sports Center 250MX 24-Aug-03 Honda
1 Steel City Raceway 250MX 31-Aug-03 Honda

250 National MX Champion

1 Hangtown Motocross Classic 250MX 16-May-04 Honda CRF450R
1 High Point Raceway 250MX 30-May-04 Honda CRF450R
1 Moto-X 338 250MX 13-Jun-04 Honda CRF450R
1 Budds Creek Motocross 250MX 20-Jun-04 Honda CRF450R
1 Red Bud Track 'n Trail 250MX 4-Jul-04 Honda CRF450R
1 Unadilla Motocross 250MX 18-Jul-04 Honda CRF450R
1 Kenworthy's Motocross Park 250MX 25-Jul-04 Honda CRF450R
1 Washougal Motocross 250MX 1-Aug-04 Honda CRF450R
1 Spring Creek Motocross 250MX 15-Aug-04 Honda CRF450R
1 Broome-Tioga Sports Center 250MX 22-Aug-04 Honda CRF450R
1 Steel City Raceway 250MX 5-Sep-04 Honda CRF450R
1 Glen Helen Raceway 250MX 12-Sep-04 Honda CRF450R

250 National MX Champion
The 2001 season marked Carmichael's last outdoor title with Kawasaki.
Simon Cudby photo

1 Hangtown Motocross Classic 250MX 22-May-05 Suzuki RMZ450
1 High Point Raceway 250MX 29-May-05 Suzuki RMZ450
1 Moto-X 338 250MX 12-Jun-05 Suzuki RMZ450
1 Budds Creek Motocross 250MX 19-Jun-05 Suzuki RMZ450
1 Red Bud Track 'n Trail 250MX 3-Jul-05 Suzuki RMZ450
1 Unadilla Motocross 250MX 17-Jul-05 Suzuki RMZ450
1 Thunder Valley Motocross 250MX 24-Jul-05 Suzuki RMZ450
1 Washougal Motocross 250MX 31-Jul-05 Suzuki RMZ450
1 Spring Creek Motocross 250MX 14-Aug-05 Suzuki RMZ450
1 Broome-Tioga Sports Center 250MX 21-Aug-05 Suzuki RMZ450
1 Steel City Raceway 250MX 4-Sep-05 Suzuki RMZ450
1 Glen Helen Raceway 250MX 11-Sep-05 Suzuki RMZ450

250 National MX Champion

1 High Point Raceway MX 28-May-06 Suzuki RMZ450
1 Moto-X 338 MX 11-Jun-06 Suzuki RMZ450
1 Budds Creek Motocross MX 18-Jun-06 Suzuki RMZ450
1 Red Bud Track 'n Trail MX 2-Jul-06 Suzuki RMZ450
1 Unadilla Motocross MX 16-Jul-06 Suzuki RMZ450
1 Thunder Valley Motocross MX 23-Jul-06 Suzuki RMZ450
1 Spring Creek Motocross MX 13-Aug-06 Suzuki RMZ450
1 Broome-Tioga Sports Center MX 20-Aug-06 Suzuki RMZ450
1 Steel City Raceway MX 3-Sep-06 Suzuki RMZ450

MX National Champion

1 Hangtown Motocross Classic MX 20-May-07 Suzuki RM-Z450
1 High Point Raceway MX 27-May-07 Suzuki RM-Z450
1 Moto-X 338 MX 10-Jun-07 Suzuki RM-Z450
1 Budds Creek Motocross MX 17-Jun-07 Suzuki RM-Z450
1 Red Bud Track 'n Trail MX 1-Jul-07 Suzuki RM-Z450
1 Spring Creek Motocross MX 12-Aug-07 Suzuki RM-Z450

Carmichael won two outdoor titles with Suzuki.
Simon Cudby photo

#2 - Bob Hannah

#3 - Rick Johnson

#4 - Jeff Ward

#5 - James Stewart

#6 - Broc Glover

#7 - Jeff Stanton

#8 - Mike Kiedrowski

#9 - Ryan VIllopoto

#10 - Ryan Dungey

#11 - Jeff Emig

#12 - Kent Howerton

#13 - David Bailey

#14 - Mark Barnett

#15 - Doug Henry

#16 - Marty Smith

#17 - Mike LaRocco

#18 - Jeremy McGrath

#19 - Ron Lechien

#20 - Jean-Michel Bayle

#21 - Tony DiStefano

#22 - Steve Lamson

#23 - Jimmy Weinert

#24 - Chad Reed

#25 - Brad Lackey

#26 - Gary Jones

#27 - Pierre Karsmakers

#28 - Kevin Windham

#29 - Grant Langston

#30 - Johnny O'Mara

RACERX - 30 GREATEST AMA MOTOCROSSERS: #2 BOB HANNAH


Motocross started in Europe in the 1920s, and the continent remained the dominant power for the next fifty years or so. Late to the sport, American motocross pioneers did not cause much concern for the dominant racers from Belgium, Sweden, England, and more. Over the years, strides were made as “scrambling” caught on here and the Americans started getting faster. The Ekins brothers, Joe Bulger, John DeSoto, Gary Bailey, Barry Higgins, Mark Blackwell, the Grossi brothers, the Jones boys—they were all a part of the evolution, along with many others. In 1973 Jim Pomeroy became the first American to win a Grand Prix, and later that year Jim Weinert would be the first to win a Trans-AMA. Brad Lackey would eventually become the first to win an FIM World Championship, but that was later.

