Well, let’s see, Honda has four of the fastest supercross riders on the planet (counting
Factory Connection’s Mike LaRocco), a new CR250 (with 2nd-generation aluminum frame), the
largest budget in American racing, and, following the opening round of the AMA Supercross
series at Anaheim last Saturday night, the best Honda can say is “…Honda riders filled the next three spots”
(quoting Honda’s press release).
Six-time champion Jeremy McGrath, now 28 years old, left the Honda team at the end of the 1996 season, and
Honda has yet to win the Supercross championship without him. Although MD picked Windham to win this year,
frankly, McGrath looked stronger than ever at Anaheim, and Windham “had nothing for him” – as they say.
Absent something surprising from Kawasaki’s Ricky Carmichael, this will be a season of McGrath versus Honda.
With Tortelli looking surprisingly comfortable on a supercross track (he charged from a poor start to fourth place),
and Ezra Lusk likely to rebound quickly from his dislocated shoulder, Honda will put a full-court press on McGrath all
season. For now, despite McGrath’s dominance at Anaheim, we’re sticking with Windham as our pick for series champion. After
all, the CR250s are new – new enough to require changed suspension settings and chassis setup. The Honda riders will only
get faster as the season progresses (and they were pretty damn fast at Anaheim).
In any event, we don’t expect yet another boring, “who finished second behind Jeremy tonight?” season.