The career trajectory of most professional motocross racers is like that of an asteroid
moving through space—
unassuming, hard to locate with the naked
eye and only vaguely memorable.
However, asteroids can burn bright
when passing through the earth’s
atmosphere. And so it goes with
many racers’ success, which is best
measured by the impact they make.
Only the very best become Red
Supergiants—the largest stars in the
galaxy—because motocross is a sport
dominated by a select few.
There are those racers who fall
somewhere in between—the sun-
like stars, if you will. They are fast
enough to compete at the highest
level for a long time, but not quite
capable of winning titles. Granted,
the pinnacle for many is winning a
professional race, because finishing
first is not easily achieved. Need
proof? Only 77 riders have won an
AMA 125/250F National since the
series began in 1974. Of those riders,
22 haven’t been able to win again.
Duplicating success is infinitely hard.
New York’s Scott Sheak is among
the fortunate 77, with the distinction
of also being among the 22. Sheak’s
one and only win, on May 25, 1997,
doesn’t tell the whole story. Scott’s
SCOTT SHEAK’S MAGICAL DAY IN THE MUD
path to the top step of the podium
is right out of a dream.
Sheak, a native of Germantown,
New York, had shown flashes of
brilliance in 1996 aboard a privateer
Suzuki. In fact, Scott Sheak won his
first 125 National moto at High Point
in 1996, the same track where he
would later win his sole National
overall. Solid finishes in the 125 East
Supercross class, along with two
125 podiums outdoors, caught the
attention of factory Honda. They
signed Scott to a two-year deal. He
would be teaming up with two-time
125cc National Champion Steve
Lamson. The future looked bright
for Scott Sheak.
The increased support and a factory
Honda CR125 did wonders for Sheak.
He was consistently a top-five threat,
and he began the National series with
6-2-3 overall finishes. It was only a
matter of time before Scott would
log his first career overall. Little did
anyone know that Scott Sheak’s finest
riding would be shown between April
12, 1997 and May 25 of that same
year. During that time he finished
fourth, second, third, fifth, and then
took the win at High Point.
Growing up in New York, Sheak
was familiar with riding in the mud.
The High Point National in 1997
was a deluge. Corners collected rain,
and the elevation changes made it
nearly impossible for most of the
racers to navigate the terrain. Even
Ricky Carmichael, who had three
straight outdoor wins heading into
High Point, had a miserable day.
Carmichael could only manage 13th
overall in the mud, his worst finish
during a celebrated 125 career.
However, the inclement weather
didn’t stop Scott Sheak from blasting
to good starts and going 1-1 on the
day. He bested the likes of Stephane
Roncada, Michael Brandes, Mickael
Pichon, Kevin Windham, Tim Ferry,
Damon Huffman, and, of course, the
aforementioned Ricky Carmichael.
The 1997 High Point National was
the pinnacle of Scott Sheak’s career.
He would go on to finish third overall
in the final points standings behind
Carmichael and Windham. It was a
career year that he would never
duplicate. From there Scott bounced
around to several other teams, finally
calling it quits in 2002. ❏
Scott Sheak on a sunnier day.