Then Bob Hannah showed up, and all hell broke loose.
Hannah burst onto the American motocross scene like a Hurricane. Hence the nickname.
Racer X Archives

Motocross fans from way back know the story of how Hannah showed up in 1976 “like a hurricane,” according to Cycle News beat reporter Jim Gianatsis, who gave the Hurricane his nickname. A wild child from the California desert with exactly one national race under his belt (a sixth-place finish at the '75 Cycle-Rama in San Antonio), Hannah was signed by Yamaha for the '76 season.

His first stop was in Florida, no stranger to hurricanes, to race the then-glorious Winter-AMA Series. He dominated on a 250, then had a couple of decent supercross finishes in the three races that led up to the outdoor opener, the Hangtown Classic. It was there that Hannah was dispatched to the 125 class to take on the seemingly invincible Marty Smith and his factory Honda. It was April 4, 1976, one of the most pivotal days in our motocross history.

The fiercely competitive Hannah didn’t just beat Smith and everyone else. He dominated. And he would continue to do so throughout the series. Granted, Smith was having issues with his Honda, but Hannah was reshaping the way men raced motocross. His wild riding style, flamboyant character, and killer instincts were a unique package that seemed to catch Marty and everyone else off guard. The standard for training was raised by Hannah, and so was the speed. He was able to go faster and go longer, and he wasn't intimidated by anyone. In fact, Hannah pretty much hated everyone else he raced against—especially Europeans.
Hannah won thirty-seven nationals during his career.
Racer X Archives

Whether it was an act or just downright meanness, Hannah approached every race with a burning desire to win, and when the 1976 125 Nationals were complete and it was time to race the Trans-AMA Series against the true masters of motocross, led by Roger DeCoster, Hannah went to war. He introduced himself to The Man, then the five-time 500cc World Motocross Champion, by running up his leg at Unadilla. It was a signal that the game was changing, and Roger and friends took heed. For the next three years their Trans-AMA battles would be epic, with the Europeans slowly giving way to the Americans, led by the wild-riding Hannah, plus Tony DiStefano, Weinert, Howerton, and more. Hannah rattled every visitor's cage every chance he got, including calling them all “commie bastards” over the PA at the 250cc U.S. Grand Prix at Unadilla.

Of course this list is about AMA Motocross, and Hannah was exceptional there. He won three titles there and a then-record thirty-seven nationals, spread across three classes (not mention to three straight supercross titles). And while his numbers would be eclipsed in years to come, the stats themselves are not Hannah's legacy. What made him such a legend—and what he changed on the racetrack—was his speed itself, the aggression, the work, and the mindset of everyone around him. He wanted to win so badly that it was contagious. You had to work like Hannah and ride like Hannah if you wanted to beat him.

Hannah also bridged the gap from supercross to outdoor motocross before anyone else, taking the skills he mastered in the stadiums and putting them to use outside. That made fast starts, a frantic pace, and precision jumping motocross requirements. And when Europe wasn't quick to follow, the Americans would soon surpass them.
Hannah also racked up three titles during his career.
Racer X Archives

Bob Hannah was not part of the historic team that won the 1981 Motocross and Trophee des Nations that signaled the transfer of world motocross power from Europe to America—that was Danny LaPorte, Johnny O'Mara, Chuck Sun, and Donnie Hansen—but he led the surge that preceded it. Even though he was sidelined at the height of his dominance for more than a year with a shattered leg from a water-skiing accident, his influence was obvious in what was happening on racetracks everywhere. Even a couple years after he came back, Hannah seemed well on his way to winning the 1983 AMA 250 Motocross Championship, as well as the SX title, before a broken wrist once again slowed him. The next year it was his pelvis. Then the wrist again.

Hannah raced well past his prime, the injuries slowing his speed but not his desire. By the time he was done in the late eighties, well past the time of his early peers Smith, DiStefano, Weinert, and of course DeCoster, the sport itself had completely changed here. Hannah was the driving force behind that transformation, even though his pure stats don't quite reflect his deep influence. While it was Brad Lackey who would win that first world title, it was Hannah who set the pace here during that crucial era.

There are several truly great riders who could have been #2 on this list of Monster Energy's 30 Greatest AMA Motocrossers, which has made the bench-racing so much fun these past 29 days. But anyone who saw Bob Hannah race at his absolute best—banging elbows and busting boots with the old guard, leading the way in the new way of racing—certainly understands why Hannah ranks just above the rest. The Hurricane was the game-changer for American motocross in its collective race against the rest of the world.



#3 - Rick Johnson

#4 - Jeff Ward

#5 - James Stewart

#6 - Broc Glover

#7 - Jeff Stanton

#8 - Mike Kiedrowski

#9 - Ryan VIllopoto

#10 - Ryan Dungey

#11 - Jeff Emig

#12 - Kent Howerton

#13 - David Bailey

#14 - Mark Barnett

#15 - Doug Henry

#16 - Marty Smith

#17 - Mike LaRocco

#18 - Jeremy McGrath

#19 - Ron Lechien

#20 - Jean-Michel Bayle

#21 - Tony DiStefano

#22 - Steve Lamson

#23 - Jimmy Weinert

#24 - Chad Reed

#25 - Brad Lackey

#26 - Gary Jones

#27 - Pierre Karsmakers

#28 - Kevin Windham

#29 - Grant Langston

#30 - Johnny O'Mara

Friday, May 17, 2013

RACERX - 30 GREATEST AMA MOTOCROSSERS: #3 RICK JOHNSON


The model of the contemporary American motocross superstar was forged from many great champions through the years, but none epitomizes the fully finished product better than Rick Johnson. He was the cutthroat, crowd-pleasing battler we see in a Ryan Villopoto or a Justin Barcia, a consummate worker like Ryan Dungey, had the charisma of a Kevin Windham, and possessed the sheer speed of a James Stewart or Blake Baggett. In the eighties, Ricky Johnson came along with all of those, and the impression he made in a championship-filled career stays with us to the this day. He's from the El Cajon Zone, the quintessential California, and he's #3 on the Monster Energy 30 Greatest AMA Motocrossers list.

