Who’s Got The Goat? (14-1)

#14

Marty Smith

1974 125cc National Champion

1975 125cc National Champion

1977 500cc National Champion

Marty Smith was really the first teen idol in American MX. He had the long hair, and all the girls loved him. He was also hellishly fast on a motocross bike. “He was a typical Southern California golden boy,” Bevo Forte said. “Tanned all the time, blond-streaked hair and he looked like a surfer. He was pretty well built too, and he had Honda behind him 200 percent. Marty had the talent, a real good bike, and he put it all together. For a while there, he was just unbeatable. Hannah just broke his back when he beat him at Hangtown, but up until then, he was Ricky Carmichael. Nobody could touch him.”

#13

James Stewart

2002 AMA Rookie of the Year

2002 125cc National Champion

2003 125cc Western Regional Supercross Champion

2004 125cc Eastern Regional Supercross Champion

2004 125cc National Champion

Record: Most 125cc National wins by a single rider (28)

Record: Most 125cc Supercross wins by a single rider (16)

You can describe James Stewart in one word: Speed. Pure speed! “To me, James Stewart is the greatest rider that I’ve ever seen,” Rick Johnson says. “He’s taken things from everybody, and he’s evolved it. Staying low off the jumps has been around forever, but it was never like he does it. Take away the records, and he’s a phenomenal rider.” RJ sees a little of himself in James, for sure, but it’s not all good. “I don’t think any motocross rider should be arrogant, but I watched him grow up and I see a lot of myself in him,” RJ says. “I was the arrogant guy. I came into the sport my third year when I was 18, and I ran into Hannah, I ran over Bailey, and Jeff Spencer pulled me aside and said, ‘You’d better cool it. If these other guys get the chance, they’re going to knock you down.’ I thought about it, and he was right. And James seems a lot like I was in that respect. But still, he’s the most phenomenal rider I’ve ever seen. I have a world of respect for him when it comes to his riding.”

#12

Broc Glover

1977 125cc National Champion

1978 125cc National Champion

1979 125cc National Champion

1981 500cc National Champion

1981 Trans-USA Champion

1983 500cc National Champion

1983 Motocross des Nations Champion

1985 500cc National Champion

The oldest of the “El Cajon Zone” boys, Broc Glover was the Golden Boy. “I never worried that he was going to bump me for the pass the way Hannah or Johnson would,” David Bailey said. “He was good enough on his good days to pass you and not touch you, and then ‘see you later.’ That bugged me. I’d rather he would run into me, but this ‘pass me fair and square and pull away’ stuff was just making me feel bad.” Rick Johnson considered Glover to be his greatest influence. “Broc is a very important part of my life as a person, and as an influence in motocross. I’ve known Broc since he was about 12 years old. He went to my school. I watched him go from being a guy like me to winning a National Championship, to being the hero of El Cajon, to having the big house on the hill and the bitchin’ boat. And the whole time he maintained an unbelievable work ethic,” RJ said. “He’s my friend, and he helped me along the way. I carried a notebook in school signed by him in Junior High that read, ‘Hopefully someday we’ll be on the same team.’ And we were for quite a while. I could model my life after him. I’d see Broc running five miles from home, hauling ass, and I knew I had to get home to train.”

#11

Stefan Everts

1991 125cc World Champion

1995 250cc World Champion

1995 Motocross des Nations Champion

1996 250cc World Champion

1997 250cc World Champion

1997 Motocross des Nations Champion

1998 Motocross des Nations Champion

2001 500cc World Champion

2002 500cc World Champion

2003 250cc World Champion

2003 Motocross des Nations Champion

2004 MX1 (250cc) World Champion

2004 Motocross des Nations Champion

Record: Most Worldhampionships by one rider (eight and counting)

Record: Most World Championship round wins by one rider (80 and counting)

It’s somewhat surprising that Stefan Everts sits outside the top 10 on this list. He holds basically every record in Grand Prix motocross-he’s the winningest GP rider ever, and he has the most championships. He did it all through hard work, dedication and tons of raw talent. “He’s going to set records that no one’s going to break. He’s amazing,” Bevo Forte said. “I saw him in the mud at the Motocross des Nations in Foxborough, and we had Doug Henry and John Dowd-both great mud riders-and Everts just waxed everyone. He came around the first lap with at least a 30-second lead.” But The Man, Roger DeCoster, doesn’t think the GPs mean as much today as they did in the past, which may account for his place at 11th on this list. “First, he’s very good, very talented and he’s very smart,” RD said. “But he has also chosen to stay in Europe, and the biggest talent is not at the World Championships anymore. The biggest talent is here today. Chad Reed, Tortelli, Vuillemin, Albertyn-they were all in Europe at one point, but they came to the U.S. If those guys would’ve stayed in Europe, Stefan would’ve never won eight championships. As good as he is, it would’ve never happened.” Despite that, Everts is the only rider to win all three classes in one day at a GP, and he even won the overall at the 2003 ISDE.

