AURORA, Ill. (August 27, 2007) – The Rockstar Energy Drink U.S. Open announced today that former champions Damon Huffman (’98), Jeff Emig (’99) and Mike LaRocco (’02) will compete in an exhibition re-match race during this year’s event at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena October 12-14.
The three retired riders have begun training for the five-lap exhibition race and look forward to competing on the track where they made history. An exciting addition to this year’s Rockstar Energy Drink U.S. Open, the re-match pays tribute to these outstanding retired champions and gives fans a chance to be a part of history.
At the inaugural U.S. Open Huffman used a pair of second place finishes to win the overall and $100,000. Coming into the weekend the MGM Sports Book placed Huffman as a 20-1 favorite. Huffman regards his win the most satisfying of his career.
“I've had a long career and have had a lot of success, and was very lucky to do what I've loved to do for so long,” said Huffman. “I have ridden bikes since the age of four and raced professionally for fourteen years. I have won races in seven different countries, including two supercross championships, a World Supercross championship and the U.S. Open. It has been a great ride. I have had some awesome teammates and have ridden on some great teams.”
“The Rockstar Energy Drink U.S. Open is one of the year’s standout races,” said Huffman. “The race opens an opportunity for a rider to win a championship on that weekend.”
After announcing his retirement from professional racing in 2005, Huffman welcomes the opportunity to race in front of the packed MGM Grand Garden Arena.
“I have been riding and training at home to prepare for the race this year,” said Huffman. “I do not want to look sluggish in front of the huge crowd. I know that it’s a guaranteed podium finish, but I am not racing for second. I am going to be riding for the Rockstar Energy Drink Suzuki team on that weekend.”
Emig’s Cinderella Story victory at the 1999 U.S. Open was the last win of his career. Finishing 1-2 that weekend gave him the win and a night he will never forget.
“That was a very special win for me,” said Emig. “If anyone knows my story from back then, they know how important that race was to me. It was a sign that showed I was back on track. I got rid of some distractions and was ready to win races.”
Although Emig spent 11 years racing professionally, he still looks forward to competing in front of the packed arena.
“It’s still exciting to be on the floor of the arena and lining up for the race,” said Emig. “Of course the Jeff Emig of 1999 won’t be on the starting line this year. I am pretty rusty. Both Mike (LaRocco) and Damon’s (Huffman) career lasted a lot longer than mine, so they are probably a little more in tune with racing than I am. We are all competitive: That is the bottom line. When I race my motorcycle, it’s the only thing in the world that I am concerned with winning at. I want to win.”
When LaRocco upset two-time defending champion Ricky Carmichael in 2002 he finished 1-3. Looking back, LaRocco says winning the U.S. Open was not only the biggest pay-day of his career but also one of his most memorable races.
“It’s going to be fun to re-live that race,” said LaRocco. “It’s going to be a fun weekend, and I look forward to racing in a stress-free environment. All I have been doing lately is changing baby diapers.”
Known for his fitness, LaRocco isn’t concerned about the five lap challenge.
“It’s five laps, which is probably five minutes, so I am not too concerned about getting in shape,” he added. “I will start riding so I can jump all of the obstacles.”
More exciting announcements about the Rockstar Energy Drink U.S. Open will be made shortly. Stay tuned to www.ussx.com for more news and information.
Tickets are now available for the 10th annual Rockstar Energy Drink U.S. Open at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas October 12-14, 2007 at www.ussx.com, www.ticketmaster.com, by phone at 702-474-4000 or the MGM Grand Garden Arena box office. Regarded as one of off-road motorcycling’s premier races, the Rockstar Energy Drink U.S. Open is the final ‘major’ race of the motocross season. Tickets are available for as low as $20 through Ticketmaster.com. All tickets subject to 5% Las Vegas Entertainment tax.