Wide Open: A Life in Supercross

Overview

Jeremy McGrath has been called 'the Michael Jordan of Supercross' by the Los Angeles Times, and in this revealing autobiography fans not only get his personal story, but also a detailed guide on how everyone can become a Supercross racer.

The No 1 Supercross racer in the world – who has over 20 sponsors, his own film company, a toy line, Nintendo and Playstation games, and a signature shoe by Vans – talks about his life and the sport. Supercross started out as a redneck '70s ...

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Overview

Jeremy McGrath has been called 'the Michael Jordan of Supercross' by the Los Angeles Times, and in this revealing autobiography fans not only get his personal story, but also a detailed guide on how everyone can become a Supercross racer.

The No 1 Supercross racer in the world – who has over 20 sponsors, his own film company, a toy line, Nintendo and Playstation games, and a signature shoe by Vans – talks about his life and the sport. Supercross started out as a redneck '70s sideshow, but thanks largely to Jeremy McGrath it has become a massive extreme sport. Over the last three years, AMA Supercross attendance has mushroomed from 700,000 spectators a year to 1.5 million. This book will satisfy even the most hardcore fans, as it not only gives you the life and times of Jeremy McGrath, but acts as the calling card to the entire sport by including unique sections on how to become a Supercross racer, the workout regimes, fixing common bike problems, and more.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this gossipy, spiteful memoir, champion Supercross motorcycle racer McGrath wastes no opportunity to settle scores and gloat over vanquished enemies. Targets include his former Yamaha sponsors ("how quickly people can turn their back on you"), Supercross rivals Damon Bradshaw ("failed to win a single pro championship") and Jeff Emig ("always felt he was above everyone else") and "spoiled diva" actress Alyssa Milano ("she was a little bit out of shape and her butt was kind of big.") The nursing of resentments gives some energy and focus to an otherwise slack, anecdotal recounting of McGrath's aimless off-track existence as it meanders from his party-hearty bachelorhood, to his tense but dull courtship of his wife, to the furnishing of his home ("[I] rubbed my knees on each individual carpet sample page to simulate lying on the floor watching TV.") McGrath's account of his on-track career is preoccupied with the minutiae of sponsorship and endorsement deals and a catalogue of his record-setting accomplishments, but it occasionally includes revealing material on racing strategy and the exploitation of riders by promoters. Advice sidebars on topics like motorcycle maintenance ("modestly apply oil to filter, then gently massage in") and career-building ("you need [parents] to supplement your paper-route money and take you to the races") may be of interest to young Supercross wannabes, who will be further inspired by the countless photos of McGrath and motorcycle soaring through the air. (Jan.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060537289
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/4/2005
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 165,975
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeremy McGrath is the most successful rider in Supercross history, with a record twelve major championship titles: seven 250 Supercross championships, two 125s, one Outdoor, and two FIM World Supercross Championships. Jeremy retired from the sport he passionately referred to as his "lifestyle" for more than half of his life in January 2003, and currently resides in southern California.

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First Chapter

Wide Open
A Life in Supercross

Introduction

This is what motocrossers do when no one is looking. This is what we do in the dry air, the dusty wind, and the unforgiving sun. We ride. A Supercross race is merely a snapshot of my life. A clip. A highlight. What I do when the world is watching. It's my reason for being, yes. But between those races is where life happens. And a huge part of my life is preparation.

That's why my longtime mechanic and friend, Skip Norfolk, and I were at the KTM practice track in Corona, California, on that warm, sunny, dusty day the twenty-first of September 2002. I had just signed with KTM after five years on a Yamaha. Riding a brand-new bike is like getting to know a complete stranger. If you don't know anything about that person you have to ask. I ask by riding. Again and again and again.

How does it handle in the corners? How broad is the power delivery? Do I feel comfortable thirty feet in the air? Is this bike faster than Ricky's? And about a thousand other things I have to know before I pull up to the starting gate under the lights of Edison International Field in Anaheim for round one of the AMA Supercross Series in January.

I had already put over fourteen hours on the new bike over the past two weeks and was beginning to feel pretty comfortable on it. Skip and I had wrapped up another five-hour session and were close to having the bike completely dialed. He gives the rear suspension a couple of clicks, documents the day's findings in his logbook, and loads up the truck.

"I'd better take it out for one more quick spin," I gladly tell Skip. Staying late at the track was nothing new for us. For the better part of the last thirteen years we've spent countless hours going over an infinite number of suspension and carburation settings. Besides, you never know exactly how long it'll take to work the kinks out of a motorcycle, so Skip gave the thumbs up so we'd have a jump on tomorrow's testing. "Just two more laps, Skip."

Skip flicks his stopwatch and I blast down the first straightaway. I guide the bike in and out of a tight hairpin, as easily as I would point and click a mouse, then shoot for a sixty-foot triple jump. With a blip of the throttle in second gear, I'm sent thirty-five feet into the lower atmosphere. I like the view from up here. I've seen it many times in my thirteen-year career. So good I take my right foot off the footpeg and swing it over the bike behind me like I'm going to dismount my KTM in midair. The nac-nac. Been doing it that way before there was anything called the X Games.

