200th race a `milestone¿ in the history of supercross
ANAHEIM, Calif., (March 5, 2004) ¿ The word ¿Ironman¿ is used through out the sporting world as the pinnacle definition of longevity and toughness, the ability to overcome great odds in one¿s sport. Names like Gehrig and Ripken are synonymous with the term Ironman. In motosports, famed off-road truck racer Ivan Stewart has been given the moniker of Ironman. However, the sport of motorcycle racing has really yet to crown a racer deserving of the title ¿ until now. South Bend, Indiana¿s Mike ¿The Rock¿ LaRocco, 33, is about to re-write the supercross racing history books, becoming the first athlete to compete in 200 supercross races.
To put this in proper perspective, supercross is a brutally tough high-wire sport where competitors are considered ¿veterans¿ at age 25. In fact, the current supercross 125cc champion, James Stewart – a fearless 18-years-old – won his first title when supercross racers can turn pro at age 16. One glance across the starting line at all of the main events this year and it would take you, not one hand, but ONE FINGER to count all the athletes in excess of 30 years of age competing in the 250cc class.
And what makes LaRocco¿s feat even more amazing is that he¿s the only rider to actually win a supercross event in each of the last three decades. A testament to his hardcore weight/aerobic training regiment, coupled with his unflinching mindset, LaRocco is a stand-alone athlete that¿s withstood a myriad of bone-snapping, muscle-ripping injuries to reach ¿ and remain among ¿ the few elite riders in the world who possess the ability to win races.
“The bottom line is that it’s still a challenge for me,” said LaRocco. “I’m there – but not at the very top. This keeps me hungry, keeps me working hard and all because I enjoy the challenge.”
Barring injury, LaRocco will start and complete his 200th race tonight (March 5th) at Daytona. Once completed, the ceremony honoring LaRocco and his amazing accomplishment will take place on Saturday, March 13th, at St. Louis¿ Edward Jones Dome. For more information, please contact Denny Hartwig at Clear Channel Motorsports (630) 566-6100 or Pat Schutte at OMS Sports (734) 222-0688.
Mike ¿The Rock¿ LaRocco¿s 250cc supercross facts-at-a-glance:
- LaRocco is the only athlete to ever win a supercross in three different decades (125 and 250 class).
- Has lined up for the starting gate in 16 consecutive seasons.
- Has started a supercross on four different brands (Suzuki, Kawasaki, Yamaha & Honda) and has scored a podium finish on all of those brands.
- Has won a supercross on three different brands (Suz., Kaw., Hon.)
- First supercross 125cc start: 1988
- First supercross 250cc class start: 1989
- First 250 class podium: Daytona, `89
- First 250 class win: Las Vegas, `91
- Total wins: 9
- Total podiums: 72
- Total Top 5 finishes: 126
- Total Top 10 finishes: 171
- Longest span without a win: 95 rounds (won Round 10 in ¿95 to Round 3 in ¿02)
Top Four All-Time 250 Starts (as of Round 7)
|1. Mike LaRocco|
|2. Larry Ward|
|3. Jeremy McGrath|
LaRocco¿s Outdoor National Series (motocross) records
- Last rider to win a 500cc Outdoor National Series title (¿93)
- Outdoor National Series 250cc class overall champion (¿94)
- Won his first Outdoor National 250cc race (¿93 at Glen Helen, Calif.)
- Won his first Outdoor National 125cc race (¿90 at Millville, Minn.)