“LaRocket” Takes Off
AMSOIL Rider Off to Fast Start in 2001 Supercross Season
Mike LaRocco continues to amaze even his detractors. His skills have never been a question. “LaRocket” is a two-time National Motocross Champion. His desire has never been a question. LaRocco won the 2001 World Championship in Germany earlier this year.
What people wonder is how much longer will the veteran ride. Can “The Predator”ride with the young guns coming up? The answer is a resounding, yes.
This is the 14th year in the saddle for the AMSOIL/Dr.Martens/Journeys/Competition Accessories rider and he shows no signs of slowing down. According to supercross.com, “He’s (Mike) riding with a new determination and style. He's still having fun and it shows on the track.”
The 2001 Supercross season started with high hopes and major expectations for Team AMSOIL. New sponsors, Dr. Martens and Journeys, were added. Two new 125cc riders, Branden Jessemen and Steve Boniface, were added. Honda again pledged full support. All the pieces were in place for a great season.
"My speed is good and the bikes are good... I have a real good shot at a title."
- Mike LaRocco 2001 World Champion
Everything kicked off in Anaheim, California on January 6, 2001. It began this year with a pyrotechnic, sound and light extravaganza. Writers and followers of supercross expected AMSOIL and LaRocco to be tough, but would his senior statuson the circuit finally take its toll.
LaRocco got off to slow start, but charged from the middle of the pack to gain a fourth place finish. It was a strong showing. LaRocco’s racing was politely characterized as, “Steady. Consistent. Hard charging as always.” LaRocco’s team knew he rode better than that and could have been on the podium if not for acouple of bad breaks.
AMSOIL 125cc rider Steve Boniface made his American debut here. Highhopes were dashed when the Frenchman fell and broke his wrist. He’ll be out untilmid-season. AMSOIL’s other 125cc rider, Branden Jesseman, will make his debut when the circuit moves through the Midwest.
Three of the next four races would be in sunny southern California. LaRocco would find his form. He got to the front and stayed with the front-runners. His hard racing style earned him second place in San Diego and athird place in Phoenix. The trip to the “Valley of the Sun” would be costly. LaRocco broke his foot. It’s not expected to slow him down. He also picked up a fourth on a return trip to Anaheim. Last year, “The Predator” finished an overall third on the supercross circuit. It’s a long season. Expect AMSOIL and LaRocco to taste more success and finish among the leaders when the last checkered flag drops.