Worse yet, Mike Brown had gone
down on the first lap, and it was my
Championship to lose. It was a slow
nightmare unfolding. I was an 18-year-
old kid, and I was thinking that I was
going to be the first guy to win a
World Championship followed back to
back by a U.S. Championship.
AFTER AN INJURY-PLAGUED
2002, YOU MOVED TO THE
PREMIER 250 CLASS IN 2003.
KTM had promised Jeremy McGrath
and me a new 250 two-stroke for
2003, but it never came. Jeremy left,
but I had just signed my contract.
Supercross was a nightmare. The only
silver lining was that because KTM
realized how frustrated I was getting,
they gave me the option to ride the
125 Nationals. I jumped on it just to
get off of the 250.
AND YOU WON THE 2003 AMA
125 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP,
BUT IT WAS CONTROVERSIAL.
That year it seemed like I could not
win a race but was always in the
points. Heading into the last race in
Ohio, I thought, “I can finally win
this Championship.” But, the race got
rained out. I didn’t know what the
AMA was going to do. I assumed it
would be rescheduled. I was stay-
ing at Brock Sellard’s house in Ohio
when the phone rang. Brock’s wife
answered the house phone and said,
“Hey, Grant, the last race is canceled.
You are a champ.”
So, I got on the phone and I was
pretty sure it was a prank call. The
guy on the other end said he was
from the AMA and wanted to congrat-
ulate me. I said, “If you guys are mess-
ing with me, this is not funny. You are
toying with my emotions right now.”
HOW DID IT FEEL TO WIN
A CHAMPIONSHIP OVER THE
PHONE? That was not how you
envision winning a championship. You
envision going over the line with your
hands in the air. It was really strange.
I CAME BACK AS
A PRIVATEER, BUT
I WAS NOT THE
IS NOT GOOD
YOU WON OVER THE PHONE
AND YOUR TEAMMATE RYAN
HUGHES LOST OVER THE
RELATIONSHIP WITH RYAN
LIKE? Ryno had the kind of person-
ality where he wanted to hate his
competition. His way of hating his
competition was to run his mouth.
There was a lot of tension at the KTM
truck, and it made everyone on the
team feel uncomfortable. Towards
the end of the Championship I moved
over to the 250 truck with Joaquim
Rodriguez, while Hughes and the
other 125 guys stayed in their truck.
At one point, Ryno complained that
the engine builder was giving me the
best engines, so KTM gave us both
separate engine and suspension guys.
IN 2004 YOU HAD A MEDIOCRE
YEAR AND SAT OUT THE
NATIONALS; IS THAT WHEN
YOU DECIDED TO SWITCH? In
2004 things were not good. I was not
in a happy place. KTM offered me
a deal to ride the 250 for 2005 and
2006. I just said, “No, this is over. I
am moving on.” I wanted to ride for
Mitch Payton because I wanted to
win. I knew I wouldn’t make as much
money as KTM was offering, but
Mitch and I talked, and I signed the
contract. I needed to reinvent myself.