We heard some happy fans over the weekend. In Australia and Europe, natives jetted off with the victories. Chad Reed won the AUS-X Open in Sydney, Australia, and Marvin Musquin won the Bercy-Lille Supercross outside of Paris, France. Check out some highlight videos of these events to hear how the fans felt. When Reed passed Ryan Villopoto for the lead on Sunday, the place exploded.
(By the way, how weird is it to read: “Passed Ryan Villopoto for the lead on Sunday?” Villopoto was just racing again, a few days ago!)
So, what are some other big home wins? Here’s The List with some supercross victories of the local kind. We’re leaving motocross victories out of this because those are true home track victories, at facilities riders competed on as kids (perhaps you’ve heard that the Martin boys have spun some laps at Millville?).
It’s not like Reed was racing in Qudos Bank Arena as a child, nor was the Musquin family pitting in Lille every weekend growing up. No doubt, these wins were powered by home fans instead of home track knowledge. When you scan The List below, you’ll realize how much power those cheers can have.
Win in Min
Ryan Dungey has won a lot at Spring Creek in Millville, Minnesota, (two 250 National wins and four 450 National wins) but he’s only had two shots to win a supercross race at home. The Minneapolis Metrodome has bounced on and off the SX schedule through the years (oddly, the place used to go bonkers for Jeremy McGrath—possibly even more than Anaheim did—back in the King’s heyday) but only landed on it twice in Dungey’s time. His first shot at a win came in 2008 when he stepped up to the 450 class while racing a 250 in the West. Dungey would grab holeshot in front of the hometown crown, but would finish second to Josh Hill. His second chance came in 2013, and everyone knew the stadium wasn’t coming back to the schedule for 2014. For Dungey, it was now or never to get the win in front of the home fans, and he took Ryan Villopoto down in a straight-up thriller to get it. The city is back on the schedule for ’17, but in a new building, as the Metrodome is now gone. God Bless Kirby Puckett.
The other Ryan had his home SX for a while, with Ryan Villopoto getting an annual trek to Seattle’s CenturyLink Field. The event paid immediate dividends for him, as RV took his first-ever 450SX win in his home-state in 2009. A Washington super fan that we know actually cried that night, and is now forever known as The Cryer. We doubt RV got that emotional about it, but he was surely pumped. Urban City Coffee for everyone!
Big Bird’s Nest
Villopoto’s Seattle win was good, but Larry Ward’s crazy victories there seemed to have more impact. RV won all the time, everywhere, but Big Bird, for some reason, just came to life for his home race. His win as a premiere class rookie in 1990 (at the old Kingdome) was bonkers. It probably helped that he and Jeff Matiasevich got into a ram-fest while battling for the lead, but overall this was a shocker, so much so that the Cycle News cover had to explain that it was Larry, and not Jeff, Ward that took the win. Go watch the YouTube video and listen to the fans and watch this action!
Maybe even crazier is that, a whopping nine years later, the Kingdome was set to be demolished, so the 1999 event was going to be the last supercross in the building. Ward came back to win it again! We’ve said this before, we’ll say it again: Larry Ward’s career will never be duplicated.
Also in 1990, Charlotte, North Carolina, joined the Camel Supercross schedule. Charlotte’s own Damon Bradshaw was the fan favorite, as he, like Ward, a 250SX rookie, delivered with a win. Charlotte’s Memorial Coliseum wasn’t very large but the crowd got loud that night.
El Cajon Zone
Ah, El Cajon, California, was, for a time, the most famous town in motocross, with factory riders Broc Glover, Rick Johnson, Ron Lechien, and Scott Burnworth all hailing from the “Zone.”
San Diego is right next to El Cajon, which made the SDSX the place to be for the riders from that area. Glover won the 1981 race, then he won again in 1982 and Johnson finished second! Later, Johnson won four-straight, in 1986, 1987, 1988 (which was a race that didn’t count for AMA points, but featured all the factories) and 1989. Back then, the stadium (now known as Qualcomm Stadium, but set to be closed shortly) was known as Jack Murphy Stadium, or “The Murph.” But to SX fans, it was “The Broc” or the “The Rick.”
James Stewart is from Haines City, Florida, which is only a few minutes from Orlando. James made what could be considered his real 250SX debut in Orlando in 2005 (the opener that year, in Anaheim, was a mudder, and then James got hurt in practice at round two. Orlando was his comeback race). He led for a while before a crash, and Chad Reed took the victory. Stew completely dominated in 2006. The next year, Ricky Carmichael’s part-time schedule made Orlando the final SX race of his career. RC wanted to go out a winner and gave James a heck of a run, but James came out on top.
Although Carmichael is a Floridian, Tallahassee is a good five hours from Orlando, so this was much more of a home race for Stewart.
Mike LaRocco, of Indiana, was loved and respected throughout his career, but even his most ardent supporters knew he was a terrible starter. Then, as if by a miracle, he pulled the holeshot at the 2004 Indianapolis Supercross, and series’ points leader Chad Reed was down early. The time was right for LaRocco, who was 33 years old at that point, to grab one more win, and do it in front of the home folks. They stood and cheered him through every lap, and he held on for a wire-to-wire win. Check out the YouTube clip above. Listen up for our man Davey Coombs in the announcer’s booth.
Bercy Part Un
Look, Jean-Michel Bayle is the ultimate French rider. Yes, there have been many greats, but JMB is a damned hero for kicking butt in the GPs (1988 125 World Champion, 1989 250 World Champion) and then saying his real goal was to conquer supercross in America. That was absolutely, positively not something European riders were considered capable of back then. Well, JMB could do anything, and yes, he could win in supercross. His first full season in the U.S. was 1990, and he won five races and came up just seven points short of the championship behind Jeff Stanton. Then he came to Bercy that fall and became the first Frenchman to snag King of Bercy honors. He backed it up in 1991, winning the AMA Supercross Championship and becoming King of Bercy again. After that, he started focusing on conquering road racing.
Because his winning was concentrated over such a short period, Bayle doesn’t get the credit he probably deserves, but just think about this: if he hadn’t busted through first, we might not have seen any of the foreign success stories that came next.
Bercy Part Deux
Here’s an example. Kids that were watching JMB prove it could be done then grew up to do it themselves. David Vuillemin became the all-time King of Bercy, with four triumphs, capable of even putting it to Jeremy McGrath when it came to racing on home soil. DV won in 1999, 2000, and 2001. Then the event turned into a 125/250F event for a few years, so Vuillemin decided to come back in 2003 on a YZ250F, a bike he had never really raced before, and won it again.
Bercy Part Trois
Christophe Pourcel became a sensation in 2006, winning the MX2 World Championship. Then he came to Bercy and showed he can ride supercross, too, taking the 2006 King of Bercy honors. A few months later he showed up at Anaheim and finished second in his first-ever U.S. Lites supercross, then won the next weekend in Phoenix. Oh CP, definitely something special….
That’s our List. Who else you got? Drop it into the comment section below.