Looking back at Daytona Supercross, '98 & '99, originally written by Jamie Little - Photo 1 of 1

Seems almost like yesterday …. but we just found these race reports written by Jamie Little for Supercross.com of the Daytona Supercross events in 1998 and 1999. Looking at some of the names in the results and standings sure brings back some good memories!

AMA Supercross – Daytona Beach FLORIDA

March 7, 1998

Daytona International Speedway

Daytona Beach FLORIDA

My first Daytona Supercross – by Jamie Little

I arrived at the airport Wednesday night for the “red-eye” flight to Daytona. In anticipation of my big trip, I sipped a glass of wine and pondered what the weekend had in store for me.

I arrived in Daytona at 7am Thursday morning. My first thought “Wow! There’s no rain and it’s warm!” As I eagerly found my way to the Daytona International Speedway, I was overwhelmed with the scenery, from the fabled Daytona Grandstands to the hard-core Harley’s! (And that was just outside!) I reached the “Media Center” where I inherited the very much sought after Press Credentials. From there I proceeded to go up into the Press room for ESPN (where the weekly races are broadcast by Art Eckman and David Bailey.) Needless to say, I was speechless. The view from the very top of the Grandstands, overlooking the racing headquarters was like no other! It was a race fans’ dream!

From there, I checked in to my hotel room that overlooked the ocean, and overheard the Harley’s! (It was “Bike Week” for those of you that didn’t know). I managed to get a bite to eat and get some sleep in order to function for Friday’s events.

It was Friday morning and I managed to arrive at the Speedway at a decent hour, 11:00am. The Team semi’s rolled in for Kawasaki, Pro-Circuit, Suzuki, Yamaha, Chaparral and Honda. I then couldn’t resist the opportunity and I made my way to their settling turf. The “guys” were playing football in the middle of the parking lot, where I foresaw that as “a window of opportunity.” Opportunity for what you might ask. Well, to get those interviews you all enjoy reading so much right here on Supercross Online! By the way, I did manage to get a few “insights” on some guys, but you’ll just have to stay tuned for those coming up soon.

On that note, I must say, this is a darn good job!! From there, I went back to the hotel where I reviewed questions to ask riders before the race. I had some dinner and went right to sleep. (Harley mufflers are great to hear the night before a Supercross event!) I received a wake-up call at 5:45 a.m. It was race day! I got everything together, had breakfast, read over my plans for the day and continued on to the Daytona Speedway. I arrived about 8a.m., same time as the riders. (Kevin Windham was in my rear-view mirror.) From there, practice started and this was the first time the riders has seen the track. (Usually they are able to practice the day before the actual event.) Practice and heats proceeded for the next six hours. As the hours went on, the Grandstands became more and more occupied. You could just feel the excitment in the air! 3:45pm and it’s show time!

125 Main Event – Ricky Carmichael takes the hole-shot and leads the entire race! (Well, at least that’s what we thought but he was so far gone, the emphasis was on the battle for second.) Last lap and Ricky’s practically laughing at his competitors by “joy-riding” his way around, throwing in a couple nac-nac’s here and there. He takes the checkers for the fourth time in-a-row!

Next up, the 250’s. The excitement is really penetrating now. Jeff Emig leads the boys out onto the starting grid where they sort through the dirt to make for the best start possible. The engines are revved to the max and the gate drops. It’s Emig with the hole-shot! Not for long however, as McGrath pulls a nice pass in the first turn on the eighth lap and runs away. Wow! By the sounds coming from the Grandstands, you’d think every fan there was rooting for Jeremy. He brings it on in and once again, sets another milestone. This time for his 50th career supercross win.

You know, I say it every time that I attend one of these events, but it’s true, there is no other sport on earth like it!

Additional notes: Tim Ferry out with blown knee suffered from last week’s Tampa Supercross. Round 1 LA Supercross winner Sebastien Tortelli goes back home to France to prepare for 250 World Motocross Championship.

