Brutal Crash At Houston Halts Mike LaRocco¿s Supercross Season

Concussion and shoulder injury spell end to the ¿Rock¿s¿ bid for 4th place o/a

ANAHEIM, Calif., (May 3, 2005) ¿ A minor mistake in golf and you run the risk of getting a soaker as you try and fish your ball out of a pond. In baseball it¿s an `error.¿ Tennis? A `fault.¿

Make that minor mistake in supercross and you¿re out cold, scarily motionless. Once awake and back to your hotel room you¿re unable to sleep due to extreme nausea, starting the next day in so much pain that it hurts just to breathe.

It was, without a doubt, one horrific moment last Saturday for Team AMSOIL/Factory Connection/Chaparral/Honda¿s Mike LaRocco at Houston¿s Reliant Stadium. LaRocco, battling for position in a heat race No. 2, had a slight lapse in judgment and came up short on a triple jump. The ensuing crash pummeled the veteran rider¿s head into the face of the of another jump, knocking him unconscious for more than half a minute and injuring his shoulder. (“One of the shoulders I’ve had surgery on,” joked LaRocco.)

Dry sense of humor still very much intact, LaRocco was in fairly good spirits on Monday despite the carnage. He explained he has what physicians refer to as a ¿Level 3¿ concussion. But he’s not really sure of the extent of his shoulder injury because, again joking, “I’m too sore to lift my arm yet.”

So, because of the concussion and doctors orders, no riding for two weeks ¿ which means LaRocco won¿t boot up and race this weekend at the THQ/AMA Supercross Series¿ final event at Las Vegas’ Sam Boyd Stadium. Noteworthy in the final race is that, heading into Houston, LaRocco had a comfortable 18-point lead over rival David Vuillemin for fourth overall in the 250 class standings. LaRocco¿s DNF meant that Vuillemin closed the lead to two points, 229-227, and looks like he will most certainly overtake LaRocco for the fourth o/a spot in the 250 class this weekend.

¿You know, for me to worry about 4th or 5th, the risk versus reward is just not worth it,¿ he said. ¿David (Vuillemin) and I ended up racing against each other quite a bit this year and I was fortunate to be out in front of him almost every time.¿

LaRocco winds up in fifth place overall. Is he pleased with that?

¿Honestly, it¿s a pretty unsettling season,¿ he explained. ¿I know from the beginning of the year where I wanted to be ¿ and that¿s pretty far apart from where I wound up. I¿ve had a hard time coming to terms with that I¿m just not fast enough anymore.¿

So does this mean ¿The Rock¿ won¿t be returning for the supercross season next year?

Added LaRocco with a smile: ¿Gives me something to do over the summer I guess.¿

Stay tuned…