For all of their soaring, daredevilish feats, motocross racers sure have a way of getting down and dirty when it comes to scrambling around the track. Watch the dust fly on Saturday, January 26, when the 2002 EA Sports Supercross Series brings 125cc and 250cc cycle action to Bank One Ballpark.
Taking dirt bikes from the back roads to the big-time arenas, supercross is the fastest-growing motor sport in the world, quickly catching up with NASCAR in popularity. Last year's Phoenix event attracted more than 49,000 fans -- a Bank One Ballpark attendance figure topped only by the World Series.
In nearly every city hosting one of these races, "it's outselling their own NFL team in their own stadium," says Mark Abernethy, spokesman for Clear Channel Entertainment's Motor Sports division.
2002 EA Sports Supercross Series
Bank One Ballpark, 401 East Jefferson
Supercross practice and qualifying rounds start at 12:30 p.m. and racing starts at 7 p.m. Saturday, January 26. For tickets, priced from $10 to $40, visit www.pacesupercross.com, www.ticketmaster.com or call 480-784-4444. Members of the Honda Racing Team, along with 2001 EA Supercross Champion Ricky Carmichael, will sign autographs from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Friday, January 25, at Metro Motorsports, 6161 West Bell in Glendale. For more information, call 602-843-5000.
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Growing legions of fans for this extreme sport are drawn not only to the raw energy of the races, but to the bold athleticism of the riders, who use their whole bodies to handle the bikes. Catching air and handling the sharp curves requires incredible strength and agility.
Watching the competition is very emotional, too, says Honda Racing Team member Ernesto Fonseca, 125cc Western Regional Champion for 2001. Having trained since the age of 5 in his native Costa Rica, Fonseca was 11 when he finally visited the U.S. to compete.
"The first time I ever went to a supercross, it really gave me chills because I knew how hard it was," he says.
Fonseca especially encourages curious first-timers to check out the action. "You'll be amazed," he promises.