Upon returning to earth, I grab a handful of brake, but not too much, snake in and out of another turn, then head for a tricky rhythm section -- the meat and potatoes of a Supercross course-- made up of a small triple, another triple, and a big double. Negotiating a 200-pound motorcycle with a hair-trigger temper through a technical section like this requires upper body strength, a gymnast's balance, and the precision of a scalpel-wielding surgeon. Now do that at full speed. One mistake and you'll actually need a surgeon.

I smoothly pogo the first triple, gas it, hit the second triple, then more gas before the double. But there's a bit of a problem. As I come off the second triple jump, my bike bogs down. The high-pitched scream of the 250 two-stroke motor is reduced to a suffocated low rumble as it starves for gas. This is never a good sound.

I've built up too much momentum to avoid the double, so I hit it as planned -- bogged out engine and all. The idea is to land smoothly down the backside of the landing jump. But it isn't going to happen. The bike dies. With my KTM gasping and choking, it takes an unwanted nosedive, ejecting me over the handlebars. I'm sailing through the air without my bike, praying for a soft landing I know isn't coming. Luckily, I've got my feet out in front of me. I land on the face of the landing jump almost as if I've jumped out of a window. Unfortunately, that window was three stories high. It isn't really a bad crash. At least it doesn't look that way. Even though I land on my feet, I hit with such force that my body folds completely over like I'm trying to touch my toes-- with the back of my neck.

The human body can only bend so far forward before unnatural things begin to happen. In my case, the top of my right femur pops out of my hipbone, tearing away the ligaments and muscles that were holding it in place, and shoots out of the back of my right ass cheek. Regardless of what kind of pain you've dealt with in your life, a dislocated hip will make you cry.

I've crashed plenty in my career, suffered a broken wrist here, a broken leg there. I've been knocked unconscious, had double vision for six weeks, and nearly had my ribcage crushed. (And I've had it pretty good.) But I was thirty years old and now I knew the meaning of agony. My leg was paralyzed with pain. It shot up my back and through all my extremities. I laid there on the track in a fetal position-- because I couldn't straighten out my legs -- while Skip came rushing over ...

Wide Open
A Life in Supercross
. Copyright © by Jeremy McGrath. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Sort by: Showing all of 15 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 4, 2010

    good book about a good rider

    The book Wide Open A Life In Supercross is a book about Jeremy McGrath and his every day life in the world of supercross. I thought it was a great book, me being a motocross racer I really can relate to the book. It does a great job telling how life is straight up being in supercross, from traveling all around the world to just raceing or going to the track to practice. It also shows how dangerous the sport can really be and how one mistake can change the rest off your life. If you are in to motocross or just want to see what its about it is a very good book coming form one of the best racer in the world.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2008

    amazing

    This autobiography by Jeremy McGrath covers the supercross star's life and career with a personal touch only McGrath, himself, could provide. From showing off on his tricycle at three years old, to waving farewell to thousands of fans in Anaheim at thirty-one, this book has everything you could ever want to know about Jeremy and his dominant career. The story expresses the struggle between being a superior athlete and keeping your family, friends, and fans happy. It also contains some amusing tales about being a star in supercross. Everything from winning a race in a sold out baseball stadium, to being on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, the book has it all. It is surprisingly well written for a book by an athlete of any sort, and is a very enjoyable read. You will want to keep reading every time a chapter ends to find out what happens next in the exciting life of Jeremy McGrath. Although it is a very interesting book for any motorsport fan, it does have a few down sides. The book has several typos that are very distracting. There is also some strong language that may be offensive to some. Despite the minimal drawbacks, Jeremy McGrath Wide Open: A Life in Supercross is worth reading and is very inspirational for any aspiring athlete.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2007

    Showtime's Story

    The autobiography Wide Open by Jeremy McGrath, tells us the story of the supercross king. The story starts out when Jeremy is a little kid before he has even started riding motorcycles. From that point it tells of him starting to race all the way until he retires as the most winning rider in supercross history. Through the book it gives you pieces of his personal life, and tips to help the reader become a better rider. Through the tale the main point that comes to me is if you want something fight for it, everything in real life doesn¿t come easy. McGrath never caught many real breaks in his racing career until he was nearly at the top of his game. Even though he was often overlooked by the big teams McGrath¿s work ethic and desire to be the best propelled him to the top of his sport where he became the highest paid rider in history. McGrath didn¿t give up on his dream and he made a life out of it. Another message I picked out of this book was to keep your family close to you no matter how successful you are. Even with all of his success McGrath never tried to block his parents out of his life they went to nearly every race of his and whenever they would find the time to spend with him he would always be there with his parents. This book was very interesting because it gave me insight to what life is like for the biggest rider in the sport of supercross. McGrath not only tells about what he did in racing but you learn about what he was like when he wasn¿t at the track. Some dislikes I had was the book skips around a lot and you really have to pay attention to the dates that are given for each story. If you are a person who likes riding dirt bikes this is a book for you because it doesn¿t only talk about something you are interested in, it also helps you understand what you need to do to be the next Jeremy McGrath or just improve your knowledge of the sport.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2007

