time was in 1989. That was the year French sensation Jean-Michel Bayle set the
world upside down when he showed up in a box van at
JMB photo by jmb111.com
Nine years later, Jeremy McGrath showed up on the starting gate at the series-opening Glen Helen National fresh off of reclaiming his AMA Supercross title from Jeff Emig. McGrath was riding for Chaparral Yamaha, and he was anxious to get another national win after getting shut out all summer long in 1997 while he struggled with his Suzuki RM250. McGrath came out swinging, winning the first moto going away, but an ugly first lap the second time out left him with a 1-5, and he lost the tie-breaker to Suzuki-mounted Mickael Pichon’s 5-1.
Round 3 would be at High Point Raceway, and MC did not do so hot, finishing 4-6 for sixth overall at a track he never won a national on. He told Cycle News that day that maybe he was thinking about the short vacation that would follow Memorial Day Weekend a little too early. “I get all excited about the chance to finally take time off after racing almost continually since January. It just seems hard to concentrate here.”
Southwick would host Round 4, and McGrath, still the points leader, did not show. He told Cycle News that he had been secretly racing with a wrist injury since the Pontiac SX on April 4, and that he needed to take a break to have it finally fixed, then he would be back. But history has shown that McGrath did not come back, and from then on would employ a supercross-only contract. He would win the SX title two more times in 1999 and 2000 while riding Yamahas, but he would never race a complete outdoor series again. The next round winner at Southwick? Doug Henry on the Pete Steinbrecher-tuned YZ400F Yamaha. By the end of summer, Henry and his thumper would be wearing the #1 plate.