#10

David Bailey

1982 Motocross des Nations Champion

1983 250cc Supercross Champion

1983 250cc National Champion

1983 Grand National Champion

1983 Motocross des Nations Champion

1984 500cc National Champion

1984 Motocross des Nations Champion

1985 Motocross des Nations Champion

1986 500cc National Champion

1986 Motocross des Nations Champion

David Bailey-son of MX Professor Gary Bailey-was taught from a very early age the perfect techniques he eventually became known for. “David was probably the first rider who really learned to slow down to go faster-especially with Supercross,” Roger DeCoster said. “At the time, the other fast guys were Ricky Johnson and O’Mara, and David was better at figuring out the rhythm of things rather than just going fast everywhere. He didn’t hang it out. He was very calculated.” RJ’s technique to beat Bailey was to brutalize him. “When you’re dealing with somebody who is that good, you have to do something to get them off their game,” Johnson said. “If you tried to follow David Bailey and wait for him to get tired, he wouldn’t get tired. If you waited for him to make a mistake, he wouldn’t make a mistake. So to ride clean and be a gentleman with David, I would’ve gotten my butt kicked every weekend. I had to berserk it through the big bumps, run over his feet, bang into him a little bit, and then maybe I had a chance of beating him.”

#9

Joel Robert

1964 250cc World Champion

2nd, 1965-1967 250cc World Championships

1968 250cc World Champion

1969 250cc World Champion

1969 Trophee des Nations Champion

1970 250cc World Champion

1970 Trophee des Nations Champion

1971 250cc World Champion

1972 250cc World Champion

It’s hard to believe in this day and age, but not only was Joel Robert so naturally talented that he didn’t train much, he was actually a smoker. “He was naturally a very strong kid, and he was very talented,” Roger DeCoster said. “He was one of the guys at the time who got good support very young, and he had everything behind him. At the time, all of the top talent was in the 500cc class. So, in the 250 class, if you had a lot of talent like Joel, you didn’t need as much fitness like you would in the 500 class. That’s probably why he got away with it. He was good on a 500 also, but he never won a race in tough conditions on a 500. In the Belgium Nationals, if it was a smooth, fast, slippery track where it was all throttle control and balance, he was tough to beat.” He even put his cigarette out on Sylvain Geboers’s crossbar once on the start line at the series finale-which Joel ended up winning.

#8

Jeff Stanton

1987 AMA Rookie of the Year

1989 250cc Supercross Champion

1989 250cc National Champion

1989 Motocross des Nations Champion

1990 250cc Supercross Champion

1990 250cc National Champion

1990 Motocross des Nations Champion

1991 Motocross des Nations Champion

1992 250cc Supercross Champion

1992 250cc National Champion

Jeff Stanton had a relatively short career of only about seven years, but it was a very successful one. After training with Rick Johnson during the winter before the 1989 season, he came into his own. “One of Jeff’s greatest assets is his understated personality. It didn’t portray his incredible skill and intelligence, his commitment to preparation, and his technical skill on a motorcycle,” Jeff Spencer said. “People looked at his quietness, and it subdued some traits that were very obvious to me. They know him because of his work ethic, and certainly it was there, but to win three Supercross Championships, the talent had to be there, along with the ability to adapt and do all of the things he did.” One race he’s most known for is the do-or-die 1992 LA Coliseum Supercross, which if he won, and Damon Bradshaw finished third or worse, would make him the champion. Bradshaw won nine races that year. Stanton had won two going into that event. “I was with Jeff at the time, and I remember distinctly that there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that he was going to win,” Spencer said. “It was a foregone conclusion. I think that is a reflection of all great riders, and he deserves that status.”

