Kevin Windham Cleans Up

Jean Turner | October 8, 2006

Night two of the Jeremy McGrath Invitational started out on a somber note upon hearing that McGrath was hospitalized with a broken back. No one, including McGrath, realized the severity of his injuries from Friday night’s get off during the timed practice laps, but after a more thorough examination on Saturday, it was determined that Jeremy had two fractures to his C7. And although he was alright, he would remain hospitalized.

Devastated that he couldn’t even attend his own inaugural event, Jeremy was also reluctant to break the news to fans before the event because he still wanted to have a fun show and great racing. But even from his hospital bed, Jeremy had to have been pleased at the level of entertainment on the second night of the McGrath Invitational.

Like the night before, the evening program featured some great motos, but once again, it was the bracket races which stole the show. Competition grew more intense on the second night, with the riders now having tried their hands at the head-to-head format from Friday night. There were truly no holds barred, and in some cases, the gloves came completely off with some serious stuffing and bar-banging going on.

The heated Josh Hansen vs. Eric Sorby race had fans on their feet. Sorby grabbed the holeshot, but was solidly stuffed by Hansen in the next turn. Sorby returned the favor in the following turn, and for the next two laps, they had at each other. Toward the end, Sorby was in the lead, but not able shake Hansen who was doing all he could to get back out front. In the last turn, Hansen dove inside and delivered another blow, but Sorby didn’t budge, and took the checkers.

The David Vuillemin vs. Josh Grant race also sent the crowd into a frenzy. Into the first turn, Vuillemin got the inside and practically punted Grant into the cheap seats as he took the lead. Grant charged after him, looking to give it back, and began to reel in DV. Coming out of the whoops, Grant got on the inside, and was oh-so-close to putting a nice clean pass on DV, but he spun out a little bit, giving it back to Vuillemin. It wasn’t until the very last turn where Grant would make his move again, this time a little less than clean with a full-contact shove, nearly running DV off the track. After the finish line, Grant clipped Vuillemin’s front tire, sending DV to the ground. The crowd went wild as Grant reveled in his triumph, arms up in a victory cross.

But ultimately, it was all Windham. K-Dub took the final head-to-head race against Grant, and once again took the bracket race victory. He followed that up with another win in the Final Race, making him the big winner for the weekend, taking all four main events.

“Biggest payday ever!” Windham kept exclaiming, as it began to sink in that he would be walking away from the Jeremy McGrath Invitational $185,000 richer ($125K for the Final Race overall, and another 60-large for the bracket race wins). Josh Grant came away with some padding in his pockets, too, taking second overall in the Final Races, as well as the bracket races.

Grant’s third place behind Vuillemin in Saturday’s Main Event gave him second overall, and he also claimed second in the Bracket winnings, leaving him with some padding in his pockets, as well.

In fact, all the riders in the Jeremy McGrath Invitational came away with a few grand, keeping true to the promise of being the richest race in Supercross history. After wowing fans the way it did – and especially now that fans and riders alike all have a better grasp of the race format – hopefully we can count on seeing the JMI return again in 2007.

If you missed this weekend’s action at the Home Depot Center, don’t worry. Look for it on NBC airing on October 22, 2006.

Jean Turner | Contributor

A former staffer at Cycle News, Turner continues to contribute to the website and magazine as a columnist and someone we can count on to whip up a few thousand words on an off-road race when needed.