With pretty much every athlete up to this point, we have explained their era, their competition, their career journey, and their ultimate legacy. For a generation of motocross fans, Johnson is the man we think of most when we think of the eighties, even though that era was absolutely packed with legends: Glover, Ward, Barnett, Bailey, O'Mara, Lechien, Danny “Magoo” Chandler, Micky Dymond, and more. It was Johnson who most often rose above in a time when motocross was going through a revolution of sorts, the Americans having proven to the rest of the world that we were now the power in motocross, and RJ more often than not being best among the Americans. He played up to the fans, not only by winning but doing so in a way that just looked like too much fun. He allowed his image to be used in ways motocross magazines had never really seen—the muse for Fox Racing's surge during that time to the stylish top of the line. And he was a talker, too, not someone who would hang out under his tent or lock himself in the back of his box van while fans waited for hours outside the pits. In that regard, RJ was the Travis Pastrana of his time.

Because of the talent amassed around him, Johnson did not have the dominant, undefeated seasons others on this list had. Nor was he a minicycle prodigy who arrived at his first national with a Datsun pickup truck full of trophies. He did have support from Yamaha, and as a 16-year-old support rider he made a run at the '81 AMA 125 Nationals, a series almost completely dominated by Mark Barnett. But when the Bomber missed the last round with a broken collarbone, it gave Johnny O'Mara an opening to take his first win at the Carlsbad National. But the winner of the second moto that day was #212, Ricky Johnson.

In 1982, Yamaha moved the kid up the 250 class alongside the veteran Glover, with Bob Hannah moving to the 125 class. Now 17, and a big kid anyway, Johnson made the best of it, winning his first national at High Point and then taking the battle to Glover and Team Honda's Donnie Hansen all the way to the last round at the old Lakewood track in Colorado. There he made a mistake of youthful inexperience, jumping too far, too often on the concrete-like hillside dirt and shattering his wheel as well as his title hopes. The lessons he learned would have to wait until 1984, though, because Johnson suffered a fractured hip during the '83 supercross tour.

By 1984 things were starting to come together for Johnson. He showed marked improvement in supercross, and then he raced his Yamaha (yellow that year for the last time) to his first title, the AMA 250 Motocross Championship. He also accepted the mission to ride for Team USA at the Motocross and Trophee des Nations, and they won both. Like all of those other 1980s guys who were called upon, RJ would never be on a losing version of Team USA.
"Too Hip" was a superstar during his era.
Thom Veety photo

It was in 1986 that Johnson really hit his stride. He joined Team Honda, alongside Bailey, O'Mara, and Dymond, and soon became both the AMA Supercross Champion as well as the 250 National MX Champion. He pulled up six points shy of the 500 title, as his teammate Bailey held him off. (Unfortunately, that was Bailey's last year in racing.)

In 1987 Johnson found himself at the top of everything alongside Jeff Ward of Team Kawasaki. He was seemingly on every magazine cover, the star of every race that was shown on TV, the man with the longest autograph line in the pits. He was trying new moves on the motorcycle, too, throwing his no-legged whips harder, doing hands-off tricks mid-race, and just basically having fun. But away from the track, Johnson was a workhorse. He swept both the 250 and 500 MX titles that year, though some mangled fingers late in supercross hurt his chances to sweep it all, and Jeff Ward retook the SX #1 plate.

RJ hoped for a repeat of both 250 and 500 titles and maybe even that triple crown in 1988, but this time his problem was in the 250 Nationals, where a breakdown at Lake Sugar Tree ruined his title bid. He made do with another SX crown and another 500 MX title.

At the start of the 1989 season, Johnson looked better than ever. After reeling off five wins to start AMA Supercross before losing in Atlanta, RJ rode into Gatorback Cycle Park in Florida as everyone's favorite to run away with it all … but he didn't even make it out of practice. Johnson tangled with Honda support rider Danny Storbeck on top of one of the ledge jumps, Storbeck coming down of RJ's arm and snapping the navicular bone in his wrist. Back then, it wasn’t an injury doctors were used to dealing with. Try as he might, Johnson never got back to his full speed. He did win some races, like the '89 Unadilla 250 GP over Jean-Michel Bayle, the 1990 Gatorback outdoor national opener, and finally the season-ending Unadilla 500 National. But that right wrist kept locking, and Johnson had little choice but to stop racing—if he couldn't win, he just wasn't interested.
A wrist injury would cut Johnson's career short.
Thom Veety photo

By the time he did quit, a generation of kids had learned much from him and the men he battled. Bailey, Glover, Lechien, Ward, O'Mara—they were all influential, but Johnson had it all: the versatility, the work ethic, the style, the PR savvy, the aggressiveness. He was the main model for today’s professional motocross rider. For that, plus all those wins and titles, he’s ranked #3 on our Monster Energy 30 Greatest AMA Motocrossers list.

