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Snapdragon Stadium.

San Diego

San Diego

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San Diego’s Supercross history stretches back to 1980 when 40,000 watched Yamaha’s Mike “Too Tall” Bell beat Donnie Hansen and local hero Marty Tripes. A top 10 marketplace for most races held, San Diego has been an early season stop since 1985.

Fast Facts

San Diego’s Venues

  • The first race in San Diego was held at football venue, San Diego Stadium, which became Jack Murphy in 1981 and then Qualcomm in 1997.
  • In 2014, the race moved to Petco Park (Padres baseball) from 2014-2022.
  • In 2023, the raced moved to the newly opened SnapDragon Stadium, which was built on the old Jack Murphy grounds.
  • Snapdragon Stadium is a 35,000 capacity football venue, home of the San Diego State University Aztecs.

Iconic Moments

Chad Reed: With 19 starts and 6 wins, Reed is his own iconic moment at San Diego. Reed’s wins came between 2003-2011 and he beat many of the best in the sport to get them, including Ricky Carmichael, James Stewart, Ryan Villopoto and Ryan Dungey.

2001: Ricky Carmichael ‘arrives’ in Supercross. A classic, and the night in SX history where 7-time champion, Jeremy McGrath realized he had a serious challenge on his hands. For the first 10 laps, MC and RC went at each other hard, but cleanly. Carmichael took advantage of a McGrath mistake on lap 10 and was never challenged again.

“The pace was torrid, with both riders pushing themselves to the utmost and violently attacking every obstacle,” wrote Cycle News

“Now I believe I know what it takes to win a Supercross and I’ll keep trying to do it,” said Carmichael, who left San Diego tied with McGrath in the points.

1980: The final round of the 1980 Supercross Series played out in front of an estimated crowd of 40,000. Ten San Diego locals entered the race, which was won by Mike Bell, who had wrapped up the championship at the penultimate round, 10 weeks earlier!

Even a couple of Europeans tried out Supercross for the first time: Georges Jobe had just wrapped up the 250cc World MX title and Leif Niklasson was a factory Husqvarna rider. Neither qualified for the main event.

Ricky Carmichael at the 2001 San Diego Supercross.
Ricky Carmichael, 2001 San Diego Supercross.

While Ricky Carmichael’s first SX win came at the 2000 Daytona Supercross, the ’01 running of San Diego holds a special place in his career, too. It was his first win in a stadium and he did straight up against Jeremy McGrath. Jan. 13, 2001 is the night the world realized Carmichael was for real.

It was also the first ever San Diego win for Kawasaki.

Mike Bell at the 1980 San Diego Supercross. Cycle News Archives
Mike Bell, 1980 San Diego Supercross

Mike Bell bookended the 1980 season with wins at the opening round in Seattle and the closing round in San Diego. In a scheduling oddity, the San Diego race (round 17) happened 10 weeks after round 16 in Philadelphia. Fortunately for Bell, he wrapped up the title in Philly.

Chad Reed and Ricky Carmichael, 2005

Reed led only half of one lap at the 2005 San Diego Supercross, but it was the only one that counted. Carmichael led the first 19 laps but the pace of both RC and Reed was so much faster than the other 18 riders that they lapped their first competitor on lap four. Their average lap time was over two seconds a lap faster than third place finisher Mike LaRocco. On the 20th lap, with fourth and third place in front of them, Reed choked off Carmichael’s line and killed his momentum. In a last gasp effort, Carmichael crashed in the whoops. Reed lapped up to 3rd place.

Jeremy McGrath and Ricky Carmichael, 2005

Jeremy McGrath pulled the holeshot in his final Supercross race on a two stroke. Steve Bruhn captured this shot of MC and Ricky Carmichael looking over each on the first lap of the 450SX main event.

Jeremy McGrath, San Diego

Jeremy McGrath does a nac nac during a 450SX heat race. McGrath won five consecutive San Diego Supercross main events between 1993-1998. He is the last Californian to win in San Diego.

Fun Facts

  • Kawasaki didn’t win in San Diego until 2001 when Ricky Carmichael gave Team Green a victory, which was his second Supercross win, first in a stadium (Daytona, 2000 was his first).
  • California riders won 12 of the first 15 races held in San Diego but have not won in San Diego since 1998. 
  • Jeremy McGrath won five in a row in San Diego (1993-1998) but Chad Reed is the San Diego leader with six wins between 2003-2011.

All-Time Leaders

Winner History