With Jeremy McGrath’s dominance of indoor supercross unquestioned at this stage of the season, the most prestigious event of the year (either indoor or outdoor) on the AMA Supercross/Motocross calendar is approaching: The Daytona Supercross. The Daytona Supercross is a “hybrid” between indoor supercross and outdoor motocross, and requires substantially more conditioning than a typical indoor supercross race.
Why is Daytona a hybrid? It is a long track that, traditionally, becomes severely rutted and rough, and combines fast, outdoor-like sections with supercross jumps. According to the riders, you will be more tired halfway through a Daytona Supercross than you will when you cross the finish line at a typical, indoor supercross event.
If McGrath wins at Daytona, the supercross season is virtually over for a couple of reasons. First of all, although not insurmountable, McGrath will have stretched his points lead considerably, with fewer and fewer races remaining. More importantly, McGrath will have shown his dominance both on the typical, technical indoor track, and on the very different, and outdoor-like Daytona track. There will be no room for doubters of Jeremy’s dominance, and the “psych factor” over his competitors will have reached a higher level.
But will Jeremy McGrath win the Daytona race? It is hard to bet against him, but this race may present an opportunity for other riders to shine. Who are they? Sebastien Tortelli, for one. Tortelli, who has already proven he has more natural speed outdoors than any other AMA competitor has improved dramatically at supercross, and Daytona’s hybrid track may present Tortelli with exactly what he is looking for to break through with a supercross win in dry conditions.
Also, Mike LaRocco has an advantage at Daytona. That advantage is his incredible conditioning and toughness. Known for going faster than anyone near the end of a race, the longer, more demanding Daytona track could allow LaRocco (despite a typical mediocre, or worse, start) a chance for victory.
McGrath has to be the favorite, however, given his performance thus far this year, his outdoor 250 championship a few years back, and his all-around riding ability and proven conditioning. Let’s see if McGrath uses Daytona to put an exclamation point on his domination of this year’s AMA Supercross series.