Jeremy McGrath Retirement Press Conference

A large crowd of press, riders, sponsors, family and other well-wishers (estimated at triple the usual Anaheim 1 press day crowd) heard Jeremy McGrath announce his retirement from racing at the top level of the sport today. It was an emotional day for Jeremy, as he read from a prepared notes, but he handled it with his usual professionalism.

If you’d like to see a video of Jeremy’s statement, we have it in the photo.video section. Be warned, though, the file is 24.15 megabytes, so it’s best viewed by those of you with broadband, or a ton of patience and a reliable dial-up connection. It’s a Quicktime .mov file, so you’ll need a Quicktime plug-in or player available at www.apple.com/quicktime.

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We’d like to wish Jeremy all the best in whatever the future holds for him.

Below you’ll find two McGrath-related press releases from Clear Channel Entertainment.

McGrath’s Retirement From Supercross Racing Official

AURORA, Ill. (January 2, 2002) – Seven-time supercross champion Jeremy McGrath today announced his retirement from supercross racing at a press conference in Anaheim, Calif., at Edison International Field.

After winning 72 250cc main events and taking supercross into the main stream, McGrath, 31, made the official announcement to a room full of motocross industry members and a host of media inside Edison International Field’s Diamond Club. McGrath’s storybook career places him at the top of the leader list for a host of records, including all-time wins and career championships.

While McGrath has hung up his helmet, he will remain active on the supercross scene, working with Clear Channel Entertainment and his sponsors throughout the season.

“After injuring my hip before the season, I started to evaluate my career and decided it was time to retire,” said McGrath. “This is a very difficult decision but the right one …I have had a lot of people support me throughout my career, but most importantly my first sponsor, my parents.”

“To measure what Jeremy has meant to the sport of supercross you only need to look at the number of people in the stands, the length of the lines at his autograph sessions, the roar of the audience when he is introduced, and the incredible strobe of flashbulbs during his hot laps,” said Charlie Mancuso, president, Clear Channel Entertainment – Motor Sports. “He has the looks of a movie star, the charisma of a rock star and he is humble and accessible unlike most world class athletes. The records he set in supercross pale in comparison to the impact he had on the motorcycle industry. Those of us that know him are privileged; he is so much more than the greatest racer ever.”

Dave Coombs, Racer X Illustrated, editor in chief, on Jeremy McGrath: “The record book shows Jeremy McGrath at the top of almost every category: 89 career wins; 72 supercross main event wins; eight major titles; 13 main event wins in a row; 17 total race wins in a row; 15 wins and a pair of supercross titles in the 125 class.

“Obviously, his record speaks for itself. But it will be years before we can fully appreciate his contributions to the sport and what he really meant to supercross. Jeremy ushered in a new era of popularity and professionalism in supercross. His technique, his charisma, his everything has made the sport better, stronger and faster. There is no way one could oversell what he’s meant to supercross directly and the industry in general. Jeremy McGrath is Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan, all rolled into one.

“When he was coming up through the ranks, Jeremy’s nickname was “Showtime,” which matched both his style and his personality. It was the industry – the media, the fans, his friendsnd his competitors – that changed it to the “King of Supercross.” Because if anyone ever deserved a nickname of royal origins, it’s Jeremy McGrath.

“He even changed the way supercross was actually ridden. Coming from a BMX background, he incorporated those low-jumping techniques into his approach. This revolutionary style saw him dominate the sport for almost a decade before the next generation of riders – all of them employing some of his trademark technique – finally started to catch up.

“Jeremy McGrath was also the single most influential person in the freestyle motocross movement. His signature nac-nac trick, another BMX-inspired move, ushered in the video and contest era. And his remarkable ability to whip the bike around in the air thrilled supercross fans all over the world. Whether it was the parade lap, the first lap or the last lap of a race, everyone was watching Jeremy to see what he would do next.

“His success on the track was matched by his charisma off it. He brought a new era of professionalism to our sport by breaking into the mainstream almost single-handedly. When fans look out across the pits at all of the big rigs with outside sponsors and long lines of fans waiting to get autographs, the TV trucks and the mainstream media, and know that the first time most of them ever heard about supercross, it was because of Jeremy McGrath. It is impossible to quantify what the supercross tour owes Jeremy McGrath.”

