Supercross -- Big Bikes Will Run At Kingdome For Last Time

That high-pitched whine that escalates to a heart-pumping crescendo just before the big bikes are turned loose will commence one last time at the Kingdome tomorrow night for the AMA Supercross series.

It will be the 33rd and final race at the Kingdome. The first race in Seattle was on Feb. 18, 1978. Only the Seahawks (since 1976) and the Mariners (1977) have had longer stints at the Kingdome.

Twenty trimmed-out 250cc motorcycles with riders who love to dazzle will make one last dash for the first hairpin turn.

Here's a look at some magical moments:

1990: Ward's a winner

Snohomish's Larry Ward wins his first Supercross race Feb. 17, 1990, in front of 37,309 fans. Jeff Matiasevich wouldn't make it a slam dunk, however, as he briefly regained the lead before Ward survived a bump to put his Suzuki back in front for good at the end of lap 15. Snow and ice not only kept the crowd under the anticipated 40,000, but about 15 riders never made it to the race.

1983: Hurricane doubles

Brash Bob "Hurricane" Hannah, who put the Supercross series on the map during the late 1970s and early '80s, made a big impact in the Emerald City. After suffering a knee injury in a water-skiing accident in '79, Hannah wouldn't win again in Seattle until he swept both races in '83. Hannah rode for Honda after terminating his longtime ties with Yamaha. Hannah, then 26, nailed the start for the wire-to-wire win he had promised earlier in the week.

The next day brought Vintage "Hurricane." The winner of 27 career Supercross races would get off to his usual shoddy start and be stuck in sixth place after the first of 20 laps. But Hannah kept passing riders, overtaking David Bailey for his second victory.

1978: Opening run

The Supercross series' Seattle debut was supposed to draw 25,000, but the lines at the ticket window were so long that the first heat was delayed nearly 30 minutes. Jim Ellis, riding a Honda, won in front of 32,019.

1986-88: Johnson rolls

Rick Johnson rolled to a streak of seven victories in 11 races, including four straight from 1986 to '88. The Honda rider was known as a serious player and was quite smooth in handling the Kingdome terrain.

Showtime's remarkable run

Jeremy McGrath, the all-time winner in races (53), is the favorite tomorrow. "Showtime" has won four of the past six races at the Kingdome.

The 27-year-old, who is in his ninth season, is no longer a lock, however. He has won just 11 of the past 36 races after winning 13 straight in 1996.

Twenty years of Supercross comes comes down to 20 riders, 6,000 cubic yards of dirt, thousands of fans. Some might say a McCrath victory tomorrow would be the perfect ending to the remarkable run at the Kingdome. But, to others, an upset might be even better.

At a glance

Where, when: Kingdome; tomorrow, gates open at 12:30 p.m., racing begins at 7:30. Tickets: $30, $10. Riders to watch: Points leader Jeremy McGrath, Mickael Pichon, Mike LaRocco and Ezra Lusk.