A game-changing day at Gatorback Cycle Park in Gainesville, Florida. Team Kawasaki's Jeff Emig topped Suzuki's Jeremy McGrath in both motos to win the 250 National, but the bigger story was the arrival of Ricky Carmichael, the 17-year-old Pro Circuit Kawasaki rookie who won the first outdoor national of his career on the #70 Kawasaki KX125. After trailing defending two-time champion Steve Lamson in the first moto, Carmichael cleared out from the start in the second moto, giving everyone a glimpse of what the next ten years of AMA Motocross would look like.
But there is an even bigger story: finishing eighth overall aboard a Yamaha prototype YZ400F four-stroke was Doug Henry, who had been assigned to ride the thumper for the outdoors. Henry acquitted himself well on the big, heavy and loud four-stroke, going 11-6 in the motos. It's the beginning of the four-stroke revolution. Check out the video below and David Bailey riffs on the four-stroke a bit around the six-minute mark:
The AMA Pro Motocross Championship starts off at Gatorback Cycle Park, and it marks the first outdoor national that will be run under the AMA's new Production Rule, which basically marked the end of works motorcycles and, it was hoped, Honda's dominance. It did not. Team Honda's Rick Johnson went 1-1 to get the first 250 win of the series, leading Honda to put out this advertisement touting their production bike:
Johnson is followed by four riders that will eventually go into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame just as he did: Jeff Ward, Broc Glover, David Bailey, and Johnny O'Mara, the last two of which were also on Honda CR250s.
In the 125 class Suzuki's George Holland got the Gatorback win for the second year in a row, this time over his teammate Erik Kehoe and Yamaha's Keith Bowen. Finishing fourth was the man Honda hired to defend the title that Ron Lechien won the previous summer, Micky Dymond.
Gary Bailey shot some footage from that day that you can watch here:
MXGP begins in the tiny desert kingdom of Qatar and Kawasaki's Gautier Paulin was the overall winner in MXGP, with Tony Cairoli second aboard a KTM. In the MX2 class Jeffrey Herlings took the overall win, as expected, but he was beaten in the first moto by Dylan Ferrandis, which was something of a surprise.
Husqvarna's Ed Lojak, a future AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, topped the AMA National Hare Scrambles in Gainesville, Florida, beating Can-Am factory rider John Martin, the father of current top racers Alex and Jeremy Martin.
At the Daytona Amateur Supercross, held on the Tuesday before the actual Daytona Supercross by Honda, Yamaha Support rider Mike LaRocco of Indiana won the 125 A and 250 A classes. Other names you might recognize in the results included Ezra Lusk, Timmy Ferry, and Damon Bradshaw.
Champions-to-be Ryan Villopoto and Wil Hahn won their respective classes at the St. Louis Supercross. Monster Energy Kawasaki's Villopoto, about to start a five-race winning streak, topped three former champions to win: Suzuki-mounted James Stewart, Honda-mounted Chad Reed, and KTM-mounted Ryan Dungey.
For his part Hahn will used his GEICO Honda to beat former AMA 250 Motocross Champion Dean Wilson, Suzuki-mounted Blake Wharton, former two-time MX2 World Champion Marvin Musquin, and future two-time 250 Pro Motocross Champion Jeremy Martin.