Nov 28, 2001
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Copyright 2001, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.<BR><BR>By David Swarts<BR><BR>During a Yamaha Media Day Tuesday, November 27 at Irwindale Speedway, we asked Supercross legend Jeremy McGrath what he thought of the impending Supercross split between AMA Pro Racing and Clear Channel Motorsports.<BR><BR>"I think…I don't know," hesitated a clearly concerned McGrath. "I think for me, personally, I don't have enough info on the situation to really make a good call. But it seems to me, based on what I know, that Clear Channel has a pretty good stronghold on the stadiums, and I think that's really important. <BR><BR>"I'm in kind of a unique situation because I have my own team. A lot of the factory teams are associated with AMA which could be one way or the other. I just really don't know. I hope it doesn't do what IRL and CART did.<BR><BR>"You're kind of in a weird situation. The sport's at its highest all-time level. You know, it's a bad thing to split, but if you're gonna split and make changes, it's a good time to do it – when it's high. You'd never want to do it when it's low. I don't really know what the motivation is behind it. So I can't really call."<BR><BR>RW: Is there anything that the participants and team owners in Supercross are lacking that AMA is trying to provide them?<BR><BR>"I don't know those types of things because the manufacturers…we don't deal with the manufacturers on a daily basis. The team manager at Yamaha deals with my team manager Larry Brooks. But as far as all of the stuff goes, the inside information, I have no idea," said McGrath, again trying to avoid taking an early stance on the situation.<BR><BR>RW: Have you heard what any of the other guys in Supercross are thinking or worried about or fear? <BR><BR>"It should be interesting," admitted newly-engaged McGrath. "This year is gonna be kind of weird because everyone knows that it's gonna happen. So everyone (AMA and Clear Channel) is gonna be acting on their best behavior trying to get the riders to sway one way or the other. I don't really know. I'd like to hear a bunch more information before I kind of make some kind of judgement."<BR><BR>RW: Do you have any fear for Supercross?<BR><BR>"Yeah, I do," stated the multi-time Supercross Champion. "Yeah, I've kind of helped with the sport, and I'm really bummed in a way because it's great right now. If there was some way they could work it out and do it together, it would be the ultimate decision, but it just doesn't seem like it's going to happen. I fear for the sport, for sure. It took a long time to build it up to this and it could wreck it. Who knows."<BR><BR>RW: Do you think the factory involvement will decide? Wherever the factories go, that's gonna be the show?<BR><BR>"I don't think so," said McGrath. "Because Clear Channel has lock on all the stadiums, they have the big show. AMA has the AMA, but AMA, in my personal opinion, shouldn't be promoting races. They're a sanctioning body. What all of a sudden makes them promoters? But that's just my personal (opinion). I don't know what's gonna happen. It just seems, why does the AMA all of a sudden want to be a promoter, you know what I mean?"<BR><BR>On a different note…<BR><BR>RW: What's the key to getting outside-the-industry sponsors into two-wheel sports?<BR><BR>"You know, I think that it's very hard to get an outside sponsor," explained McGrath. "We've worked a long time. We've created a lot of relationships by networking and stuff like that. For me, it's a different case because I've won so much it's kind of become a household name. With a lot of the extreme sport movement, it was bound to happen, but it's a little bit easy to sell me than it is to sell someone else in our sport other than maybe (Ricky) Carmichael now because he's getting known and Pastrana a little bit, too. I don't know. We've had extremely good luck in that department, and I have a good group of guys working for me doing it."<BR><BR>RW: What happened to your budding road racing career? (McGrath rode a Yamaha YZF-R6 in November of 2000 during a private Yamaha test at Willow Springs International Raceway.) <BR><BR>"That was a blast!" smiled SuperMac. "I had fun. I was really terrible at it, but I loved it. I mean it's really hard to trust the tires and stuff because in motocross it's so opposite, you know. But I had a blast. I'd love to do it again. Me and ‘Gobie' (Anthony Gobert) and (Tommy) Hayden, we had a fun time out there. It was really cool. I was probably really slow in the corners. I really wanted to drag my knee, and I couldn't drag my knee. I was afraid to lean it over that far, but I did okay. That was my first time. I've never even really ridden a streetbike. I'm not afraid of the speed. I was going as fast as it would go on the straightaways, 160 (mph) or whatever it was. It's just weird. Just a little bit different for me."<BR><BR>RW: Did you take Gobert out on the Supercross track and show him a couple of things he was lacking?<BR><BR>"He actually rides Supercross really well. So I don't have to show him much. For a road racer, he does a good job on a Supercross track," laughed McGrath.<BR><BR><BR>(Gobert is the former Australian Supercross Champion, dominating motocross in that country before he took up road racing full time.)