Throwback Thursday: Emig’s 1997 Dallas Supercross Mudder Win

Larry Lawrence | November 23, 2017
Jeff Emig gets a great start in the 1997 Dallas Supercross.
Jeff Emig (3) nails the holeshot on his factory Kawasaki en route to winning the 1997 Dallas Supercross. Ryan Hughes (9) is also in a great position with Mike Kiedrowski (100) right behind him. At the top right of the shot you can see series contender Jeremy McGrath fallen in the mud after crashing his factory Suzuki. Damon Huffman (17) has also hit the deck in the treacherous conditions with Greg Albertyn (8) doing an excellent job of avoiding him. You can also see Jimmy Button (18), Michael Craig (15) and Rusty Holland (72) in the shot. (Cycle News Collection/Kinney Jones)

It was all on the line at the 1997 Dallas Supercross at Texas Stadium. Kawasaki’s Jeff Emig and Suzuki’s Jeremy McGrath were in a tight battle for the championship with Fro leading MC by just six points coming into the event. If McGrath could win, it would basically be winner-take-all in the season finale at Las Vegas. But things got a little complicated when rains in the days leading up to the Dallas round made the track a quagmire.

Both title contenders made it through cleanly in the qualifiers, with Emig and McGrath winning their respective heat races. But the sloppy conditions ended up playing a factor after all in the main. Emig (3) got a great start and rocketed to the front en route to victory. McGrath on the other hand, got pushed wide at the start by Michael Craig and ran into Buddy Antunez and went down. In this great capture by longtime SX photographer Kinney Jones, you can just see McGrath piling into a haybale on the upper right.

On the left side of the shot, Damon Huffman (17) has fallen and Greg Albertyn (8) is doing his best to avoid him.

McGrath did an amazing job of minimizing the damage, getting back up and charging back up to fourth in spite of being covered head to toe with thick mud.

It was a pivotal moment in the ’97 Thor/Parts Unlimited AMA Supercross Series. Emig’s mastery of the Dallas mud gave him a 13-point cushion going into the finale. He would go on to win the championship stopping McGrath’s streak of Supercross crowns at four. McGrath of course would come back and win three more consecutive titles starting in 1998 to bring his record career tally to seven.

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