125 East Main Event:

1. Ricky Carmichael – KAW

2. Robbie Reynard – SUZ

3. Brock Sellards – HON

4. Jim Neese – KTM

5. Shaun Perolio – SUZ

6. James Povolny – KTM

7. Casey Lytle – HON

8. Derrick Bentley – KAW

9. Tony LoRusso – SUZ

10. Paul Currie – KAW

125 East Points:

1. Carmichael – 100

2. Reynard – 79

3. Lytle – 65

4. Sellards – 61

5. LoRusso – 39

6. Neese – 38

7. Bentley – 35

8. Povolny – 34

9. Perolio – 33

10. Smith – 30

250 Main Event:

1. Jeremy McGrath – YAM

2. Jeff Emig – KAW

3. Ezra Lusk – HON

4. Greg Albertyn – SUZ

5. Doug Henry – YAM

6. Mickael Pichon – SUZ

7. John Dowd – YAM

8. Ryan Hughes – KAW

9. Kevin Windham – YAM

10. Damon Huffman – KAW

250 Points:

1. McGrath – 202

2. Lusk – 146

3. Windham – 143

4. Emig – 136

5. Ward – 134

6. LaRocco – 126

7. Albertyn – 111

8. Pichon – 110

9. Button – 110

10. Huffman – 107

11. Hughes – 102

12. Henry – 95


AMA Supercross – Daytona Beach FLORIDA

March 6, 1999

Daytona International Speedway

Daytona Beach FLORIDA

by Ms. Jamie Little

Beautiful Daytona Beach set the stage for the 29th annual ‘Daytona Supercross Presented by Honda’. Not only is the venue beautiful, but the event is one of the best. The track is known for combining supercrossobstacles with outdoor motocross-like sections. The track itself is located in the infield of the Daytona International Speedway, complete with white dirt, palm trees and a grass covered starting gate.

The days leading up to the race are unique in many ways. Perhaps the most unique aspect of all is ‘Bike Week’. Every kind of motorcycle enthusiast possible turns out for the biker fest each year. This year over 500,000 shared in the festivities. The ratio of Harley’s to cars was easily fifty to one! There wasn’t a single nights sleep without the rumbling of some serious pipes! As well as the Harley Davidson groupies, the street bike fanatics were on hand as well to witness the Daytona 200, a race which always takes place on the Sunday after the supercross. The best thing about the variety of motorcycle enthusiasts is that they all enjoy our sport …. Supercross! And for those who are unfamiliar with the best sport in the world, this is a perfect opportunity for a crash course! Needless to say, the stands were filled with a pretty wild array of spectators!

Another unique aspect about the race is that it takes place in the early afternoon. The weather couldn’t have been better, as the temps were in the mid-80’s. Also, instead of your usual two heat races for the 250’s, there were three due to the abundance of privateers, and the fact that the starting grid has thirty gates instead of the normal twenty. As we all know, the 250 main event is, for the most part, factory or factory-backed riders leaving little or no room for privateers. The ten extra gates allowed more opportunities for all those up and comers.

With all that said, let’s get on to the important stuff, racing! What a day it was! This time, for all of you who wish to know the race winners from all of the preliminary races, I kept track just for you …

125 Heat 1: Stephane Roncada

125 Heat 2: Ernesto Fonseca

250 Heat 1: Ezra Lusk

250 Heat 2: Mike LaRocco

250 Heat 3: Jeremy McGrath

125 LCQ: Jason McCormick

250 Semi 1: Tyler Evans

250 Semi 2: Tim Ferry

250 LCQ: Charles Duffy III

125 Main: Ernesto Fonseca

250 Main: Jeremy McGrath

Before I get into the detailed main events, let me start by updating you on one of the biggest happenings of the day – Doug Henry! All of you Doug Henry fans will be happy to know, he is back! He graced us with his presence for the first time since his semi-retirement. He was a little rusty but enjoyed being back in the Yamaha pits visiting with the fans and racing aboard his #2 YZ 400 4-stroke. And that’s not all concerning Doug. He told me in an interview we’ll have online later in the week that he plans on racing the Pontiac and Las Vegas supercrosses as well as the entire outdoor National series!

