FLASHBACK FRIDAY | REMEMBER THE ALAMO
In 1996 Jeremy McGrath, Jeff Emig, Steve Lamson and Kevin Windham ruled the motocross roost. But once the official AMA Nationals were over, the 1996 off-season money train started with the Mexican-promoted, four-race International Supercross series that pitted the best Mexico had to offer against some of the best American riders. With the big races behind them, racing becomes a free-for-all for privateers and down-on-their-luck factory riders. It’s not that the highly paid factory superstars quit racing during the off-season; it is that they have the finances and wherewithal to pick and choose the races they will race (and that is usually the ones that pay them pre-race start money or are in exotic locales).
For ’96, the off-season money train started in the Alamodome, then the home of the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs. If you think that a basketball arena isn’t big enough to house a motocross event, you’re dead wrong. Not only was the Alamodome big enough to hold a Supercross, but you could put many of the AMA Supercross stadiums inside the cavernous confines of the Alamodome.
The prize? $9000 to the winner. The contenders? Phil Lawrence, Buddy Antunez, Kyle Lewis, Jimmy Button, Denny Stephenson, Corey Keeney, Kim Ashkenazi, Pedro Gonzalez, Brian Swink, Mike Brown and Chad Pederson.
The track? How did the massive Alamodome only produce a track with 30-second lap times. Easy, the promoters only used half of the dome. Alamodome management curtained off half of the dome floor before the Interticket promoters showed up to build the track. After seeing the track at the press intro on Thursday, they decided to lengthen the track to run behind the curtain barrier.
The atmosphere? The Alamo was the site of a little skirmish between Mexico and the Americans (actually, Texicans), but the Alamodome Supercross hosted a lot less rancor. “The best part of the off-season is hanging out with my motocross buddies without any of the team baggage,” said Denny Stephenson as he hung with Jimmy Button, Phil Lawrence, Chad Pederson, Jimmy Button and Brian Swink.
The race? If a holeshot is important in a normal race, then at the Alamodome a holeshot was a must. Every person who holeshot his heat won. So, for the main event, everyone on the starting line had only one thing on his mind—being first to the first turn. Honda of Troy’s Mike Brown motored his CR125 into the first turn ahead of 19 other screaming 125 pilots, and to no one’s surprise, Mike went on to the win in the 15-lap, 7-minute-and-30-second, $2000 125 main event (ahead of Chad Pederson and Corey Keeney).
The 250 winner? Honda of Troy’s lame-duck rider Brian Swink piloted his CR250 to an uncharacteristic holeshot at the start of the night’s big event. Race favorite Phil Lawrence provided the most excitement as he closed in on Swink midway through the 20-lap, 10-minute feature. With the help of a late crash by Phil Lawrence, Swink grabbed the $9000 victory, earning $450 every 30 seconds on his way to the victory.