LaRocco spent his prime outdoor years going fast on Kawasakis.
Paul Buckley photo
In 1995 LaRocco was hoping for a successful title defense in the 250 class, only to suffer a broken arm, which he had plated so he could return early … only to be derailed again by a knee injury at Millville, one race after a win at Unadilla. LaRocco switched back to Suzuki, where he had some flashes of brilliance but was never quite as fast as before his injuries. He also never really figured out his starting difficulties, which certainly cost him wins throughout his career, both outdoors and indoors.
After his deal with Suzuki ran out, LaRocco made a gutsy decision: He signed on with Factory Connection to be an independent rider, albeit with some help from American Honda. He then put his career into overtime (mind you, he’d already been at it for more than a decade) and stayed fast for several years before making the decision to race supercross only in hopes of extending his time as a professional racer.
By the time he retired in 2006, LaRocco had racked up the third-most podiums in history in the 450 class with fifty-three, plus sixteen previous ones from the 125cc class.
LaRocco delivered plenty of podium finishes through his years on Hondas.
Simon Cudby photo
LaRocco is still very involved in the sport. In fact, he has two young riders under his watch on the GEICO Honda team who will be going for Monster Energy 250 Supercross Championships this weekend in Las Vegas in Wil Hahn and Eli Tomac. He's also the namesake of one of the most recognized obstacles in all of motocross, LaRocco's Leap at RedBud, his home track.
LaRocco's success over a large span of races and years, as well as his titles, wins and podiums, earn him the 17th spot on this list of Monster Energy's 30 Greatest AMA Motocrossers
Check out all of Mike LaRocco's results right here in the Racer X Vault:
From 1998, the early days of what we today know as team GEICO Honda.
Racer X Archives
(Racer X Contributors to this list: Davey Coombs, Jason Weigandt, Eric Johnson, Steve Matthes, Jason Thomas, Andrew Fredrickson, Chase Stallo and David Pingree)