#7

Jeff Ward

1983 Motocross des Nations Champion

1984 125cc National Champion

1984 Motocross des Nations Champion

1985 250cc Supercross Champion

1985 250cc National Champion

1985 Motocross des Nations Champion

1987 250cc Supercross Champion

1987 Motocross des Nations Champion

1988 250cc National Champion

1988 Motocross des Nations Champion

1989 500cc National Champion

1989 Motocross des Nations Champion

1990 500cc National Champion

1990 Motocross des Nations Champion

American Record: Most MXdN wins (7)

Jeff Ward is the type of athlete who only comes around once in a great while. He’s the only rider to win all four National Championships (125 MX, 250 SX, 250 MX, and 500 MX), and he did it over a career that truly linked eras, from the ’70s to the ’90s. In addition, he has won in Indy cars, and at 44, he is the current AMA Supermoto Champion. The interesting thing is that he may not have made it if he came up today. It took him years to start winning, but once he started, he just kept going. Hi competitiveness is illustrated in a story from Rick Johnson. “One of the greatest stories that no one ever saw,” RJ said. “I drove into a track called the Flower Track in Carlsbad right in the middle of the 500 Nationals. We were going back and forth for the points lead that year. I roll in, I see him, and he was just getting dressed. Nobody was there-just us. We gave each other a nod, and he did like two laps before I did. We went for 50 minutes on this slick, throttle-control track. We would pass each other on lanes that ran down and back up the hill, and we would see each other there every lap. I’d make a bike length on him, and he’d make one on me. I knew he was tired, because I was dying. Then he ran out of gas and pushed his bike back to his truck, and he sat there checking his watch to make sure I wasn’t slowing down. Once he drove off, I just gasped, ‘Thank god!’ Nobody was there, there was no trophy and no money, but we rode our asses off for 50 minutes. It’s having guys like that, who you know are going to be there every week, that makes it worthwhile.”

#6

Jean-Michel Bayle

1988 125cc World Champion

1989 250cc World Champion

1991 250cc Supercross Champion

1991 250cc National Champion

1991 500cc National Champion

Jean-Michel Bayle is the man who really started the influx on the start line at the series finale-which Joel ended up winning.

#8

Jeff Stanton

1987 AMA Rookie of the Year

1989 250cc Supercross Champion

1989 250cc National Champion

1989 Motocross des Nations Champion

1990 250cc Supercross Champion

1990 250cc National Champion

1990 Motocross des Nations Champion

1991 Motocross des Nations Champion

1992 250cc Supercross Champion

1992 250cc National Champion

Jeff Stanton had a relatively short career of only about seven years, but it was a very successful one. After training with Rick Johnson during the winter before the 1989 season, he came into his own. “One of Jeff’s greatest assets is his understated personality. It didn’t portray his incredible skill and intelligence, his commitment to preparation, and his technical skill on a motorcycle,” Jeff Spencer said. “People looked at his quietness, and it subdued some traits that were very obvious to me. They know him because of his work ethic, and certainly it was there, but to win three Supercross Championships, the talent had to be there, along with the ability to adapt and do all of the things he did.” One race he’s most known for is the do-or-die 1992 LA Coliseum Supercross, which if he won, and Damon Bradshaw finished third or worse, would make him the champion. Bradshaw won nine races that year. Stanton had won two going into that event. “I was with Jeff at the time, and I remember distinctly that there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that he was going to win,” Spencer said. “It was a foregone conclusion. I think that is a reflection of all great riders, and he deserves that status.”

#7

Jeff Ward

1983 Motocross des Nations Champion

1984 125cc National Champion

1984 Motocross des Nations Champion

1985 250cc Supercross Champion

1985 250cc National Champion

1985 Motocross des Nations Champion

1987 250cc Supercross Champion

1987 Motocross des Nations Champion

1988 250cc National Champion

1988 Motocross des Nations Champion

1989 500cc National Champion

1989 Motocross des Nations Champion

1990 500cc National Champion

1990 Motocross des Nations Champion

American Record: Most MXdN wins (7)

Jeff Ward is the type of athlete who only comes around once in a great while. He’s the only rider to win all four National Championships (125 MX, 250 SX, 250 MX, and 500 MX), and he did it over a career that truly linked eras, from the ’70s to the ’90s. In addition, he has won in Indy cars, and at 44, he is the current AMA Supermoto Champion. The interesting thing is that he may not have made it if he came up today. It took him years to start winning, but once he started, he just kept going. Hi competitiveness is illustrated in a story from Rick Johnson. “One of the greatest stories that no one ever saw,” RJ said. “I drove into a track called the Flower Track in Carlsbad right in the middle of the 500 Nationals. We were going back and forth for the points lead that year. I roll in, I see him, and he was just getting dressed. Nobody was there-just us. We gave each other a nod, and he did like two laps before I did. We went for 50 minutes on this slick, throttle-control track. We would pass each other on lanes that ran down and back up the hill, and we would see each other there every lap. I’d make a bike length on him, and he’d make one on me. I knew he was tired, because I was dying. Then he ran out of gas and pushed his bike back to his truck, and he sat there checking his watch to make sure I wasn’t slowing down. Once he drove off, I just gasped, ‘Thank god!’ Nobody was there, there was no trophy and no money, but we rode our asses off for 50 minutes. It’s having guys like that, who you know are going to be there every week, that makes it worthwhile.”