#4 - Jeff Ward

#5 - James Stewart

#6 - Broc Glover

#7 - Jeff Stanton

#8 - Mike Kiedrowski

#9 - Ryan VIllopoto

#10 - Ryan Dungey

#11 - Jeff Emig

#12 - Kent Howerton

#13 - David Bailey

#14 - Mark Barnett

#15 - Doug Henry

#16 - Marty Smith

#17 - Mike LaRocco

#18 - Jeremy McGrath

#19 - Ron Lechien

#20 - Jean-Michel Bayle

#21 - Tony DiStefano

#22 - Steve Lamson

#23 - Jimmy Weinert

#24 - Chad Reed

#25 - Brad Lackey

#26 - Gary Jones

#27 - Pierre Karsmakers

#28 - Kevin Windham

#29 - Grant Langston

#30 - Johnny O'Mara

Thursday, May 16, 2013

RACERX - 30 GREATEST AMA MOTOCROSSERS: #4 JEFF WARD


Jeff Ward was always destined for greatness. He made his entry into motorcycle racing lore on the biggest stage of all at the time, the film On Any Sunday, where he rode a seemingly endless wheelie for Bruce Brown’s cameras. He was just a kid then, but it was obvious that he was something special. By then, “The Flying Freckle” was a terror on the West Coast minicycle circuits, battling the likes of fellow can't-miss kids Brian Myerscough, A.J. Whiting, Jim Holley, “Flying” Mike Brown, and more. A full factory Honda XR75 rider, he was featured often on the cover of Minicycle Action magazine. The battles he and Myerscough in particular had at events like Saddleback Park’s World Mini GP were the stuff of legend. But it's what he would do as a professional over a long and triumphant career that would land him at #4 on our Monster Energy 30 Greatest AMA Motocrossers list.

Possibly due to his stature, success took some time when Ward turned pro. He rode a Suzuki in his first races, then seemed to have a deal signed with Team Honda before Kawasaki turned up at the bargaining table with a solid offer. Ward took it, and he would stay green throughout his pro motocross career.
After a stint with Suzuki, Ward signed with Kawasaki and remained there for the rest of his career.
Dick Miller Archives photo

He raced with the giants, too, from Hannah to Jeff Stanton, along with David Bailey, Broc Gover, Johnny O'Mara, Mark Barnett, Ron Lechien, Rick Johnson, Mike Kiedrowski, and Jean-Michel Bayle. The nine of those men, plus Wardy himself, make up one-third of the riders on this list.

His first real pro rivalry bloomed with fellow Californian O'Mara, as the two went after three-time 125 National Champ Mark Barnett in 1983. In a four-way tilt that included young Ronnie Lechien, O'Mara would end up on top for his one and only outdoor championship.

Ward would have to wait until the next year to avenge himself against Johnny, winning the lion's share of the 125 Nationals, often in a split decision; O'Mara often took the first moto on his sleek Honda, and Wardy would rebound the second time out. It was more than enough to earn his first major title, and Ward would back it up next year by taking the AMA Supercross title from O'Mara and beating him out for the 250 Motocross title as well, taking five of ten wins in a series that included Johnson and Bob “Hurricane” Hannah.

In 1986 a huge change was made on the AMA circuit: The “production rule” went into effect, getting rid of the works bikes that were driving up the costs of racing. (It also ended one of the coolest eras for race fans here.) But there were still races to race, and Ward, the defending SX and MX champ, did not have a great season on his new production bike. He didn’t even qualify for the Anaheim '86 opener, which really set the tone for the season that Honda riders David Bailey and Rick Johnson would dominate. Ward would finish fourth in the 250 MX series behind RJ, Bailey, and O'Mara, and then third in the 500 class behind Bailey and Johnson.
Ward (1) was the first rider in history to win a title in all three major divisions as well as a supercross title.
Thom Veety photo

Wardy got even with a great run through the '87 supercross series, earning his second #1 plate there. But he came up short in his bid to regain that #1 plate in the 250 class, as RJ once again had his number. But in '88, Ward again got even, sticking his Kawasaki up front and keeping it there for another 250 MX title.

In 1989, Ward became the first rider in AMA Motocross history to have won a title in all three major divisions as well as AMA Supercross when he topped rising star Jeff Stanton for the 1989 500cc National Motocross Championship (and he only finished 16 points off Stanton’s winning total in the 250 class). Ward and Mike Kiedrowski are the only riders with titles in all three AMA Motocross classes, and Ward’s 250 SX titles make him the only rider ever to win a championship in every major division. In 1990, with Johnson still suffering a wrist injury, Stanton again barely beat Ward out for the 250 title, but Ward again got the better of Stanton for another 500 title—his fifth in AMA Motocross.

His amazing career would finally come to an end in 1992, with Wardy—still a Kawasaki factory rider—winning his second-to-last outdoor national with a win at Steel City.
Ward collected five titles during his career.
Thom Veety photo

His SX success and two titles aside, Jeff Ward would spread his outdoor wins across three classes like this: 11 (125cc), 13 (250cc), 12 (500cc). That's the most diverse winning record in motocross, showing that he just might have been the best all-around rider of all time.

It should be noted that Ward's diverse talents also paid off in the annual Motocross and Trophee des Nations. He stepped up and rode for his country every time he was called, and he never lost, riding at one point or another in the 125, 250, and 500 classes. Those races don’t technically count in these rankings—we will save a greatest-ever Team USA list for this fall—but it does add to his star power and his reputation as a competitor who was unafraid of anyone, on any bike.