On to the action! The 125 East Main Event proved to be one exciting race as rookie sensation Ernesto Fonseca rode his Yamaha to his third 125 East victory in a row. After getting the holeshot, Stephane Roncada, his teammate at Yamaha of Troy, gained the lead and the two diced it out for the next eight laps. Fonseca ragained the lead and rode an impressive remaining seven laps. Roncada finished second followed by Danny Smith aboard a Honda in third.

Onto the 250 Main! Who is the best rider in the world, and the winner of last year’s Daytona supercross, and the current series points leader? If you guessed Jeremy McGrath (as if that’s difficult!) you are right! He not only won his heat race, he also lead from start to finish in the main. He was very agressive and very smooth. A very impressive display of riding. This was Jeremy’s 55th career supercross win. Not only did Jeremy add another win to his record setting total, but if you combine 2nd place Rick Johnson’s 28 career wins and Bob Hannah’s 27 career wins you equal Jeremy’s current total. During the press conference that followed the race Jeremy was quite surprised by that stat, and stated that it was just another win for him and that records don’t mean much to him (yet).

Kevin Windham is looking much more comfortable on his new1999 Honda CR 250, as he gated second, and rode smoothly to finish a strong second. Mike LaRocco, perhaps the king of consistency, worked his way up to third by race end, and that is his fifth podium finish this season. During the second lap, John Dowd and Ezra Lusk collided causing both of them to DNF. Lusk was down for a short period and was able to walk off the track uninjured. Dowd was escorted off the track, holding his left arm, and was taken by ambulance to receive medical attention. No word yet of his injuries.

Some notable absenses were Jimmy Button who was injured during a practice session last week in Dallas and Robbie Reynard who was M.I.A. Next week, the action moves to Houston, Texas where ABC will broadcast the race the very same day! As well as next week being round number ten of the series, it is also the second race of the Triple Crown Series. Ezra Lusk won the first of these three races at round number five in Anaheim. If Lusk proceeds to win rounds number ten and fifteen, he will become $250,000 richer!

250 Main Event:

1. Jeremy McGrath – YAM

2. Kevin Windham – HON

3. Mike LaRocco – HON

4. Ricky Carmichael – KAW

5. Greg Albertyn – SUZ

6. Jeff Emig – KAW

7. Sebastien Tortelli – HON

8. Steve Lamson – YAM

9. Damon Huffman – KAw

10. Tim Ferry – YAM

11. Larry Ward – SUZ

12. Mickael Pichon – HON

13. Heath Voss – HON

14. Doug Henry – YAM

15. Jean-Sebastien Roy – HON

125 East Main Event:

1. Ernesto Fonseca – YAM

2. Stephane Roncada – YAM

3. Danny Smith – HON

4. Robbie Horton – YAM

5. Brock Sellards – HON

6. Nick Wey – KAW

7. Kelly Smith – KTM

8. Barry Carsten – SUZ

9. Jim Neese – YAM

10. Jason McCormick – HON

11. Joseph Oehlhof – KTM

12. Josh Demuth – YAM

13. Kevin Crine – SUZ

14. Jiri Dostal – SUZ

15. Ryan Duff – YAM

250 Points:

1. McGrath – 191

2. LaRocco – 159

3. Windham – 144

4. Ward – 136

5. Pichon – 135

6. Lusk – 131

7. Dowd – 117

8. Huffman – 101

9. Tortelli – 98

10. Emig – 96

11. Albertyn – 83

12. (tie) Lamson, Ferry – 79

14. Button – 75

15. Carmichael – 62

125 East Points:

1. Fonseca – 75

2. Roncada – 64

3. Sellards – 58

4. Horton – 51

5. Wey – 47

6. D. Smith – 42

7. J. McCormick – 36

8. Dostal – 26

9. Carsten – 25

10. (tie) K. Smith, J. Neese – 223

12. Shue – 21

13. Vohland – 16

14. Oehlhof – 15

15. J. Wilson – 13

* Special thanks to American Honda & Daytona International Speedway.



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