AMA Lucas Oils Pro Motocross Championship Series
Legends and Heroes Race at Ironman Raceway
Story by Don L. Schneider
Photos by Don L. Schneider and Kurt Bauer
CRAWFORDSVILLE, IN, AUG. 21-22, 2015
I was on hand to witness a fine group of “Legends and Heroes” of the sports of Motocross and Supercross take the fans by storm on August 21 and 22, 2015, in Crawfordsville, Indiana. In my humble opinion, it was a true testament to what the coolest crowd wanted to see more and more of.
There is always a first time for everything! If you don’t take a chance – then you are nothing like me. I feel that I have been blessed to have experienced more of the motocross/supercross world than my family and friends will ever be able to. Motocross has given me a family of friends away from my homes across the United States of America, the land of the free and the home of the brave. I served my country for six years, and wish that more people would try it.
Let me give you my rendition of the events as they unfolded.
As I drove up to the media tent, I ran into Gabrielle Dovidio, who was checking authorizations. Check-in went as quick as a hot knife through butter. She then pointed to the special parking area, where I met David, who kindly thanked me for being there and pointed me down the left side of the fenced area close to the Pro racers’ pits (…not to be confused with armpits).
Luckily, I had arrived in time to watch the Legends and Heroes practice session on Friday, August 21. Grabbing some photos as I watched them in awe and listened to “Lerch” as he announced them so dramatically was a treat in itself. It was great to see the fans lining the track, clapping and yelling – and blasting a few air horns to boot.
When I spoke to the Legends and Heroes later, it was truly apparent that they enjoyed every second of that tribute to them all. I was fortunate enough to capture their interviews on camera after their main moto on Saturday. [You can check out Don’s YouTube channel for more at https://youtu.be/0m-ZE5BCf2A… Editor]
After the practice session was over, I walked through the pits and around the sides of the track, and I met several people. It was great to see National number 69, Ronnie Stewart, and his mechanics and pit tootsies. (On Wednesday evening, I had gotten a call to see if I could help Stewart locate some VP Racing Fuel. I happened to ask them if the Indiana VP dealer had helped them out, and the answer was yes, so, thanks, Bruce Hendel at the VP Racing Fuels Corporate Office in Texas, for helping the privateers!)
When I spoke with Dwayne Williams of www.VitalMx.com, I received a call from Brad Gebhardt at www.BigMxRadio.com, who wanted to do a live, on-scene podcast, so I sat down at the first turn where track workers were continuing to prep the track and banner crews were putting up more sponsors’ signs. [That podcast can be heard at http://bigmxradio.com/podcast/ironman-national-pre-race-show-don-schneider/… Editor]
After concluding the podcast, I met track owner Kenny Shaver and his partners in crime, Joe Woodrow and Sam Shelton. We talked about my impressions of the track and the people who have worked behind the scenes to make this all happen. We also spoke about how the Four-Stroke Nationals became the stepping stone to what the motocross industry has come to now-a-days. It was a great 20 or so minutes of camaraderie; thank you, guys.
I then was reminded of Dr. Dave Myers, the father of former Professional Four-Stroke National rider Scott Myers, who had contacted me via Facebook, asking if I could pick him up a couple of T-shirts. As fate would have it, I then ran into two pretty gals who were working the John Ayers’ MotoTees display, and I asked if I could make them famous… as in, would they would pose for a photo or two? Thanks, Jessi and Jacqi Knox, for hooking a guy up with some T-shirts!
I then met Todd Wilcox and Barb Kamph, who asked me if I knew anything about the $210 Special VIP passes they had.
“Sure,” I replied, “there is the VIP area, where they are giving away a Kawasaki, and the Pizza Party will be at the same place with the Pros.”
They had purchased the VIP tickets for Red Budd and High Point and now the Ironman National in Crawfordsville. I tried to convince them to make the trek to Washougal, Washington, next year as well.
Then, as I was standing near the press tent, I ran into a longtime friend and former Four-Stroke National Motocross rider, Dano Legere, who was waving at all the girls walking by. So I yelled real loud: “Dano Legere, what are you doing here!?”
He turned, smiled, and quickly walked toward me, and then he gave me a man-hug and a fist-bump. It is always great to run into such good friends.
I then saw National number 38, Matt Bisceglia, and his father, Don, at the GEICO Honda pits. I recalled the times I’d seen Don race as a Pro in Oregon and also watching as his son grew up to be the number-one finisher on the team in 2015.
But the biggest highlight of walking the pits was meeting the model for MotoSports.com, Katharine Anne, and the model for RCH/ Soaring Eagle Casino/ Suzuki, Miss Angela Phelps, as they are my Facebook friends.
And then I came across the trackside announcers for MavTV: NBC Sports’ Georgia Lyndsey and Jason Weigandt. It was amazing to me that it’s been 11 years since I had given Weigandt and Kevin Kelly a chance to announce with my main announcer, Brian Barnes, at the Four-Stroke Nationals in Floresville, Texas.
I met up with some of my priceless friends in Seattle that weekend, Danielle and Tony Alessi, and Mike, too. What a great family. Tony and Danielle had shipped me a jersey, autographed by Mike, and it arrived the day before my road trip to Indiana.
