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Supermoto Dallas preview

Seven-time AMA Supercross Champ has been on the supermoto podium twice PICKERINGTON, Ohio (Oct. 13, 2003) -- Jeremy McGrath feels like he's overdue for a victory in the AMA Red Bull Supermoto Championship. The AMA Supercross racing legend has...

Seven-time AMA Supercross Champ has been on the supermoto podium twice

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (Oct. 13, 2003) -- Jeremy McGrath feels like he's overdue for a victory in the AMA Red Bull Supermoto Championship. The AMA Supercross racing legend has led races and been close to victory twice in this inaugural season of the championship, but despite earning podium finishes in both races he's competed in this year, McGrath has yet to take to top spot on the box. He'll try to change that this weekend in round four of the AMA Red Bull Supermoto Championship when it visits Dallas, Texas, on Saturday, Oct. 18. This weekend's race is being held in Dallas' downtown business district near Reunion Arena. This will be the second event in the inaugural season to run in an urban setting.

McGrath led most of the series opener at Laguna Seca in July, before making a slip and eventually finishing third. McGrath missed the final of the rain-delayed round two in South Boston, Va., but came back and ran a strong race in Columbus, Ohio, earlier this month. McGrath worked his way up to second mid-way through the race and was charging to the front only to be thwarted when his Honda developed an oil leak in the later laps.

"I think I had a good chance (to win) in Columbus," said McGrath, who is third in the series standings coming into Dallas. "I'm still learning a lot on how to race this series and I'm having a blast. Hopefully I'll finally get a break and win one of these things."

While McGrath is seeking his first win, his Troy Lee Designs Honda teammate Jeff Ward is flying high after winning his second supermoto race in Columbus. Ward, a multi-time AMA Motocross and Supercross champion during the 1980s, is experiencing a revival of his motorcycle-racing career after a decade away racing Indy Cars. At 42, the Scottish-born Ward is showing no signs of slowing down. In fact his fellow competitors have described his late-braking inside passes as wild and daring. But Ward sees some of the younger generation riders catching on to the tricks of the supermoto trade very quickly.

Ward cites young Red Bull HMC KTM gun Benjamin Carlson as a rider to watch. Carlson, an 18-year-old who comes from the flat-track ranks, led 16 of the 20 laps in Columbus before crashing under pressure from Ward. "He was riding extremely fast," said Ward of Carlson. "And we've got to keep working hard to stay up with these young guys."

Tied with Ward atop the supermoto standings is Pacifico Saunders Suzuki's Mark Avard. Avard has been flying back and forth to his home in Australia and is not expected to make the Dallas round. He plans on returning for the Nov. 1 race in Irwindale, Calif., and then focusing on the championship race in Las Vegas On Nov. 21.

Perhaps the biggest surprise in the Columbus race was the performance of former AMA Motocross Champion Doug Henry. Riding in his very first pro supermoto race, Henry ran near the front all day and managed to finish third even though he crashed halfway through the final. Henry is expected to be a frontrunner at Dallas on his Team Motodynamics Tuluie Yamaha. "This is great being back on track with Jeremy (McGrath) and Wardy," Henry said. "I learned a lot following them around in Columbus."

Chris Fillmore, a 16-year-old racing phenom from Oxford, Mich., leads the Supermoto Unlimited class. Fillmore is part of the powerful Red Bull HMC KTM Supermoto Racing Team. Fillmore's teammate Benjamin Carlson closed to within eight points of Fillmore after winning the Unlimited class in Columbus. Former AMA Superbike star Larry Pegram, also of the Red Bull HMC KTM team, is third in the series. Dallas might provide a good opportunity for Pegram to move up in the standings since the track has a larger portion of road racing sections than the Columbus circuit, which had a large motocross and flat track section.

South Boston winner Doug Chandler will miss Dallas after breaking his leg at the start of the Supermoto Unlimited race in Columbus. Chandler hopes to be ready for the championship race in Las Vegas next month.

For additional information on the Dallas Supermoto round contact (800) 326-4000. Tickets can be purchased via Ticketmaster at www.ticketmaster.com. The race will be taped for a Nov. 13 airing on Outdoor Life Network.

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Series AMA
Drivers Larry Pegram , Jeff Ward , Jeremy McGrath , Doug Chandler , Chris Fillmore , Mark Avard , Doug Henry