In less than three weeks the 2002 Supercross season will be underway. As with every new season, teams have new products and brands to promote. On December 14, 2001, Jeremy McGrath held a press conference in Hollywood, CA to officially talk about who his new partners would be for the 2002 racing season. Anheuser Busch representatives, industry personalities and even some beautiful Hollywood types were all there to check the hype and hear what the seven-time Supercross champion had to say.
The following were questions and answers directed towards the general media.
Q: Are you the only rider on the team?
Q: Will you pick up a 125 rider or a 250 rider in the future?
A: McGrath Racing will always concentrate on the premier 250 class. If the opportunity comes in the future we want to have a key rider.
Q: How long of a commitment has Bud Light made with McGrath Racing?
A: We at Anheuser Busch don’t disclose terms and conditions about contracts, but when we at Anheuser Busch get together with properties like the Miss Budweiser (boat) and Kenny Bernstein (top fuel dragster) we are in it for the long haul. Providing of course that the property works for us, we are going to be together as long as Jeremy wants to ride. Would you agree Jeremy?
JM: I agree!
Not being satisfied with the questioning that took place, we sat down with the King of SX for five minutes and picked his brain. This is what he had to say to us.
TransWorld Motocross: I don’t see 1 800 Collect on your fender what’s up with that?
Jeremy McGrath: All of last year’s sponsors for the team are still here, with the exception of Hansen’s and No Fear. Obviously, I will be riding Thor AST gear now. Also, I am working with Intense Mountain Bikes. The only thing we are unsure of at this point is 1 800 Collect.
TWMX: I know it’s early to be thinking about, but any thoughts on the Clear Channel/Jam Sports split in 2003?
JM: Both of them have been calling. I have a long-standing relationship with the AMA and Clear Channel. I am not armed with enough information to make a decision right now. I am in a fortunate spot because I can make my own call. I want to do what is best for the sport and I want to do what is best for the team.
TWMX: Would you say that you are in the best shape of your life right now?
JM: Yes, I would say there is no doubt about that. I have been working my butt off for about six months and I am anxious to put that to work. Last year I got a little off the path, starting a team and building a house. I let myself get off track a little bit. Now, everything else is aside and I have worked really hard to prepare for this. I am ready!
TWMX: Let’s say you and Ricky are physically prepared equally in 2003: Do you think he has an advantage because he is hungry? Or do you have the advantage for being hungry and having the experience?
JM: There are pros and cons with that. I know that when I was his age there was a burning desire in me.
TWMX: But when you were that age there was nobody racing with seven titles and a ton of experience trying to beat you!
JM: True. I think my experience is going to pay off, but I don’t like to associate my winning with experience. I want to dominate! That comes from sheer speed, heart, talent and hard work! I am still hungry and I want to win. Last year was like a slap in the face, a rude awakening. I am awake now.
TWMX: Were there any reservations going into the Bud Light deal? You do have a lot of fans that are not 21 years old and love your image.
JM: You know, 80% of Supercross fans are over 21. Obviously I am not going to promote or try to sell any little guy or girl on drinking Bud Light. It’s not smart, if you are under 21. If you are over 21 you should drink responsibly. We are working on a logo much like Dale Earnhart Jr. on his toys to market to the kids. I love the kids and I would never want to promote anything like that to them. Now we have a serious playerr in Bud Light and Anheuser Busch and it is great to have them involved in the sport.
TWMX: What will you be drinking on the podium?
JM: (he thinks for a second) Bud Light (Laughs)!
JM: It will be in a Bud Light bottle, anyway!