The Roster for the Legends and Heroes Race
Ricky Carmichael, 10-time Pro Motocross Champion
Jeff Emig, three-time Pro Motocross Champion
Jeff Stanton, three-time Pro Motocross Champion
Guy Cooper, 1990 125cc Pro Motocross National Champion
Kevin Windham, 17-time Pro Motocross National Winner
Robbie Reynard, five-time Pro Motocross National Winner
Tim Ferry, three-time Motocross National Winner
Todd DeHoop, with 28 career top-10 Pro Motocross finishes
Jason Thomas, with five career top-10 Pro Motocross finishes
Tom Hofmaster, with 25 career Pro Motocross starts
Junior Jackson, with five career Pro Motocross starts
John Grewe, with one career Pro Motocross start
All eyes (and cameras) were focused on the MotoSport.com holeshot line as the crowd of nearly 30,000 fans were screaming, clapping, and blowing air horns.
When the gate dropped, Guy Cooper launched his MotoSport.com Honda CRF450R off the groomed dirt pad like he was shot out of a cannon. It reminded me of taking his Pro class at Washougal, Washington, back in the day when I was a competitive motocross racer myself. Learning his techniques made me realize that it’s not every day you can pull a holeshot on 39 other riders at once. He told me this in Lakewood, Colorado, at round eight of the Four-Stroke Motocross Nationals in the year 2004: “I don’t really know what it sounds like to be behind 39 of those loud four-strokes,” he’d said, adding with a chuckle, “That is why I focus on how quiet it is being in front of them!”
(I highly recommend looking up Guy Cooper in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and taking a Pro class or an Amateur class soon.)
Guy “Airtime” Cooper’s (this author’s son’s namesake, by the way) had Jason Thomas so close to him as they crossed the white line that all of a sudden Thomas’ bike locked up and mayhem began to take its toll: Jeff Emig went right and Kevin Windham went left, and they and Ricky Carmichael were all within a few feet of one another. Thomas hit the soil. As Cooper went a bit too wide, Todd DeHoop twisted the throttle and sped into second, and the heat was on!
Rounding the first turn, Emig and Carmichael could have reached out and given each other a high-five. Junior Jackson went way wide, while Jeff Stanton carved his way into fifth. Robbie Reynard was in sixth, followed by Timmy Ferry, John Grewer, Tommy Hofmaster and Trevor Vines.
Cooper’s bright moments only lasted for only two straightaways and two corners. DeHoop charged down the outside left of Cooper and set himself up for the next roller and the inside line down the rough third straightaway. As the Legends and Heroes headed into turn four, the gnarly rollers kicked Cooper’s bike sideways and he got a little squirrelly and cross-rutted. Quickly recovering, Cooper went wide in turn four. Carmichael and Emig and Windham were within striking distance of DeHoop, and the battle was on as they headed to the “Face of Godzilla” jump.
Heading down the fifth straightaway on the gnarly, deeply rutted and whooped-out track, Carmichael – with the famed number four and aboard the RCH/ Soaring Eagle/ Jimmy John’s Suzuki RMZ450 – never backed off. As the duo of DeHoop and Carmichael cleared the last jump heading to the Face of Godzilla, Carmichael was not to be denied: His rear end “geed” out and he cleared the top up and over, just like all the top 40 riders in the AMA Outdoor National Motocross Series in both the 450cc and 250cc classes (with the exception of Gerad Steinke, who rides a two-stroke KTM 125 in the 250cc class – but that’s another story…)
Windham also had his Honda braaaping up Godzilla, and after landing, he cut up the inside, while Cooper went wide at the top of the hill and apparently went down heading back down the next hill.
Windham set out after DeHoop and made the pass on lap two. Carmichael was only three seconds out, and it seemed like the crowd was yelling for Windham to get closer.
Not to be denied, Reynard made a pass on Stanton and motored in fifth, behind Emig, heading into lap three. All of a sudden, Emig slowed with a flat rear tire, and his race was over.
Ferry used an outside line and also passed Stanton within the next straight. Ferry kept after it and sped past Windham with one lap remaining.
Now, most eyes were on Reynard. He was picking up the pace as the white flag was coming out, signaling one lap remaining. Reynard also passed DeHoop in the air when DeHoop went sideways in a whooped-out section of the track. Reynard was not backing down.
With two corners remaining, Reynard closed in so close that cameras were snapping pictures and their flashes were like wildfire, and it was apparent that Carmichael did not see Reynard coming, as Carmichael was taking a gander to his left and waving at the fans.
At the checkered flag, it was Carmichael by a couple of seconds. Reynard took a well-earned second for his gallant efforts. Ferry was third, Windham finished fourth and DeHoop was fifth.
That one-of-a-kind event will hopefully be a real deal for the future of motocross. I, myself, was stoked to the max! It was the newest venue in the world’s most prestigious outdoor motocross racing series, but also a rare opportunity for the sport’s most successful names to showcase their talents years after they’d hung up their racing boots.
[To check out Don’s final podcast on www.BigMxRadio.com about the weekend, please go to http://bigmxradio.com/podcast/ironman-national-review-with-don-schneider/ … Editor]
So – what was the coolest part of the Legends race? According to a poll, it was 53-year-old Guy “Airtime” Cooper launching off an uphill triple on the second lap of practice; that moment garnered 66.5 percent of the votes.
Other popular moments included Jeff Stanton racing in his old Motocross des Nations gear; Jeff Emig getting a flat but cheering on Ricky Carmichael from the sidelines; Carmichael and Windham chasing each other; podium finishes for Robbie Reynard and Tim Ferry; and, of course, Carmichael’s victory.
Results: August 21-22, 2015
LEGENDS AND HEROES RACE: 1: Ricky Carmichael; 2: Robbie Reynard; 3: Timmy Ferry; 4: Kevin Windham; 5: Todd DeHoop; 6: Jeff Stanton; 7: John Grewe; 8. Guy Cooper; 9. Tommy Hofmaster; 10. Junior Jackson; 11. Jeff Emig; 12. Jason Thomas.