#6

Jean-Michel Bayle

1988 125cc World Champion

1989 250cc World Champion

1991 250cc Supercross Champion

1991 250cc National Champion

1991 500cc National Champion

Jean-Michel Bayle is the man who really started the influx of riders from the GPs to the AMA series. He is likely the most naturally talented motorcycle rider ever, and he is the only rider ever to win all three titles (250 SX, 250 MX, 500 MX) in one season (1991). “Jean-Michel Bayle had just stupid speed,” Rick Johnson said. “He had techniques that not a lot of people could see. He would stay light in the dirt. When we went to Unadilla in ’89, I did beat him in both motos, but it was out of sheer force. I knew for sure after practice that I had the fastest time by at least two or three seconds. I came in all cocky after practice and said, ‘So how’s it sittin’?’ They say, ‘You’re four seconds down.’ ‘What!?’ So I sat there humbly and watched what Jean-Michel did in some of the turns. I would hit them too hard. I was going at them faster than he was, but I was spending too much time in them and not getting out. By seeing that, I learned to distribute my weight more and other little things that Jean-Michel knew.” JMB was so talented that he up and retired from motocross in 1992 after running number-one plates for a year, and went road racing. And he didn’t mess around-he went straight to the 250cc GPs. “He had never ridden a road-race bike in his life, then went out and rode for like 15 minutes,” RJ said. “The first three laps, he was afraid to drag his knee, and then we did it on Z50s on a skid pad. An hour later, he’s within a second of the Japanese Champion who tests for Honda on a 250cc road racer.”

#5

Jeremy McGrath

1991 125cc Western Regional Supercross Champion

1992 125cc Western Regional Supercross Champion

1993 250cc Supercross Champion

1993 Motocross des Nations Champion

1994 250cc Supercross Champion

1995 250cc Supercross Champion

1995 250cc National Champion

1996 250cc Supercross Champion

1996 Motocross des Nations Champion

1998 250cc Supercross Champion

1999 250cc Supercross Champion

2000 250cc Supercross Champion

Record: Most SX wins in a career (72)

Record: Most SX wins in a row (13 – tied with Ricky Carmichael)

Record: Most SX wins in a season (14 – tied with Ricky Carmichael)

Jeremy McGrath really needs no introduction. He’s simply the greatest Supercross rider of all time. “I don’t know where it came from, but he wanted to be the best,” said his former tuner Skip Norfolk. “He saw the tracks differently than his competition did. I don’t know if the BMX background added to that or not. He did things on the obstacles that nobody else did at that time. He was a great starter, and a lot of work went into it. He was so technical on the motorcycle that it didn’t necessarily require a lot of effort, and he rarely had to race for 20 laps. When it came down to it, he could, but it was very rare. His motorcycle was an extension of his body. He’s the type of guy who is good at golf, he’s good at wakeboarding, he’s good at skiing, he’s good at snowboarding-he’s a gifted athlete.” Former teammate Steve Lamson concurred. “I think he probably wasn’t one of the hardest trainers early on-and I’m not saying anything bad about him-but he didn’t eat the greatest, and he wasn’t worried about it,” Lammy said. “He was more naturally talented than any of us, and he wasn’t concerned about it.”

#4

Ricky Johnson

1981 AMA 125cc Rookie of the Year

1984 250cc National Champion

1984 Motocross des Nations Champion

1986 250cc Supercross Champion

1986 250cc National Champion

1986 Motocross des Nations Champion

1987 250cc National Champion

1987 500cc National Champion

1987 Motocross des Nations Champion

1988 250cc Supercross Champion

1988 500cc National Champion

1988 Motocross des Nations Champion

Rick Johnson was Jeremy McGrath’s idol-and for good reason. Johnson not only won a then-record seven AMA National Championships, but he won more Supercross races than anyone (28), until McGrath came around. He was aggressive on the track, but off the track, he made people happy to work with him. “I competed with RJ the most at the front of th

CATEGORIZED: Features