AMA Supercross - Supercross Rolls into the Big Easy
11 March 1998WESTERVILLE, Ohio -- After an 18-year absence, the Thor/Parts Unlimited AMA Supercross Series returns to the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans on March 14. If what started last weekend in Daytona is any indication of things to come, fans in the Big Easy will be treated to a shootout among the superstars of Supercross, Jeremy McGrath and Jeff Emig.
Yamaha rider McGrath and Kawasaki's Emig provided a dramatic battle for the win at the March 7 Supercross on the infield of Daytona International Speedway. Emig, the 1997 Supercross and Motocross champion, has been plagued by a series of disappointing finishes this year, and fans speculated that a win in Daytona would jump-start his performance. As if to deliver on that notion, Emig took the lead on the first lap at Daytona and held off a pursuant McGrath until lap seven, where Emig was held up in traffic in a wide turn. McGrath took advantage of the distraction, pushing past Emig and riding off to victory.
While a win would have been a definite boost for Emig, the second-place finish is his best result since his runner-up finish at the Jan. 10 season opener in Los Angeles. Emig, of Riverside, Calif., is currently ranked fourth in the 1998 point standings, with 136 points. Four-time Supercross Champion McGrath, a resident of Menifee, Calif., had his share of problems last season, but this year he has come back to win five of nine rounds to date and he leads the series with 202 points.
Baton Rouge, La., native Kevin Windham held second place going into the Daytona round, but a ninth-place finish there dropped him to third in season points. Honda's Ezra Lusk, of Bainbridge, Ga., took third-place in Daytona, displacing Windham from the number two series spot. Lusk now has 146 season points and leads Windham by a slim 3-point margin.
Kawasaki's Ricky Carmichael had a runaway victory at last week's AMA Eastern Region 125cc Supercross race in Daytona, winning by a full 37 seconds and raising his record to four consecutive wins this season. Eastern Region 125cc Supercross round five of eight will be part of the evening's program at the Louisiana Superdome.
The last Supercross at the Louisiana Superdome was a double-header held in May of 1980. The May 3 race was won by Yamaha-mounted Mike Bell, of Lakewood, Calif., and the May 4 round was won by Suzuki rider Mike Barnett of Bridgeview, Ill.