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Team SoBe/Samsung/AMSOIL - 450cc
Mike LaRocco Biography

Mike Larocco

Watch closely as the supercross races unfold this year. Amongst the sea of fans packing the stadiums across the United States is a large contingent of fathers and sons. The fathers lean over to their sons during the opening ceremonies and say, "I'm rooting for the No. 5 bike."

Without a doubt one of the fan favorites, Mike LaRocco, 33, is the elder statesman of the field. The perennial contender known around the paddock as The Rock has also proven himself to be one of the most dedicated family men on the circuit. When he's not training or riding, Mike LaRocco can be found with his family, wife Elizabeth and six-year-old son Ryder, riding ATVs on their homestead in Michigan or making a game out of their travels to races. LaRocco is a favorite among everyone from young fans to families who admire his hard-core work ethic, amazing longevity and ageless speed.

Ask anyone in the field, from the young lions to the veterans, and they'll tell you the same thing: Mike LaRocco is one of the most feared riders in the field, and he is always a threat to win. Always the hunter, LaRocco has a reputation for charging when other riders can barely hang on.

After 17 years of professional racing-during which he won two AMA Motocross championships, a World Supercross title and the U.S. Open of Supercross-one could assume that LaRocco would be slowing down a bit, but nothing could be farther from the truth. In 2004, LaRocco completed his 200th supercross start, and just to prove he wasn't ready to take up gardening, he won the Indianapolis Supercross event one race later in front of his home crowd.

"When I look back on all the races of my career, all the race wins, the overall championships, I'd have to say that my supercross win in Indianapolis last year was probably the one I'll remember most," said LaRocco.

Known for his toughness in a sport that can take a higher physical toll on the body than any other former of motorsport, LaRocco will stage in the starting gate this year for an unprecedented 18th consecutive season of supercross, and his eighth season on Honda's CR250R with the Factory Connection team. He's the only athlete ever to win a supercross race in three different decades in the 125 and 250 classes (1980s, '90s and 2000) and has raced on four different brands of bikes, and has won races on three different brands-the last of which all have come aboard the Honda brand.

"At this point in my career, Honda and Factory Connection have been the perfect match, one that has allowed me to maximize my ability in order to be competitive at the highest level of racing," says LaRocco. "I understand I'm not a kid anymore. So I have to work very hard on and off the track to remain competitive with the younger athletes.

"Most mornings I get up and train so I can get it out of the way early. I train anywhere from one to two hours and each day is different. Then after I work out I spend a few hours going through business things and in the late afternoon I go ride. One thing I don't have to worry about is my bike. Honda and Factory Connection work together very well to build me the most competitive, most reliable race bike out there."

LaRocco says he hasn't really contemplated retirement. "As long as I'm still competitive, I don't see any reason to quit," he says.

Indeed, LaRocco has seemingly gotten better with age. In 2000 he recorded his best season in a decade, racing to seven podium finishes en route to a third overall in the supercross series aboard his Honda CR250R. He then followed in 2001 with an even better year, scoring an amazing eight podium finishes and recorded another top three overall finish. The following season (2002) LaRocco started off with a bang, winning the second Anaheim round, having been on the podium at the previous two rounds.

But disaster would strike as another racer took LaRocco out in Minneapolis, ending his season with a wrist injury. Battling back, as he's always done, LaRocco re-joined the Honda/Factory Connection program that summer and raced to four podium finishes and a fourth place overall in the Outdoor National 250cc class aboard the revolutionary Honda CRF450R four-stroke. A remarkable racer on a remarkable bike, coming back from an injury that usually sidelines racers for an entire season.

In 2003, a shoulder injury would take LaRocco out of championship contention in both the supercross series and the outdoor nationals, though he did manage podium finishes in both series during his abbreviated season. In 2004, a healthy LaRocco served notice that he was getting better with age, posting a win, a remarkable 10 podium finishes and finishing the series in third overall.

Though semi-retired from racing the Nationals, he still races select outdoor events (such as Red Bud last year), so don't be surprised to see LaRocco at the start gate at an outdoor national in 2005. He won the National 250 championship in 1994 and has the distinction of being the last rider to win a 500cc Outdoor National title-a feat he accomplished in 1993, the last year the AMA sanctioned 500cc racing at the Nationals.

Focusing on the supercross season for 2005, Mike LaRocco should be easy to find: Just keep your eyes on the front of the pack.

Results

2004
  3rd THQ/AMA 250 Supercross Series
  3rd US Open 250 Supercross Championship
  Won one Supercross event
  Finished on the podium 10 times.

2003
  5th U.S. Open 250 Supercross Championship
   5th AMA/Chevy Trucks 250 National Motocross Series
   14th AMA 250 THQ/AMA Supercross Series
2002
  1st THQ U.S. Open Supercross Championship
   6th AMA/Chevy Trucks 250 National Motocross Series
  11th AMA/EA Sports Supercross Series
2001
  3rd AMA/EA Sports Supercross Series
  4th AMA/Chevy Trucks 250 National Motocross Series
2000
  1st Supercross World Championship
   3rd AMA/EA Sports Supercross Series
   5th AMA/Chevy Trucks 250 National Motocross Series
1999
  3rd AMA 250 U.S. Supercross Series
  3rd AMA/Mazda Trucks 250 National Motocross Series
1998
  5th AMA 250 Supercross Series
  3rd AMA/Mazda Trucks 250 National Motocross Series
1997
  6th AMA 250 Supercross Series
  5th AMA 250 National Motocross Series
1996
  6th AMA 250 Supercross Series
   3rd AMA 250 National Motocross Series
1995
  6th AMA 250 U.S. Supercross Series
 
 7th AMA 250 National Motocross Series
1994
  2nd AMA/Camel 250 Supercross Series
  1st AMA 250 National Motocross Series
1993
  12th AMA/Camel 250 Supercross Series
   1st AMA 500 National Motocross Series
   2nd AMA 250 National Motocross Series
1992
  6th AMA/Camel 250 Supercross Series
   2nd AMA 125 National Motocross Series
1991
  9th AMA/Camel 250 Supercross Series
   5th AMA 250 National Motocross Series
  12th AMA 125 National Motocross Series
1990
   7th AMA/Camel 250 Supercross Series
   3rd AMA 250 National Motocross Series
   8th AMA 125 National Motocross Series
1989
  14th AMA/Camel 250 Supercross Series
   2nd AMA 125 West Region Supercross Series
   5th AMA 125 National Motocross Series
1988
  3rd AMA 125 East Region Supercross Series
   7th AMA 125 National Motocross Series
Profile Mike LaRocco
Born: February 12, 1971
Michigan City, Ind.
Residence South Bend, Ind.
National # 5
Began riding 1977
First Race 1978, age 7
Training Weights, cardio training
Hobbies Spending time with family
Computers
Riding XR 70s
Video games
Riding trial bikes
Height/Weight 5'11", 191
Martial Status Married, wife Elizabeth, son Ryder
Current bike CR250R
Mechanic Brian Kinney
Mike Larocco Racing

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