Jeremy McGrath is the winningest rider on the track, and Mike LaRocco is often times the fastest rider, but frustrated by poor starts. What year is it? Well, it may be 2000, but the real answer is 1993. You see, LaRocco and McGrath are riding just like they were many years ago (except, probably faster). Even stranger, the young kids who have come up in the meantime have failed to remove McGrath and LaRocco from their starring roles.
These veterans are faster and more confident than ever, and the Windhams, Lusks, Huffmans (yes, Damon Huffman ran with McGrath years ago while with Team Kawasaki) have failed to disturb the pecking order. Only David Vuillemin of late appears to be a real threat to McGrath.
Why hasn’t time changed things more? I found myself asking this question a few weeks into the AMA Supercross season. The truth is the young riders are often times “psyched out” by McGrath who, at the same time, is simply the fastest and most consistent rider on the track. LaRocco, meanwhile, seems to get faster with age (and more consistent — he was a frequent crasher in years past).
Will David Vuillemin be the successor to Jeremy McGrath? Will he challenge McGrath for the championship this year, or fall by the wayside like many other challengers of the past (Ezra Lusk, for example)? We don’t know, but as time passes, it almost appears McGrath is destined to dominate this sport until the day he retires. It will take someone with tremendous speed, consistency, and a strong mind to take McGrath’s place before then.