Rider: Grant Langston
Team: J-Law Racing ampm Yamaha
Machine: Yamaha YZ450F (#8)
Born: June 16, 1982 in Durban, Natal, South Africa
Grant Langston transitioned to the professional level in 1998 when he was still back home in South Africa. As a young 15-year-old racer he and his supportive father went on the road in foreign countries racing the Grand Prix circuit. The year was extremely difficult, but Grant’s solid finish in the French GP at the end of the season helped to secure a spot on the new KTM Factory team.
Grant’s major debut year on the GP scene was his 2000 season. He was on the podium for 23 out of 32 motos, which included 12 wins. The young KTM Factory rider was well on his way to becoming the 125cc World Motocross Champion. He had also won the 125cc class at the Motocross des Nations.
With a 125cc World Championship eventually in hand, Grant took his skills to United States for the 2001 Supercross season. The 2001 West Coast Supercross series was his first attempt at American stadiums, and the Red Bull KTM rider was a fast learner. He nearly won Round 6 but crashed infamously while celebrating prematurely. One week later he redeemed himself by taking the checkers in Dallas. He followed up this win with two additional podium finishes to finishe fourth in the series. This impressive Supercross debut led Langston to be considered one of the favorites going into the ’01 outdoor Nationals. Grant battled all season with Mike Brown, and the championship came down to the final moto. Only needing to finish fifth to secure the championship, disaster struck when Grant’s rear wheel collapsed with only two laps to go, effectively handing Brown the championship.
During the 2002 season of Supercross, Langston earned podium finishes at Minneapolis, Daytona Beach and New Orleans. Although his 2003 season of SX was limited due to numerous injuries, Grant had a strong return by capturing the 2003 AMA 125 National Motocross Championship. In 2004 he raced in the 250cc Supercross series, his best result being a fifth-place finish in San Francisco. Afterwards, Langston took a break from the motocross season to recuperate from injuries.
He returned to the championship circle in 2005 with the 125 East Coast Supercross Lites Championship, and again in 2006 with the 125 West Coast Supercross Lites Championship.
After a disappointing 2010 season, Grant Langston officially announced his retirement from the sport
2007 was Langston’s first full season in the premiere 450 class. Always a stronger outdoor rider, Grant was looking to have a good year in motocross with Team Yamaha after sitting out much of the Supercross championship injured. With Ricky Carmichael starting his retirement and James Stewart dropping out of the championship with an injury, Grant rode strong throughout the rest of the season, including sweeping the final three rounds and beating Mike Alessi by 16 points to earn the 2007 AMA Motocross Championship.
Langston started off the 2008 Monster Energy Supercross Series with a fourth-place finish at Anaheim, but unfortunately that was the highlight of the series. Bad luck followed for the next few rounds before he decided to pull out of the series. Grant was having a very difficult time seeing while on the track and needed to have water removed that was leaking through to his retina. At the same time, he decided to get his wrist scoped to help heal an injury which occurred before the Supercross series started. His eye troubles wound up being cancer, and Grant sat out the entire AMA National series in 2009, keeping a perfect record for never having attempted to defend a title.
Langston made his return to Supercross in 2010 by signing with JLaw/ampm/Boost Mobile Racing Yamaha team. Still dealing with eyesight issues, he had a handful of top-10 finishes in the early half of the 2010 Supercross season, including third place at Phoenix. His season was brought to an abrupt end, however, when a major crash at Daytona resulted in a severe concussion. His MX season was also disappointing, and consisted of multiple DNFs and crashes that resulted in him not finishing the season.
Langston announced his retirement at the end of the ’10 season, but intends to stay involved with the sport in a limited capacity.
2010: 18th (SX), 31st (MX)
2008: 26th (SX)
2007: 18th (SX), 1st (MX)
2006: 1st (WSX), 25th (250 MX)
2005: 1st (ESX), 4th (125 MX)
2004: 11th (SX)
2003: 34th (SX), 26th (ESX), 1st (125 MX)
2002: 9th (ESX), 16th (125 MX)
2001: 4th (WSX), 2nd (125 MX)