Born on November the 19th, 1971 in San Francisco , Jeremy McGrath was destined to become the equivalent of Mick Doohan on the dirttrack.
Still considered by many “the King” of motocross and the greatest motocross talent of all time, (quite rightfully so) Jeremy McGrath seemed to be in posession of a talent that allowed him to dominate the whole field in a seemingly effortless manner, characteristic of great champions.
He was one of the few guys who could pull a race win even when the odds were all stacked against him.
He is still a record holder as far as 250 cc race wins are concerned, (he won a staggering 72 of those) in the 1993-2001 time-span, and scored 7 Championship wins.
He is also the holder of another record: the first ever (and only) rider to win a Supercross Championship in his rookie year of 1993. Sticking with the almighty team Honda for four years, he rewarded his fans with as many Championship titles.
In the 1996 season, not only did he manage to win the championship but he also set a record, which is not one bit short of breathtaking. He won 14 of the 15 main event races sheduled, utterly dominating all opposition.
When everybody thought this guys was unstoppable he made a move, all his critics thought would be his undoing. Because of a messy affair with Honda (not being able to come to terms on the 1997 contract) he moved on to Suzuki, one of the weakest teams in Supercross at the time, effectively giving up the support of the strongest team in motoX.
To simply state that he proved his critics wrong, would probably be the understatement of the century.
The following year (1997) proved to be something of a disappointment for Jeremy, though he only fell a few points short of winning the championship, on the underrated Suzuki.
This whole Suzuki move is eerily reminescent of the move Valentino Rossi made from Honda to the -then struggling - Yamaha, in the World Motorcycle Championship. Both outstanding talents, they both proved a strong point by showing everyone they could just as well brag race victories riding on an inferior motorcycle as they could, riding the best race equipment available.
Having switched to the Chaparral Yamaha team, McGrath won his title back in 1998, though his season was plagued by complications stemmed from a broken wrist. Still riding for Yamaha he won the Supercross titles both in 1999 and 2000 again, asserting a type of dominance in supercross that seemed to render him utterly untouchable.
The 2001 season kicked off particularly well for Jeremy, though that year was the one he finally ran into the guy who would rob him of the title “the King “ of Supercross. Despite losing two main events to Jeremy, the new kid on the block, Ricky Carmichael went on to win all remaining main events of the season (namely 13)
Jeremy would finish in a disappointing third place at the end of the 2001 season, having been beaten by David Vuillemin as well.
2002 was the year he’d attempt to come back and take back what was rightfully his: the Supercross Championship title. Problems with his arm prevented him from achieving his goal, and - according to some - aging was also partially at fault for the hardships he encountered.
2003 was to be the swansong of the great champion. Riding for KTM he suffered a nasty crash that put him out of action for a while and also made him consider retirement for the first time.
Jeremy McGrath came out of retirement in 2005 to race in the Supercross championship on a limited shedule and he also took part on the 2006 Xgames where he won a silver medal in Step up.
In 2006 he founded the Jeremy McGrath invitational, an offseason race with huge prizes. He also announced that the 2006 McGrath invitational would be his final competitive ride on a motocross-bike.
Despite the emergence of other “on-fire” motocross riders after him, Jeremy Mc Grath’s name remains engraved in the Supercross history for generations to come. He was, is and most probably will forever be one of the Greats.
-Article by Daam Van Dijk