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LaRocco to Hang up Helmet After Las Vegas Race

AURORA, Ill. (March 2, 2006) – The culmination of an 19-year supercross/motocross career will unfold for Honda’s Mike LaRocco at Las Vegas’  Sam Boyd Saturday, May 6. Announced today during the pre-race press conference at Indianapolis’ RCA Dome, LaRocco stated, “I’ve had a long, great career in motocross and supercross, but it’s time to call it quits. Unless you are winning, it’s hard to keep racing.”

photo: Simon Cudby
He recently earned his 145th top-five finish, sits second on the all-time podium list with 81, and this weekend he will be racing in his 229th AMA Supercross race, a record that should stand for some time. This weekend LaRocco and his eight-year-old son Ryder will both be racing in their respective divisions under the RCA Dome. Ryder, an avid motocross racer, will be racing in the KTM Junior Supercross Challenge, a three-lap race on KTM’s KTM 50 SX Pro Senior LC mini-motorcycle, featuring 7-8 year old kids held during the intermission at Amp’d Mobile Supercross races.        

“Watching Ryder race this weekend is exciting for me as a father,” said Mike. “Although, having both of us race in one night is going to be tough, so I hired a mechanic for him because I will have a lot going on as well. He has been to so many supercross races and has watched the KTM race that I think he has all of the experience he needs.”

When asked who is going to have better results on Saturday night, Ryder said, “My dad is going to do all of my chores if I do better than him.”

LaRocco, 35, originally from South Bend, Ind., began his professional supercross/motocross career in 1988, when he finished in third place for the Eastern Regional AMA Supercross Series and seventh in 125cc Outdoor Motocross.

After learning the ropes in professional motocross racing during his first two years, the humble, soft-spoken LaRocco won his first AMA National Motocross race at Millville, Minn. The following year, he collected his first AMA Supercross win in Las Vegas for Tem Suzuki.

In 1992, he began a four-year stint with Team Kawasaki where his career went into overdrive. That year he captured four podiums in 250cc supercross and the first of his back-to-back victories in Orlando. A solid motocross season as well saw the then 22-year-old earning three 125cc motocross wins and a career best second place in the series. This year ended on a high note for LaRocco as he was a member of the championship-winning Motocross des Nations team.

He missed most of the 1993 supercross season with an injured wrist but managed to pick up the win in Orlando. Winning two of the four – now defunct – 500cc National Motocross events, LaRocco is that series’ last champion. This marked his first major AMA National Championship. Also a first, he won the San Bernardino, Calif., 250cc motocross race.

photo: Simon Cudby
A dominant 250cc motocross season highlighted the 1994 season. Winning seven of the 12 main events, LaRocco went on to win his first 250cc motocross championship, his second AMA National Championship. In supercross, he earned three wins and finished a career best second in 250cc supercross. He was named to his second U.S. Motocross des Nations team.

Eight podium finishes and three wins highlighted his 1995 250cc supercross season before taking to the sidelines with a broken arm suffered at Charlotte. He finished in the top five in 250cc motocross at five races, including a win at Unadilla. A season-ending knee injury at Millville ended 1995 for him.

Returning to Suzuki in 1996, he finished on the podium four times in 250cc supercross. He made six podium appearances in 250cc motocross and captured the win at Washougal, placing a career-best third overall.

In 1997 he finished in the top five at eight 250cc supercross races and only finished outside of the top 10 at two races, placing sixth overall. A consistent 250cc motocross season saw him finish outside the top 10 at two races and placed sixth on the season.

He stood atop the podium at the St. Louis 250cc supercross race and finished inside the top five at four additional stops in 1998 for Factory Connection Honda. Two podium finishes and seven top-five finishes capped off his 250cc motocross season.

A breakout year, 1999 marked his best season since 1994. Highlighting the banner season in supercross were seven podium finishes and two top-five finishes and placed third overall. Victorious at Unadilla for 250cc motocross, he earned five additional podium finishes, giving him third place overall. He also rode for his third U.S. Motocross des nations team.

In 2000, he went back-to-back with third place in the overall points standings for 250cc supercross, picking up seven podiums and finished outside the top five once all season. Four podium finishes and placing outside the top 10 just once in 250cc motocross earned him a fifth place overall. LaRocco also earned the FIM World Supercross Championship that season.

He bested his 2000 season in 2001 by earning eight podium finishes in 250cc supercross and finished third overall for the third consecutive season. He picked up five podium finishes in 250cc motocross and finished fourth overall.

He won his first 250cc supercross race in seven years in 2002 in Anaheim, Calif., and scored two additional podiums before getting sidelined with an injury for the remainder of the season. LaRocco brought home the coveted U.S. Open championship and the $100,000 check awarded to the winner. He earned four podium finishes in 250cc motocross.

Missing most of the 2003 250cc supercross season, he managed to score a second place finish in Anaheim. Finishing fifth overall in 250cc motocross, he earned one podium finish.

A milestone for his career was reached in 2004 when he won the 250cc supercross race at Indianapolis’ RCA Dome in front of 46,931 partisan Hoosiers and scored nine additional podium finishes before placing third overall for the fourth time in his career. LaRocco raced just a single 250cc motocross event that season, Red Bud, and finished sixth.

Last year he picked up four podium finishes in 250cc supercross and placed fifth overall. He did not race 250cc motocross.

In his final season, LaRocco proved that at age 35 he still has what it takes by earning three top-five finishes.


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