When asked if McGrath would ever make a return to racing to retain his national number, he said: “I think everybody knows my number.”

Tickets for the THQ World Supercross GP are also available at www.ticketmaster.com, www.sxgp.com, and www.tickets.com (San Francisco only), and www.unlvtickets.com (Las Vegas only).


About THQ World Supercross GP and AMA Supercross Series

THQ World Supercross GP is a 17-round global series that is produced and promoted by Clear Channel Entertainment and Dorna Off Road S.L. Riders must compete in the international rounds to be eligible to win the world championship. In 2002-2003, the 17-event THQ World Supercross GP will be comprised of two international events in Geneva, Switzerland and Arnhem, Holland, and 15 of the 16 events that are conducted in major markets throughout the United States as a part of the AMA Supercross Series. The other AMA Supercross Series event held in Daytona Beach, Fla., is independently produced by the International Speedway Corporation, and is not a part of the THQ World Supercross GP. An AMA Supercross Series rider will be crowned for the series of events conducted in the United States only.

THQ World Supercross GP is the premier off-road motorcycle racing series in the world. Clear Channel Entertainment is the largest promoter and producer of live events in the world, with a broad based tradition in the promotion and production of motorcycle racing events. The FIM, Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme, is the body that globally governs motorcycle sport at the world level. Among other matters, the FIM groups together 85 affiliated National Federations relating to the sport of motorcycle racing. AMA Pro Racing is the National Federation representative that sanctions motorcycle-racing events in the United States. Dorna Off Road S.L. is an internationally recognized sports management group established in 1988 with an emphasis on major international motor sports events. Dorna is headquartered in Madrid, Spain with branch offices in Barcelona, London and Tokyo. In addition to its involvement with THQ World Supercross GP, Dorna manages the rights to MotoGP and the FIM Motocross World Championship. For more information on THQ World Supercross GP and the AMA Supercross Series, log on to www.sxgp.com.

Jeremy McGrath Press Conference Quotes

By: Steve Bruhn, Motonews.com

After MC announced his retirement at the Anaheim press conference, he sat down with some of the larger mainstream newspapers covering supercross. Here are the quotes:

On what he was thinking about retirement:

When I went to Europe I wasn’t leaning one way or the other. Throughout your whole career you have something inside that is telling you when you are on, and you have days when you are not feeling good. You kind of have self guidance. The day that I got hurt was, well first off it was a bad day. I never have been hurt bad like that.

I always ask myself why do these guys have problems when they come back from injury. Now I know why. Part of me was thinking about that a lot. I always told myself if there is ever a point when I am thinking too much about being out there. Everything we do out there is a natural reaction. It is supposed to be like the back of your hand. You can do it blindfolded. Then if you start thinking about it and questioning yourself I feel it’s the time to step away.

Any split second of hesitation or anything can end not only your career but end your sense or normality. You can get hurt really bad. You have to give it 100% because there is no medium speed. There are huge jumps out there and if you make a mistake, it can cost you everything.

On staying uninjured most of his career:

I think its because I am a thinker. I put myself on the right position on the track and calculating what is ahead of me or what could happen, and I stay way clear of any of those things. At times things happen that are freaky, like with the bike or whatever. For the most part I have been good at being able to ride at a high speed without being over my head. That is important. Often when you look at a sport, especially our sport, you see a guy out there that is fast as lightning but crazy as hell, you may see him out there only every other weekend. I think my limits were high and I could ride within my limits and I was always thinking about what is going on out there. It’s never by the seat of my pants. I am not a Wildman. Even if some wild guy passed me I would never lean back on it and go back. That’s not my style.

On Last year:

Last year was an extremely tough year, and it was tough because my body was working against me. 2001 was tough but I felt like I let myself down by not being prepared well enough. So in 2002, there is no way I was ever going to let that happen again. I was digging deep reaching for more. I just went too far and my body started working against me. That was really frustrating because I was working my ass off and it all wasn’t coming together.

On racing someone pushing his limits:

That one race that RC and I got into it here in 2001. I pushed it a little over my edge that night because I wanted it so bad. I don’t agree with pushing it past your limits like that.