    The Legend's Legend

    This autobiography by Jeremy McGrath covers the supercross star's life and career with a personal touch only McGrath, himself, could provide. From showing off on his tricycle at three years old, to waving farewell to thousands of fans in Anaheim at thirty-one, this book has everything you could ever want to know about Jeremy and his dominant career. The story expresses the struggle between being a superior athlete and keeping your family, friends, and fans happy. It also contains some amusing tales about being a star in supercross. Everything from winning a race in a sold out baseball stadium, to being on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, the book has it all. It is surprisingly well written for a book by an athlete of any sort, and is a very enjoyable read. You will want to keep reading every time a chapter ends to find out what happens next in the exciting life of Jeremy McGrath. Although it is a very interesting book for any motorsport fan, it does have a few down sides. The book has several typos that are very distracting. There is also some strong language that may be offensive to some. Despite the minimal drawbacks, Jeremy McGrath Wide Open: A Life in Supercross is worth reading and is very inspirational for any aspiring athlete.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2007

    Live to ride, ride to live

    Being the best supercross racer that ever lived really made this book very interesting. The book explained very well what Jeremy went through in his life to achieve his goals in being a successful pro motocross racer. after reading this book just makes myself want to be a better racer because of all the great outcomes motocross has to offer. i would recommend this book to anyone who rides a motorcycle.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2007

    the best book ever

    this book is full of action wipe out stories wins and his life as well i think he is one of the people i should meet in my life just to say i have talk to jeremy mcgrath or just braging rights

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2006

    Wide Open: All Out

    Jeremy McGrath¿s biography Wide Open closely follows the life of the legendary super cross champion from his humble beginnings to his astounding professional career. Before his infamous super cross career, McGrath was racing BMX and at the top of his class. However, once his dad bought his a motorcycle, things changed. McGrath fell in love with the sport and knew what he wanted to do for the rest of his life, race. He struggled early in his career with funding for his mini bike racing while other boys his age were getting full sponsorships from major manufactures. It wouldn¿t be until his privateer sent in the professional ranks that McGrath would join the ranks of the factory sponsored rider. After that MC¿s (as his is commonly known) racing career took off. Now numerous championships later, he is regarded as one of the best super cross racers to ever grace the race track. This biography shows true stick-to-it-ness and how love of sport is more important than money. Although MC is now a retired veteran, his story continues to be highly applicable to numerous aspiring racers. Also, scattered throughout the biography are tricks and tips that any dirt-bike riding enthusiast can use no matter what the age. Such tid bits as bike maintenance to how to properly enter a corner on a super cross track. Any fan of super cross racing would thoroughly enjoy reading this biography and benefit from MC advice. There is no downfall to this book. MC does a terrific job chronicling his inspiring story from the pitfalls of early racing, to the glory of super cross champion. This book is yet another impressive win for the champion McGrath.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2006

    Amazing Rider

    This book really is a tell all of what Jeremy McGrath went through to be the legend he is today. He makes it clear that nothing was handed to him. This book is awesome for anyone who rides moto!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2005

    best motocross book out there

    Jeremy shows the true dedication it takes to be a professional in this fast growing sport. His experiences are enough to motivate anyone who reads this to become a supercross champion.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2005

    This is for you!!

    The bestbook I ever read could not set the book down. If you enjoy or ride motocross this is a definite book for you.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2004

    Every MotoCross rider should read this book.

    The Book was a Joy to read. It gives you a inside look of Jeremy's life. All that have raced or want to race, will come away with a little more knowledge of the ups and downs of racing.. I found myself laughing out loud and could relate with some of his lifes events. The true fact is every dirt bike rider has at one point wanted to be Jeremy. This book will inspire you to do better at anything you put your mind too.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2004

    Tell it like it is

    Jeremy McGrath is also known as ¿MC¿ or ¿THE KING¿ of Supercross. I never really knew so much about MC until now. I too am an avid AMA motocross rider that can relate to just about everything said in the book. I have always had a lot of respect for MC, but I also used to think that he was very spoiled. But now that I have read his book I realize that he rode and worked really hard to get where he is today. Jeremy started out with almost nothing, a lot like some of us motocross riders, and now he has every winning team out there wanting to give him a factory ride. Even though the king has retired I will still look up to him. His book has given me a lot of good tips on riding. So If you like MC as much as I do, this is a good book because he tells it like it is.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2004

    Wide Open......the perfect title for MC's book.

    Jeremy is somewhat of a private person, I know this because I am into SX and attend 6 SX and 1 MX races a year. I've always loved the Jeremy McGrath on the track and off (from the pits, and parties) but I never new how much was actually going on inside and his views on life. If you really like Jeremy as a rider you'll love him even more as a person after reading Wide Open.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 15 Customer Reviews

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