#5 - James Stewart

#6 - Broc Glover

#7 - Jeff Stanton

#8 - Mike Kiedrowski

#9 - Ryan VIllopoto

#10 - Ryan Dungey

#11 - Jeff Emig

#12 - Kent Howerton

#13 - David Bailey

#14 - Mark Barnett

#15 - Doug Henry

#16 - Marty Smith

#17 - Mike LaRocco

#18 - Jeremy McGrath

#19 - Ron Lechien

#20 - Jean-Michel Bayle

#21 - Tony DiStefano

#22 - Steve Lamson

#23 - Jimmy Weinert

#24 - Chad Reed

#25 - Brad Lackey

#26 - Gary Jones

#27 - Pierre Karsmakers

#28 - Kevin Windham

#29 - Grant Langston

#30 - Johnny O'Mara

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Isle of Man Motorcycle Race...


 This is an Isle of Man camera video done really well. It lasts about five minutes.
Keep in mind that this is the last true motorcycle road race in the world.
Each lap is 37.75 miles long with over 200 turns.
And the record for a single lap is over 130 MPH. There are straight sections where the bikes hit over 200 MPH.
It Is hard to imagine such riding speeds but they do it every year at the end of May and have been doing so since 1907.

There have been over 240 rider fatalities in the history of the event but it is bigger than ever today.
Two riders were killed during the 2012 events.
The helmet cam video over the last minute or so of the clip is breathtaking.

This event makes car racers look like a bunch of sissies. Even Sir Jackie Stewart is amazed by what he is seeing in the video. BTW, former Formula One World Champion John Surtees won this event before he switched from motorcycles to race cars.

Here's the video, Talley Ho lads:  ://vimeo.com/53551115 

RACERX - 30 GREATEST AMA MOTOCROSSERS: #5 JAMES STEWART


James Stewart. Writing the name alone just sent someone to the comments section to start a bonfire. Doesn't matter to them that he's won more outdoor nationals than anyone in the history of AMA Motocross except for Ricky Carmichael. Nor does it matter that he once had a perfect season, going 24-0 in the 450 Class. Nor does it matter that he won 28 times in the 31 125cc Nationals he raced, which was better than Carmichael, Mark Barnett, Steve Lamson or anyone else. Nor does it matter that he was the innovator of a game-changing jumping technique that is now mandatory, both indoors and outdoors. Nor does it matter that a group of journalists and motocross enthusiasts have listed him at #5 on their Monster Energy 30 Greatest AMA Motocrossers list...

What matters to many is the fact that they are finally seeing that name—James Stewart—and he's the most polarizing professional racer in the history of our sport. He's also been dubbed “the fastest man on the planet,” and more often than not for good reason. He's been dominant, but he's also been inconsistent, fragile and even just absent—his three years of riding SX-only added depth to the dislike some have had for him, a special criticism that mostly missed other SX-only riders like Jeremy McGrath, Mike LaRocco and Kevin Windham.
James Stewart ranks second on the all-time wins list.
Simon Cudby photo

Everyone seems to look at Stewart through a different prism, including himself. He learned early on how to deflect questions about his color, smiling and saying, “We all look the same with our helmets on.” But it wasn't the same for him, helmet on or off, and the unique scrutiny he has come under over the years is unrivaled in motocross. Even when he's complimented by a journalist or labeled one of the greatest riders of all time, which we are doing right now, sooner or later someone will say “you're just being politically correct” or “he's the media darling.” No one as ridiculously fast as James Stewart has ever been ridiculed so quickly in this sport. It's okay to root against anyone, but so many who root against James Stewart do it with unique vigor.

Of course there were things that Stewart did along the way that did not help ease the waters. He starred in his own reality show, a polarizing move whether you're a rising sports star, or a celebrity that thinks he or she can dance, you're the bachelor or bachelorette, or just some tanning-bed bimbos in New Jersey. While he was showing off his exotic cars and beautiful ranch, moto enthusiasts just wanted him back at the races.

He made it look so easy and fun, at least early on. Stewart started winning almost immediately when he turned pro, and his charisma and enthusiasm was palpable. His huge smile and funny dances that were part of the “Bubbalicious” years made him seem like the heir-apparent in showmanship to Jeremy McGrath, but to become that, he first had to move up and beat the man between him and McGrath, Ricky Carmichael—something not so easily done, as the world would find out.
Stewart has won three titles during his career.
Simon Cudby photo

In hindsight, Stewart's early dominance on a 125 proved in some ways to be his achilles heel when he moved up. In his three years in the tiddler class he raced 31 outdoor nationals and won 28 of them—he DNF'd twice in '02 (twisted his knee in one race and an engine blew at another) and a crash off the start at RedBud in '04 cost him a perfect season. Yet when he moved up to challenge Carmichael in 2005, he didn't seem to have the ability to settle for anything less than winning. That in turn led to a highlight reel worth of spectacular crashes, especially outdoors, as he pushed his KX250 to the limit in trying to stay with Carmichael's RM-Z450. He didn't win a race in a summer that ended early.

The crashing problem stayed with Stewart even on the 450 through 2006, though he did take three wins of the 12 nationals that season—something no one else did against Carmichael on big bikes.

