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SUPERCROSS

LaRocco Registers Long-Awaited Win

January 20, 2002|Martin Henderson

Mike LaRocco needed nearly seven years, but he finally got his eighth career supercross victory, overtaking David Vuillemin and winning Round 3 of the AMA/EA Sports Supercross Series on Saturday at Edison Field.

LaRocco, 30, last won a 250cc race on April 8, 1995, at Atlanta. And it looked like he and his Honda might have to wait even longer the way the night was developing in front of 45,050, a second consecutive sellout.

The 20-lap main event went back and forth, with Kevin Windham and Team Suzuki teammate Travis Pastrana running from the pack. But Pastrana overtook Windham six laps into the race, and Pastrana fell while racing by himself with nine laps remaining, putting Vuillemin in position to win for the third time in three races for Team Yamaha.

But La Rocco reeled in Vuillemin, passing him on the final turn of Lap 16. LaRocco, the Doc Martens team rider from Corona, was followed to the checkered flag by series leader Vuillemin, third-place Pastrana and Team Honda's Ricky Carmichael, the defending champion who has yet to have a top-three finish.

The aura of 16-year-old James "Bubba" Stewart continued to grow in the 125cc main event. Stewart, a Kawasaki Team rider, was last heading for Turn 2.

He finished second among 22 riders to Red Bull KTM rider David Pingree. In three professional races, Stewart has finished second twice, both at Anaheim, and first at San Diego last week.

"He was going so fast, it was ridiculous," Pingree said of Stewart.

Team Pro Circuit Kawasaki rider Bobby Bonds of Bakersfield was taken to UCI Medical Center after another rider landed on him at the end of a jump in the 125cc last-chance qualifier. Bonds complained of back pain.

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Martin Henderson

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