On his obligations to sponsors and the timing of his decision:

If I were to go race the few couple of races and then stop, it would be bad for everybody. I was making up my mind and felt sure that was what I wanted to do. When I was first deciding I knew that timing was a big thing. I knew I couldn’t lead the sponsors and team on for 4 or 5 races and struggle and even do that to myself, if that is what happened. It was a tough decision. ‘I am fortunately I have been able to make enough money where I can go I don’t need that money, I am OK.’ A lot of guys in our sport can’t do that, so I am lucky in that way. But at the same time there is no way I wa Motocross World Championship. For more information on THQ World Supercross GP and the AMA Supercross Series, log on to www.sxgp.com.

Jeremy McGrath Press Conference Quotes

By: Steve Bruhn, Motonews.com

After MC announced his retirement at the Anaheim press conference, he sat down with some of the larger mainstream newspapers covering supercross. Here are the quotes:

On what he was thinking about retirement:

When I went to Europe I wasn’t leaning one way or the other. Throughout your whole career you have something inside that is telling you when you are on, and you have days when you are not feeling good. You kind of have self guidance. The day that I got hurt was, well first off it was a bad day. I never have been hurt bad like that.

I always ask myself why do these guys have problems when they come back from injury. Now I know why. Part of me was thinking about that a lot. I always told myself if there is ever a point when I am thinking too much about being out there. Everything we do out there is a natural reaction. It is supposed to be like the back of your hand. You can do it blindfolded. Then if you start thinking about it and questioning yourself I feel it’s the time to step away.

Any split second of hesitation or anything can end not only your career but end your sense or normality. You can get hurt really bad. You have to give it 100% because there is no medium speed. There are huge jumps out there and if you make a mistake, it can cost you everything.

On staying uninjured most of his career:

I think its because I am a thinker. I put myself on the right position on the track and calculating what is ahead of me or what could happen, and I stay way clear of any of those things. At times things happen that are freaky, like with the bike or whatever. For the most part I have been good at being able to ride at a high speed without being over my head. That is important. Often when you look at a sport, especially our sport, you see a guy out there that is fast as lightning but crazy as hell, you may see him out there only every other weekend. I think my limits were high and I could ride within my limits and I was always thinking about what is going on out there. It’s never by the seat of my pants. I am not a Wildman. Even if some wild guy passed me I would never lean back on it and go back. That’s not my style.

On Last year:

Last year was an extremely tough year, and it was tough because my body was working against me. 2001 was tough but I felt like I let myself down by not being prepared well enough. So in 2002, there is no way I was ever going to let that happen again. I was digging deep reaching for more. I just went too far and my body started working against me. That was really frustrating because I was working my ass off and it all wasn’t coming together.

On racing someone pushing his limits:

That one race that RC and I got into it here in 2001. I pushed it a little over my edge that night because I wanted it so bad. I don’t agree with pushing it past your limits like that.

On his obligations to sponsors and the timing of his decision:

If I were to go race the few couple of races and then stop, it would be bad for everybody. I was making up my mind and felt sure that was what I wanted to do. When I was first deciding I knew that timing was a big thing. I knew I couldn’t lead the sponsors and team on for 4 or 5 races and struggle and even do that to myself, if that is what happened. It was a tough decision. ‘I am fortunately I have been able to make enough money where I can go I don’t need that money, I am OK.’ A lot of guys in our sport can’t do that, so I am lucky in that way. But at the same time there is no way I was going to milk it out just for the money. I have my own opinion about some other guys that have raced too long and it tarnishes their name a little bit. I don’t want to do that. I worked too hard let myself go up and then drag myself back down.

On the McGrath legacy:

I worked hard to get to the position I am in now. I say this because when I was younger and I watched Jeff Ward, who was a legend in my mind, he raced 2 or 3 seasons too long. He was having trouble beating the top guys back then. Jeff Ward had an unbelievable career and I felt bad for him because of the way he dragged it out a little. Ever since that day, when I was a young kid, I thought I would never do that.