Stewart's last outdoor races against Carmichael were frustrating for him. In the five times they raced together in 2007, they seemed almost evenly matched in speed and fitness, often splitting moto wins, but Ricky took the overall every time. And when the GOAT took his leave, and Stewart inherited what appeared to be a straight shot at the title, he crashed himself out of Unadilla in practice, and then wrenched his knee at Washougal and his season was over.

The summer of 2008 was Stewart's masterpiece on the 450 outdoors, but by that point the damage done by the losses to Carmichael seemed to not only harden Stewart's resolve, it seemed to make him a bigger target. There were some ugly moments along the way to the top, where haters threw out curses and middle fingers at the man, especially at outdoor races. He got through it all, but I personally believe that it was some of that experience that led him to take a different career route.

Stewart left Kawasaki and his 450 Motocross Championship, he rode for an SX-only team for awhile, just like McGrath and Chad Reed did, and the one time he showed up for an outdoor race during that period—Unadilla 2010—he didn't look the same as the guy who ran the table just two summers earlier. He pulled out, stepped into his motorhome and started looking ahead to supercross. Fans hoping for more were bummed.

When James left the San Manuel Yamaha team for JGR Yamaha at the start of 2012, he planned on racing outdoors again, only to never seem to get comfortable with their bike. He showed flashes of his old brilliance in supercross, but also of his fragility. After a few more epic crashes, he decided it was time for another change. He was released from his contract and signed on with Yoshimura Suzuki, making his debut on a yellow bike last May. He won the first four motos of the 450 Class, with Ryan Dungey breathing down his neck the whole time. Then while leading the third round at Thunder Valley, a photographer crossed the track in front of him at the landing of a downhill jump, and the surprise seemed to get Stewart out of rhythm and off his line. He crashed, injuring his wrist and ending his day, not to mention his points lead. Somehow, in some corners, it was all his fault.

So here we are, more than a decade into James Stewart's professional motocross career. He hasn’t won as many races as many expected of him, though he's won more than anyone else except for one man. His winning percentage is not as great as some might have guessed it would be, but it's still far greater than anyone but Carmichael's. (RC won 102 outdoor nationals in 127 starts, which is a winning clip of 80%, while Stewart has won 46 nationals in 72 starts, which is a 64% average. No one else is even at 40%.) And he doesn't get the “fastest man on the planet” label like he used to, but he's still expected to win often.

Stewart will always be measured against uniquely high standards. He was judged almost immediately not against those he had to race, but against the records set by the two of the greatest champions the sport has produced—McGrath and Carmichael. The expectations and the pressures must be epic. Figuring out where to place him on this list wasn't easy either. But that name—James Stewart—belongs here among the greatest of all time, based on his records, his sheer speed and his obvious innovations. We rank James Stewart #5 on our Monster Energy 30 Greatest AMA Motocrossers list, based on what he did, not what he could have done.
Stewart returned to the Nationals last season with Suzuki, and won the first four motos before suffering an injury at Thunder Valley.
Simon Cudby photo

#6 - Broc Glover

#7 - Jeff Stanton

#8 - Mike Kiedrowski

#9 - Ryan VIllopoto

#10 - Ryan Dungey

#11 - Jeff Emig

#12 - Kent Howerton

#13 - David Bailey

#14 - Mark Barnett

#15 - Doug Henry

#16 - Marty Smith

#17 - Mike LaRocco

#18 - Jeremy McGrath

#19 - Ron Lechien

#20 - Jean-Michel Bayle

#21 - Tony DiStefano

#22 - Steve Lamson

#23 - Jimmy Weinert

#24 - Chad Reed

#25 - Brad Lackey

#26 - Gary Jones

#27 - Pierre Karsmakers

#28 - Kevin Windham

#29 - Grant Langston

#30 - Johnny O'Mara

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

RACERX - 30 GREATEST AMA MOTOCROSSERS: #6 BROC GLOVER


The mountain gets steeper as we race to the summit of this Monster Energy 30 Greatest AMA Motocrossers—the names get bigger, the legends taller and more difficult to compare. All of the men in the top ten of this list—or really anywhere on this list—could win races against the very best in the world, on their best days.

Broc Glover is no exception, and he proved it time and again. Glover was a charter member of the El Cajon Zone, a neighborhood that probably produced more great motocross racers than any other, and he was dubbed “The Golden Boy” because of his blond hair and his extraordinary talents. From 1976 through 1988, he was a constant force in American motocross, and he earned six AMA Motocross Championships, second-most in the record books. He earned thirty-five outdoor wins, all of them on Yamaha, where he held station as a factory rider from 1977 through '88, marking one of the longest tenures of all. And he straddled two great decades of riders: the late seventies with men like Bob Hannah, Marty Smith, Danny LaPorte, Jimmy Weinert, Gaylon Mosier, Kent Howerton, and Steve Wise, well into the eighties, where he raced against the younger Mark Barnett, Rick Johnson, Jeff Ward, Ron Lechien, Johnny O'Mara, and his great rival David Bailey.

Glover was a precise racer whose technique and style seemed a little ahead of its time. He first got noticed riding DG Hondas in California high-school motocross races, then the '76 125 National circuit, where he was top-ten in every round and finished second to LaPorte in the finale.
Glover was dubbed “The Golden Boy” because of his blond hair.
Racer X Archives photo

His path would cross LaPorte's again in 1977. Glover was picked up by Yamaha to ride in support of defending champion Bob Hannah, but when Hannah suffered a disastrous start to the season at Hangtown—the Hurricane only finished twenty-fourth—Glover was suddenly thrust forward as the team's best hope against Danny LaPorte, Suzuki's 125cc ace. It went to the final race, the final moto, the final lap: Hannah was ahead in the race, but Yamaha knew that Glover would win the title if he were to pass his teammate. So Yamaha ordered Bob's mechanic, Keith McCarty, to hold out the now notorious sign: “Let Brock Bye.” Hannah did, Glover won the race and tied LaPorte on points at 240 each, then was awarded the title on a tie-breaker because he had two wins to LaPorte's one...

