Whitlock tops McGrath at Great American Championship Hillclimb - Feture Review - Dirt Rider Magazine

Seven-time Supercross Champion Jeremy McGrath created a lot of excitement when he decided to join 500 other riders at the Great American Championship Hillclimb in Billings, Montana on July 26-27. McGrath made it over the top of the mountain five out of eight times, and finished second overall in the state championship behind eight-time champion Travis Whitlock."It was great to have McGrath up here this weekend," said Whitlock. "People always asked me how I thought someone like Jeremy would do at our sport, and now we know. I was really excited when I heard that Dirt Rider had invited him, and he's a first-rate guy."McGrath rode a Honda CR500R and a 218 horsepower 2500cc Harley-Davidson in four classes. "I didn't really know what to think," said MC. "I went play riding on the Honda the day before the event, but didn't ride the Harley until my run. This event is gnarly, and it's way harder than it looks. I have a lot of respect for those guys. Travis Whitlock is an incredible rider, and so are guys like (Larry) Coleman and the Petersons (Robie and Brett)."Jeremy brought a lot of excitement to Billings this year," said Kerry Peterson, the sport's winningest rider, and the man responsible for providing bikes for MC. "I always knew he was talented, but didn't realize his versatility. He adapted so quickly, and he's a fast study. He approached this very seriously, and he really impressed all the top riders with his performance."Off-road star Shane Watts also tried his hand at conquering the mountain, but was less successful. Watts missed a flight from Florida and arrived midway through the event. With no practice, Watts was at a disadvantage, and bike problems didn't help matters. Watts broke a swingarm in half when he g-loaded into the face of the "chute," the uppermost portion of the hill."I had a lot of fun and will be back," said the Australian. "I really had a lot of fun, and the people are great. I really don't think people can grasp what McGrath accomplished today. His riding here was the stuff legends are made of. I always knew I was impressed with his supercross skills, but he really is the greatest motorcycle rider of all-time.""This was an incredible experience for everyone," said Debbie Peterson. "Jeremy is such a wonderful person. He is one of the nicest people I ever met. He's so good with fans and very thoughtful. He's so approachable, and I really hope he comes back.""It didn't really hit me until later that I actually could have won the thing overall," said McGrath. "I missed it by two-tenths of a second, and was blown away that I did so well. This was one of the most enjoyable weekends of my life, and I can't remember when I was this happy. I'm actually thinking about coming back and trying it again next year. I new it was going to be an experience, but I never imagined that it could be so cool. The action is intense. I watched a bike carthwheel 300 feet down the hill and break in half. It's pretty extreme."The event was also filmed for Dirt Rider's new television program called Dirt Rider Adventures that will air on OLN in the near future (check our website for more details real soon). McGrath also plans to include footage in Steel Roots 4, his next video project in the popular series.RESULTS STATE CHAMPIONSHIP 1.Travis Whitlock (13.564); 2. Jeremy McGrath (13.769); 3. Larry Coleman (14.113); 4. Harold Waddell (14.172); 5. Shannon Chamberlain (14.744); 6. Brandon Whitlock (14.762); 7. Jon Smith (15.107); 8. Mel Kimball (15.771); 9. Pat Liscum (15.952); 10. Pete Krunich (18.109).0-600 1.Travis Whitlock (14.806 seconds); 2. Mel Kimball (15.416); 3. Harold Waddell (15.436); 4. Pete Krunich (15.550); 5. Jeremy McGrath (16.121); 6. Jon Smith (16.487); 7. Shannon Chamberlain (16.529); 8. Eric Cherry (16.668); 9. Jay Coffey (16.692); 10. Dusty Beer (16.748).0-700 UNLIMITED: 1. Jeff Thomas (271); 2. Ed Taylor (258); 3. Travis Whitlock (257); 4. Dusty Beer (253); 5. Brandon Whitlock (252); 6. Nolan Martin (250); 7. Jon Smith (248); 8. Shannon Chamberlain (247); 9. Jeremy McGrath (247); 10. Jason Smith (246).OPEN 1. Travis Whitlock (12.418); 2. Larry Coleman (12.639); 3. Harold Waddell (13.210); 4. Robie Peterson (14.491); 5. Dave Johnston (14.808); 6. Pat Liscum (15.043); 7. Shannon Chamberlain (15.151); 8. Kut Koester (15.271); 9. John Cullinan (15.729); 10. Ed Taylor (15.769).701 Up 1. Brian Osborn (13.476); 2. Travis Whitlock (15.436); 3. Jeff Thomas (15.796); 4. Brandon Whitlock (16.390); 5. Chad Lorenz (16.909); 6. Scott Ehlers (17.032); 7. Ed Taylor (18.528); 8. Devin Aymond (18.882); 9. Scott Olson (19.662); 10. Nolan Martin (22.304).SENIORS 1. Dave Johnston (18.754); 2. LeRoy Ebling (378 feet); 3. Ken Long (353); 4. Dean Cromwell (352); 5. Doug Sherburn (349);** 6. Karel Kramer (348)**; 7. Lefty Frueh (188); 8. Dave Chizzone (180