If you are a fan of Supercross and motocross and over the age of 25, you might remember watching Jeremy McGrath in the late ’90s and 2000 aboard his Chaparral Motorsports-supported Yamaha YZ250 dominating SX main events across the country. This team made history as the first non-factory team in the sport to win a premier-class Supercross championship. We just assumed that McGrath had at least one of these championship-winning Yamahas in his collection. After all, he has memorabilia from just about every era of his career. However, we were shocked to find out this was not the case.
The “King of Supercross” decided to make his own Yamaha championship trophy bike, so he did what everybody looking for an older two-stroke does—found something on Craigslist for a couple thousand dollars and got to work. McGrath might be busier now with his family and brand-ambassador obligations than when he raced full-time, so it was a godsend when he was introduced to Tim Sharp by a mutual friend. Sharp is an ex-SoCal pro rider who truly enjoys working on motorcycles, and it shows in his attention to detail.
When the bike was delivered to Sharp, the first words out of his mouth were, “Where is the rest of it?” He spent countless hours on OEM Yamaha parts pages researching exactly what was missing, and if the parts were still available through Yamaha, they were ordered, but when that wasn’t an option, it was all about checking eBay, OfferUp, Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace on a regular basis. Managing editor Mark Tilley even helped out on this build using his personal Vapor Honing Technologies VH800 blasting machine to clean the engine cases, cylinder, braking system and some other miscellaneous items.
This YZ250 build has no factory Yamaha parts on it that McGrath used when he was racing, but it still produces the same instant smiles and trips down memory lane for the person looking at it as if it was the real thing from over 20 years ago. This machine was a huge part of McGrath’s career and will always have a special place in his heart, and now he has a life-size reminder of that time in his very successful career.