Last weekend’s MX2 victory by Thomas Covington in Turkey continued a really special relationship between American riders and the FIM Motocross World Championships and also took him into a very select group of legends.
The likable Husqvarna rider joins Ricky Johnson, Tallon Vohland and Jeff Stanton with four GP wins, and he has the chance in Assen in two weeks (a circuit he does well on), to become the only American with five GP wins. Below is a little of the American history at the top of the GP podium.
All the way back to 1973 when a young Jim Pomeroy captured the Spanish GP victory right up until that timely victory by Thomas Covington the riders from the land of the stars and striped have more than done their share of winning at GP level.
There are 33 American riders who have won Grand Prix’s since Jim Pomeroy took their first at the Spanish GP in 1973. A large portion of those winning the USGP when it visited American soil, but many have found their success on the tough European circuits or in places like Japan, Indonesia and Venezuela.
American riders to have won a single GP are R.J. Hampshire, Jessy Nelson, Ryan Villopoto, Zach Osborne, Rodney Smith, Chuck Sun, Micky Dymond, Jimmy Ellis, Mike Guerra, Donny Hansen, Ken Howerton, Eric Kehoe and Marty Moates.
The list of American riders with two GP wins are Eli Tomac, Ron Lechien, David Bailey, Mark Barnett, Danny Chandler, Bob Hannah, Mike Healey, Mike Kiedrowski, while Mike Brown, Broc Glover, Johnny O’mara, Jim Pomeroy and Marty Smith won three each.
Four American riders have won four GP’s each, those being Thomas Covington, Ricky Johnson, Jeff Stanton and Tallon Vohland, while Danny Laporte and Billy Liles won six GPs apiece.
The first ever American motocross world champion Brad Lackey won nine GPs, former 125cc world champion Bobby Moore won 12 GPs and multiple world champion Trampas Parker won 13 GPs. The winningest American rider in the Grand Prix series is another multiple world motocross champion in the late Donny Schmit. Schmit won 15 GP’s in his career in Europe.
Some of the most famous American winners were of course Jim Pomeroy, who was the first American to win a GP, way back in 1973 in Spain. Marty Moates classic 500cc USGP victory at Carlsbad in 1980 was the start of the American dominating of the USGP in the 1980s.
After Moates victory came wins by Chuck Sun in 1981, Danny Chandler in 1982, Broc Glover in 1983 and 84, David Bailey in 85, Ricky Johnson in 86 and Ron Lechien in 89.
Who can forget the very first GP victory for Brad Lackey at the famous Farleigh Castle circuit in England? Back in 1977 the young American racer showed great resolve to take victory and start his own success story in Europe.
Or Danny Laporte and his assault in the world 250 championship in 1982. Starting terribly the American came on strong in the middle rounds, winning in France, England and Holland. It was that run of victories that secured his world title.
Americans have been an important part of the history of Grand Prix motocross and now with Darian Sanayei and Thomas Covington showing great speed in 2018 that relationship continues and hopefully more victories will come in the future.