LA CANADA, Calif. (August 28, 2001) - In the three-year history of the THQ U.S. Open, The World's Richest Motorcycle Race, three distinct champions have taken home a lion's share of more than $100,000 each. This prestigious two-day event has included the biggest names in motocross: Jeremy McGrath, Ricky Carmichael, Jeff Emig, Mike LaRocco, and more.
In the THQ U.S. Open's inaugural year, 1998, names like Ricky Carmichael, Jeremy McGrath, and Ryan Hughes were the odds-on favorites heading into the bar-bangin' extravaganza. However, Team Suzuki's Damon Huffman, who did not compete in the supercross and motocross seasons with a broken femur, used the THQ U.S. Open as his comeback event, with little expectations placed on his shoulders. On the second night of the two-day competition Huffman was crowned The THQ U.S. Open's first champion.
"I went into the race with little expectations, and that helped me a lot," said Huffman. "The track is so technical, and for some reason I had everything going perfect. In my heat race, I knew that I had my starts wired, and at this race, starts are so important. At the time, I was still recovering from my injury, so I was a little cautious, but that helped smooth my riding style. It was the fastest $100,000 I have ever earned."
The second annual THQ U.S. Open was a magical one for former supercross and motocross champion Jeff Emig. During the 1999 season of outdoor motocross, Emig, who was riding for Team Kawasaki, was released from the team. Without a ride, Emig re-grouped with friend Tim Dixon and pursuit of winning the THQ U.S. Open.
"When Jeff heard of this event, he said he wanted to win it," said Dixon. "He was unable to race in the inaugural event, but was hungry to return in '99. After he left Kawasaki, he tested every bike on the market and decided that the Yamaha was the best bike for the THQ U.S. Open. We rented a van and drove there like a couple of privateers and won the thing with barely any support."
At the time, Emig did not know he was riding the last major race of his career. In typical Emig fashion, he rode his way into the history books with a win. In months to come Emig, while preparing for the supercross season, suffered a career-ending injury, forcing him to watch the competition rather than dominate it.
Before 2000, Team Chevy Trucks Kawasaki's Ricky Carmichael had yet to prove himself indoors on the larger 250cc motorcycle. Carmichael, who had won a 125cc supercross championship, dedicated his off-season to winning the 250cc supercross championship by hiring a personal trainer. The training paid off for Carmichael, as he showed up at the THQ U.S. Open 20 pounds lighter. Carmichael put an exclamation point on how serious he was about winning on a 250cc indoors, dominating both nights of racing with run away victories.
Tickets for this year's event can be purchased online at www.ussx.com <http://www.ussx.com>, through the MGM Grand box office or by calling Ticketmaster at (702) 474-4000.