He hit the ground, got a heat-race holeshot, did a half-nac, had fun, got tired, and gave event promoter Xavier Audouard a way-cool 25th anniversary helmet painted with all 25 event program covers. McGrath talked to us about what he’s doing these days, and how fast is it out there right now.
Racer X: Jeremy, first question before the real questions: Are you tired?
Jeremy McGrath: Yeah, I’m really tired. I think I rode maybe three times before I came here. When you ride a small track that’s really tight, yeah, it’s tiring.
It’s a new production bike from over here. We only brought suspension.
So it’s kind of like the old Bercy days? We thought you were done racing after you got hurt at your own race last year, and here you are. How did that happen?
I’m for sure done racing [supercross] in the States. I thought it would be a good time to come over here. It’s not so important for me now, especially not over here, to have great results. It’s like…whatever.
The nothing-left-to-prove thing?
Yeah. I’m kind of a novelty now, know what I mean? [Laughs]
Is this even old-school to you?
It never changes over here. The atmosphere is always really good. Saturday night in Bercy is always pretty live. Most important for me was to stay safe and try and mix it up on the start a little bit. You can get really tight and not ride loose. I just rode decent in the beginning of the races and kind of faded. I think if I had a month or so to ride and prepare, I would have been a lot stronger.
What is your assessment of guys like Langston and Reed, and how are they riding compared with the pace you’re used to from four years or so ago?
I think they’re riding must faster than I rode - 450s, the machines are so good. The speed evolves into something else. I never had that kind of speed. The turning speed, corner speed, the jumping speed. At some point, when I started, I was faster than everybody else. It doesn’t compare now. It has elevated a lot.
It was a quick trip. I have to go to Mexico for the Baja 1000. I’m driving a BC Challenge car. It’s like a spec buggy. There’s not really a lot of horsepower. They’re spec cars, and there are six athletes per car.
Are you going to win it?
Nah, we’re just doing it for fun.
So after this you’re going to be full time four-wheeled racer?
Next year I’m racing the full CORR off-road series. It’s the same one Rick Johnson is in. There are eight or nine races and they start in May.
Can you win those things?
Yeah, I think I can. I almost won one. Two races ago, I led nine laps out of 11. I think next year I get the A truck. It’s with Monster and Baldwin Racing. This year we were kind of in a rental, their spare truck. It’s kind of like a practice bike or something. Next year I get the good stuff. Yeah, I think I can win.