Jeremy McGrath - Moto A Go Go!
Monster Energy’s Jeremy McGrath just turned 41 years old, but you wouldn’t know it watching him ride. No, he doesn’t race anymore, but he’s always riding. He’s a test rider for Honda and has his own team, so his riding days are usually pretty full. But at the recent Troy Lee Designs-promoted event at Glen Helen – A Day In The Dirt – McGrath did a lot of racing, starting with the 2-stroke race on Friday, where he raced his famous 1996 Championship-winning CR250R, which was actually a 1993 CR250R with 1996 graphics and plastics. The rest of the weekend, he was on his customary CRF450R, and he was always fast. His final race of the weekend was as a teammate with Axell Hodges in the Moto A Go Go team race on Sunday, where his team unofficially finished second.
How long has it been since you rode that much in this short of a span?
Well, yeah, it’s been a while. I mean, I ride a lot still, but not for this duration of time, and to having to ride this hard. So yeah, it’s been a while since that.
When you rode that CR250R, how long did it take you to adjust back to riding something like that?
It took a while because you have to try really hard to get the bike to work, you know? So, it took a few laps. But it comes back to you; that’s just what you know. But I was really happy with the way that bike ran. It was sweet man; so fun!
Was it like the old days?
Yeah. The noise alone was just awesome. I had so much fun.
Well, that was the infamous ’96 bike that was always a ’93 frame or whatever, right?
Yeah, that’s it. That’s what I was running, yep.
Does that bike just sit at your house?
I’ve had it the whole time. Yeah, that was my practice bike back in the day.
How often do you ride it? Or how long has it been since you rode it?
I rode it at one of our Friday Night Lights races this summer, and then before that I hadn’t ridden it in probably 10 years. That race was a couple months ago, so I’ve only ridden it twice. It’s fun, though.
It looked like old school Jeremy, though, after you adjusted body positioning and stuff.
It’s a whole different setup! Like, the bars are a little higher, the bike is pretty narrow, the seat is really slippery... It’s amazing all of the little things that you don’t really notice until you get on an older bike. You’re like, “Whoa!”
And then, obviously you did the rest of the racing on the 450. I know that you’re probably in the middle of helping with a lot of testing on that and stuff too, right?
Yeah, I do that. We’re getting ready to do more and more here as the season comes up. But, for the most part I was working on the race bike in the summertime. The ’13 model. That’s what I do.
What about the rest of the weekend? As far as having competition out there and racing those desert guys on the KTMs in the team race, and the other classes. What was that like?
For me these days, it seems like there’s always competition. It’s not like it used to be. [Laughs] So it doesn’t really matter if it’s some no-name dude or whatever. Axell Hodges and myself had a good battle in the team race just now. I think we finished second. I won the Vet race yesterday. That was cool. And then Axell and I got second on Saturday also in the Stunt GP. More importantly, I’m fine. I didn’t crash. I got taken out in the team race Saturday by some guy...
Yeah, he was falling and just came across the track. He hit me and knocked me down. I knocked him straight back up and he didn’t crash!
That was nice of you!
(Laughs) Yeah, it was pretty funny. But it was a slow crash. I feel fine, just tired. Super tired.
When you come out to race stuff like this I would imagine you sort of have a target on your back for guys who go pretty fast. Do you feel that way?
I do, I do feel like that. But, I don’t mind. It pushes me, too. I don’t know. I guess I’d rather it be me...
Instead of the guy trying to take down McGrath?
Yeah, I’ll take the target. It’s fine.
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