On how Bud Light and KTM responded to his retirement:

Bud Light is taking it very, very well. Bud Light loved the Jeremy McGrath program. Winning and riding and all that are the icing on the cake. There are very supportive. KTM has been real supportive too. It was a really hard decision both on KTM and me because I had my relationship with everyone else and I started this one with KTM, and all of a sudden I am not going to race. Then have been really supportive. Obviously the plans we had will change now, but for the most part all we had to do was go in and talk about it and decide where to we go from here? The Monday morning (Dec 23) I was going to call everybody and I was really nervous. The best part was I called my sponsors myself and they heard it from me, and getting the overwhelming support back. When I was thinking about it I was thinking, ‘Oh, I am going to retire and everyone is leaving me,’ and that’s not true. Everyone has been awesome.

On talking to people close to him:

When I finally decided that is what I want to do I talked to my wife, and I talked to my mom and dad, and we just sat for hours and discussed it. My parents were sad in one way, but they are really happy. Sometimes the business got in the way with our relationship, and now they don’t have to do that.

What he wants people to remember about him:

What I really want to be remembered as, aside from all the championships and victories. Is that I was someone that the public could relate to. I never tried to be somebody that I wasn’t. I believe that I was very real, and a good representative for families to get involved in the sport. That to me is as important as the winning. That is where I got it from my parents.

On where he goes from here:

I don’t mind the spotlight and I never had to force myself to be a certain way, it never has. At the same time I am hoping for a bit of a break. More than anything it’s a change in the schedule. I see myself as an enthusiast and I see myself racing at local races. I just don’t see myself competing at this level. Riding is a blast, and I look forward to doing it. What’s funny is all the special bikes that I have ever had, I don’t need those anymore. I can go and get a standard bike and ride that.

I want to do all the fun stuff. When you are involved in a sport so heavily, you almost are trapped sometimes. You almost feel like what is on the other side of the fence? Now I am going to find out.

I was going to milk it out just for the money. I have my own opinion about some other guys that have raced too long and it tarnishes their name a little bit. I don’t want to do that. I worked too hard let myself go up and then drag myself back down.

On the McGrath legacy:

I worked hard to get to the position I am in now. I say this because when I was younger and I watched Jeff Ward, who was a legend in my mind, he raced 2 or 3 seasons too long. He was having trouble beating the top guys back then. Jeff Ward had an unbelievable career and I felt bad for him because of the way he dragged it out a little. Ever since that day, when I was a young kid, I thought I would never do that.

On how Bud Light and KTM responded to his retirement:

Bud Light is taking it very, very well. Bud Light loved the Jeremy McGrath program. Winning and riding and all that are the icing on the cake. There are very supportive. KTM has been real supportive too. It was a really hard decision both on KTM and me because I had my relationship with everyone else and I started this one with KTM, and all of a sudden I am not going to race. Then have been really supportive. Obviously the plans we had will change now, but for the most part all we had to do was go in and talk about it and decide where to we go from here? The Monday morning (Dec 23) I was going to call everybody and I was really nervous. The best part was I called my sponsors myself and they heard it from me, and getting the overwhelming support back. When I was thinking about it I was thinking, ‘Oh, I am going to retire and everyone is leaving me,’ and that’s not true. Everyone has been awesome.

On talking to people close to him:

When I finally decided that is what I want to do I talked to my wife, and I talked to my mom and dad, and we just sat for hours and discussed it. My parents were sad in one way, but they are really happy. Sometimes the business got in the way with our relationship, and now they don’t have to do that.

What he wants people to remember about him:

What I really want to be remembered as, aside from all the championships and victories. Is that I was someone that the public could relate to. I never tried to be somebody that I wasn’t. I believe that I was very real, and a good representative for families to get involved in the sport. That to me is as important as the winning. That is where I got it from my parents.

On where he goes from here:

I don’t mind the spotlight and I never had to force myself to be a certain way, it never has. At the same time I am hoping for a bit of a break. More than anything it’s a change in the schedule. I see myself as an enthusiast and I see myself racing at local races. I just don’t see myself competing at this level. Riding is a blast, and I look forward to doing it. What’s funny is all the special bikes that I have ever had, I don’t need those anymore. I can go and get a standard bike and ride that.

I want to do all the fun stuff. When you are involved in a sport so heavily, you almost are trapped sometimes. You almost feel like what is on the other side of the fence? Now I am going to find out.