That was only the beginning for Glover, and he was bound and determined to put the controversial race behind him. He dominated in 1978, successfully defending the title with 110 points to spare over the late Gaylon Mosier, then he repeated in '79, this time with 70 points to spare on Barnett.

It was a different story for Glover and Barnett in 1980—this time it was better for the Bomber. Barnett beat Broc by nine points, ending his 125cc reign at a three-year run.

For 1981 Yamaha decided to move Glover from the 125 class all the way up to 500s, as his teammate Hannah was coming back from a leg injury that cost him the entire 1980 season. Glover took the assignment and won the title going away from his teammate Mike Bell and defending champ Chuck Sun. He also added that fall's Trans-USA title, winning four of the five races on that soon-to-be-gone series.
Gloves won six titles during the span of his career.
Racer X Archives photo

In 1982 Yamaha placed Glover in the 250 class, rather than have him defend the 500 title, and he came within six points of winning the championship—though his efforts were overshadowed by his younger teammate Ricky Johnson's broken wheel in the last race in Colorado, which Glover won. If not for a fourteenth-place finish on his own bad day at Southwick two rounds earlier, Glover might have had a 250 title too.
Glover moved back up to the 500 class in '83—you could only ride one of three classes at the time—and returned to the top over the veteran Howerton (now on a Kawasaki) and the wild man Danny “Magoo” Chandler. His future competition—his defining rivalry—was taking shape in the 250 class, where David Bailey won his first title for Honda. Bailey would get the 500cc assignment from Honda, with an exquisite works bike to challenge Glover. David took it to him, winning the first eight races while Glover, frustrated on a bike that Yamaha had quit developing, finished second every time but once. Broc would win the last two rounds, but his #1 plate was gone.

The best and worst year of Glover's career came in 1985. He barely lost what would have been his one and only AMA Supercross title to Jeff Ward by two points, the matter made worse by a controversial decision by the AMA not to penalize Wardy when he rode backward on the track at the last round after a crash. But outdoors, Glover avenged himself on that same old Yamaha YZ490, beating Bailey in five of the first eight rounds to take the #1 plate off David's hands! (In a strange side note, Glover clinched the title with two rounds to go, then missed the last two races anyway with a cracked collarbone. For his part, Bailey would jump on a 250 for the very last round in order to help teammate Johnny O'Mara in his title battle with Jeff Ward, leaving the last win of the depleted championship at Washougal to local hero and Yamaha Support rider Eric Eaton.)

In 1986 Yamaha finally moved Glover, now a six-time champion, to the 250 class, and he started out the series with a pair of third-place finishes before a devastating knee injury ended his season. He would suffer a wrist injury the following season; by 1988 he and Yamaha were very much at odds and it was time to move on.

Glover would end his AMA career atop the podium, winning the season-ending Los Angeles Supercross. He would race in Europe the following year on a KTM, but then it was time to call it a career.
Of Glover's six titles, none came in the 250 class.
Racer X Archives photo

So how does Glover, with six titles, only rank sixth here? Half of Glover's titles came in the 500 class, which even back then had lost its luster as the premier class. Beating David Bailey in 1985 was a huge accomplishment, but beyond those two, the rest of the stars were in other classes—primarily the 250 class, where Glover only won two races during his long career. His race craft was exceptional, even on older equipment like that 490, which he somehow made work. He simply didn't get enough of a chance in the 250 class outdoors to show that he was the very best of the seventies or the eighties, but he was damn close anyways—and he will always be the Golden Boy. He's also #6 on our list of Monster Energy's 30 Greatest AMA Motocrossers of all time. The men listed before him are a testament to what an incredible talent he was on any size motorcycle.

#7 - Jeff Stanton

#8 - Mike Kiedrowski

#9 - Ryan VIllopoto

#10 - Ryan Dungey

#11 - Jeff Emig

#12 - Kent Howerton

#13 - David Bailey

#14 - Mark Barnett

#15 - Doug Henry

#16 - Marty Smith

#17 - Mike LaRocco

#18 - Jeremy McGrath

#19 - Ron Lechien

#20 - Jean-Michel Bayle

#21 - Tony DiStefano

#22 - Steve Lamson

#23 - Jimmy Weinert

#24 - Chad Reed

#25 - Brad Lackey

#26 - Gary Jones

#27 - Pierre Karsmakers

#28 - Kevin Windham

#29 - Grant Langston

#30 - Johnny O'Mara

Monday, May 13, 2013

RACERX - 30 GREATEST AMA MOTOCROSSERS: #7 JEFF STANTON


When anyone called on Jeff Stanton, he came through every time. He was a throwback athlete from a seemingly different era, the last top U.S. rider we can think of who skipped the stepping stone that is the 125 class (then Lites, now 250) and went straight into the fray of the premier class. Never a minicycle star or amateur prodigy, the big kid from Michigan became an American motocross hero, stepping up when it was his time. Jeff Stanton is #7 on Monster Energy's 30 Greatest AMA Motocrossers list.

