Inaugural 250cc Champion Gary Jones Awarded with Namesake Trophy
Ahead of the Anaheim 2 round of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship, MX Sports Pro Racing and Feld Motor Sports, the entities that comprise the SMX League, collaborated for a unique and special presentation to honor inaugural 1972 Pro Motocross 250cc Champion Gary Jones. Included as part of the season-long 50th anniversary celebration of Supercross, for the first time, after more than five decades, the California native was surprised with a proper trophy presentation in recognition of his historic maiden championship and subsequent titles in 1973 and 1974. Fittingly, the very trophy named for Jones’ cornerstone achievement in American motocross, the Gary Jones Cup, was awarded to the AMA Hall of Famer as an enduring symbol of his role in what is now the most prestigious championship in off-road motorcycle racing.
“When MX Sports Pro Racing assumed management of the Pro Motocross Championship in 2009, we wanted to create highly coveted symbols that celebrated the legacy of American motocross to award to our respective champions each season. In partnership with AMA Pro Racing, this led to the establishment of the Gary Jones Cup for the 250 Class and the Edison Dye Cup for the 450 Class, in honor of the indelible contributions of these two men during the sport’s infancy,” explained Tim Cotter, Director, MX Sports Pro Racing, who awarded the trophy to Jones. “It was always our intention to ultimately get the cup into the hands of its namesake and we thought this served as a perfect moment to surprise him in front of the hometown crowd. Unbeknownst to us, Gary never received a championship trophy for that 1972 title, nor for his championships in 1973 and 1974, so our surprise gesture ultimately turned into a deserving, long overdue celebration of his landmark achievements. We’re proud to be able to immortalize Gary’s early dominance and are honored to give him the prize he waited nearly 52 years for.”
Since its inception, the Gary Jones Cup has become an artifact of Pro Motocross’ storied legacy, bearing the names of every single racer to capture a 125cc/250cc championship, which started in 1974. The trophy is a who’s who of American motocross history, featuring the likes of Broc Glover (1977-1979), Mark Barnett (1980-1982), Ricky Carmichael (1997-1999), and Ryan Villopoto (2006-2008), the only riders to capture three consecutive championships in the smaller displacement. The list of titleholders also includes modern era stars and newly inducted AMA Hall of Famers like Travis Pastrana (2000), James Stewart (2002 & 2004), Grant Langston (2003) and Ryan Dungey (2009), in addition to current elite racers like Eli Tomac (2013), Cooper Webb (2016), Aaron Plessinger (2018), Adam Cianciarulo (2019), Dylan Ferrandis (2020), and the Lawrence brothers, Jett (2021-2022) and Hunter (2023).
“When I raced the series in 1972 no one knew it would go on to become the Pro Motocross Championship since it was integrated into the Inter-Am series. So, when I won the title no one seemed to care. It was the same for 1973 and 1974,” explained Jones. “When I learned about the presentation (in Anaheim), I couldn’t believe it. My girlfriend secretly helped put it together with MX Sports Pro Racing as a surprise. I was flabbergasted. I had won trophies for winning Nationals, but I never received championships trophies. I was even nominated for the AMA Hall of Fame (in 2000) and never knew it. I was kind of the first for a lot of that stuff, but now with the media, social media, and the internet I feel more recognized and celebrated than ever before. I’ve received so many well wishes. It’s all been incredibly surreal and I’m just so grateful to continue to receive such strong support after all these years.”
With the original Gary Jones Cup now in possession of the man himself, MX Sports Pro Racing is in the process of developing a new version of the Gary Jones Cup ahead of the 2024 Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing. The same process is also being undertaken for a new Edison Dye Cup. The original 450 Class trophy is currently in the possession of American Honda following Jett Lawrence’s historic perfect season as premier class rookie with Team Honda HRC.