Cycle News

Cycle News 2020 Issue 34 August 25

Cycle News is a weekly magazine that covers all aspects of motorcycling including Supercross, Motocross and MotoGP as well as new motorcycles

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CN III ARCHIVES BY SCOTT ROUSSEAU T o understand the kind of season that the late Ricky Graham had in 1993, you need go no further than to ask reigning AMA Grand National Champion Chris Carr, who was able to put Graham 's performance in proper perspective. "If you were to look over the course of a career, everybody's benchmark is Scott Parker," Carr says. "But over my career, I have, at one time or another, raced with the last eight Grand National Champions. I said it then, and I'll still say it today: What Ricky Gra- ham did in 1993, there is not one of those other champions who could have beaten him that year. He was that good week in and week out. He not only won six races in a row, he won five half- miles in a row, which is unheard of. To this day, that is the best dirt track season performance that I have ever seen." Down on his luck after constant substance abuse problems threat- ened to destroy him, Graham, a 33-year-old, two-time former AMA Grand National Champion, somehow managed to battle his way back to sobriety through the 1992 season. Teamed with Virginia dirt track tuner Johnny Goad to ride aging Honda RS750s against technologically less state-of-the-art P122 GOLDEN GRAHAM: RICKY GRAHAM drafting Scott Parker at round two of the '93 series (the San Jose Mile), Graham went on to score a fifth at the Sacramento Mile and then a third at the Pomona Half Mile. The next stop on the tour was the Springfield Mile, a track that had always been kind to Graham. In order to win the race, though, he would have to be patient, as rain swept through the area, forc- ing the postponement of the Sun- day event. It would run the next day, Monday, May 31. Goad vividly remembers the start of that day. "I walked over to Ricky's mo- torhome at 7:30 Monday morn- ing, and there he was, already sitting there with his leathers and but much more refined Harley- Da- vidson XR750s, Graham started to show flashes of the brilliance that his long-time fans always knew he had when he wasn't being pos- sessed by his personal demons. At the close of 1992, Graham vowed that he would stay straight, train and be ready for 1993—and he definitely made good on that promise. Goad recalls being optimistic, but he readily admits that he had no idea of Graham's potential for that year. "I figured if we improved a little bit, we might be able to be in there with them," Goad says. "I didn't think that we would set the world on fire." Yet that's just what Graham did. After being robbed of the win by a Ricky Graham (left) and his turner Johnny Goad shared a very magical flat track season in 1993.

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