People often forget that Stanton spent years with Yamaha. He came up through the ranks as a member of the fabled Team Dynamic program, a shop program that rivaled Team Green for years. Stanton was off minicycles and riding bike bikes—his first race at Loretta Lynn's actually came in the 100cc class in 1983, and he beat three guys for the title you may have heard of: Donny Schmit, Fred Andrews and Barry Carsten.
Stanton joined Honda in 1989 after beginning his career with Yamaha.
Paul Buckley photo

Stanton graduated from amateur motocross in 1986, and by then he was racing 250s and 500s exclusively, even though the 125cc class was up and running in supercross. Yamaha plugged him right into their pro team in the fall of '86, and he raced one time: the Washougal 500 National, where he finished seventh. That earned him #56 as his first pro digit in 1987, and his results were good enough in his rookie year to earn #8 for 1988.

This was a time where American motocross was dominated by superstars like Rick Johnson, Jeff Ward and Ron Lechien, with veterans like Broc Glover, Bob Hannah and Johnny O'Mara still in the mix. Stanton lacked the flash and (seemingly) the natural talent of such athletes, so it was a surprise that Honda's Roger DeCoster and Dave Arnold decided to hire Stanton for the 1989 season as Johnson's understudy, even though Stanton had yet to win a professional race.

The Honda brass looked like geniuses when Johnson, the runaway leader in supercross, snapped his wrist at the outdoor opener in Gainesville, Florida, and Stanton was forced to step up. By the time the season was over, he was not only the new AMA Supercross Champion, he was also the 250 National Motocross Champion, and the leader of Team USA at the Motocross des Nations. He even won the one 125cc race he entered as a professional—the 125 Support class at the Unadilla 250cc U.S. Grand Prix—just to show DeCoster that he could ride a 125 if RJ came back by September and wanted to race.
Stanton was one of the last riders to jump directly to the premier class.
Thom Veety photo

Many expected Johnson to fully return in 1990, or for the incoming Jean-Michel Bayle, or even Yamaha sensation Damon Bradshaw to be the man, but Stanton again hunkered down and came through, successfully defending both his supercross and 250 MX titles. He also won the U.S. GP at Unadilla (the first of three straight) and the Motocross of Nations. But for the second year in a row he came up short in the 500 class—the class many thought Stanton would have the most success in, given his upbringing as a big-bike rider. His undoing this time was a concussion in the second moto at Steel City, which cost him 25 points in his battle with Wardy, whom would take the title by 19 points.

The 1991 season was a tough year for Stanton. He lost his SX title to his fierce rival/distant teammate Bayle, plus his 250 Motocross crown—although he won four rounds to zero for JMB, washing out at the muddy Hangtown race and finishing 16th at Kenworthy's. Adding insult to injury, Bayle also beat him in the 500 class, as did Jeff Ward.

In 1992 Stanton would return to form and to the top of the rankings, both outdoors and indoors. After taking back his #1 plate in supercross after a crazy last round at the Los Angeles Coliseum, Stanton also took his 250 title back, but then ended up losing the 500cc title for the fourth straight year, this time by three points to Mike Kiedrowski, #8 on our list.
Stanton (7) raced during a time with some of the greatest riders in history.
Thom Veety photo

1992 did mark what Stanton would later call the biggest regret of his career: In the midst of the 500 title chase, he passed on the chance to once again lead Team USA at the Motocross des Nations, which was down under in Australia in 1992, citing the brutal SX duel he had been through with Bradshaw. He would not get another chance to ride for his country.

In 1993 Stanton was caught off guard by Jeremy McGrath (not to mention the rest of the world). McGrath truly changed the game of supercross, and Stanton was not able to hold his young teammate back. He also seemed to go into a period of over-training, and it affected his outdoor results. But he would still finish second in the 500 Nationals—for the fourth time—this time just nine points behind Mike LaRocco. It was his last chance too, as the AMA scrapped the 500 class after the 1993 season.

The end came quietly for Stanton. After crashing hard at the 1994 Hangtown National and DNF'ing with a concussion, Stanton decided his time was almost up. He waited until his home race of RedBud to announce his retirement, and then rode out a Hall of Fame career. His last professional race was the season-ending 250 National at Steel City, where he finished sixth.

Stanton's three titles and 20 national wins may seem modest compared to some of the riders who have already been listed here, but he made his marks in a relatively short time frame—all of his national wins came between 1989 and '92, and all were on 250s or 500s—in a time when the competition was incredibly deep. Stanton raced in the middle of a great confluence of talent—from Hannah, to McGrath, with RJ, Wardy, Lechien, O’Mara, JMB, Kiedrowski, LaRocco and Bradshaw thrown in—and came out a Hall of Famer. His record is good for #7 on the Monster Energy 30 Greatest AMA Motocrossers list.



#8 - Mike Kiedrowski

#9 - Ryan VIllopoto

#10 - Ryan Dungey

#11 - Jeff Emig

#12 - Kent Howerton

#13 - David Bailey

#14 - Mark Barnett

#15 - Doug Henry

#16 - Marty Smith

#17 - Mike LaRocco

#18 - Jeremy McGrath

#19 - Ron Lechien

#20 - Jean-Michel Bayle

#21 - Tony DiStefano

#22 - Steve Lamson

#23 - Jimmy Weinert

#24 - Chad Reed

#25 - Brad Lackey

#26 - Gary Jones

#27 - Pierre Karsmakers

#28 - Kevin Windham

#29 - Grant Langston

#30 - Johnny O'Mara