TBT: Bercy supercross 1996

With the Paris supercross this weekend, sit back and reminisce at some rare race action of 1996 supercross champ, Jeremy McGrath, racing the 1997 Honda at the Paris-Bercy supercross, just a few weeks before he signed a stunning deal with Suzuki right on the eve of the 1997 season.

At the time the move shocked the dirt-bike world as McGrath had been with Honda since 1991, winning two supercross titles on the Pro-Circuit Honda team, then moving up to the 250 class in 1993 and winning four straight 250 supercross titles, including winning every race bar one in a dominant 96 season that saw Jeremy at the peak of his powers.

However, McGrath had been using the 1993 Honda frame for all of his  250 supercross titles, but, with the 97 machine having a revolutionary aluminium frame ( no other bike had one then), McGrath would no longer get away with running that 93 frame. Jeremy reportedly wasn’t happy with the bike nor the respective contract Honda offered him that featured restrictions on what he could do recreationally.

Ultimately this 1996 end-of-year supercross in Bercy would be one of the final times McGrath would race a Honda as a full-time professional. It was was the end of an era for the brand and the supercross king (McGrath would go on to win three more titles with Yamaha) and ironically the bumpy beginnings of the alloy frame era for all manufacturers.

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