Sneak Preview: Hangtown in Progress

After a dazzling opening day in southern California, the 2009 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship heads north this weekend for a visit to the oldest stop of the tour, the Hangtown Motocross Classic, presented by the Dirt Diggers at the Prairie City OHRV Park just east of Sacramento. The Dirt Diggers have been hard at work revamping the Hangtown circuit, with new soil, new rhythm sections and a whole new vibe as the world's best motocross racers come to town for their annual visit. Independent photographer James Saechao was on hand yesterday as title contender Mike Alessi of the Rockstar/Makita Suzuki team came out for a local press function, along with Star Racing Yamaha's Broc Tickle, privateers Brad Kelly and Kramer Patterson, plus a few other riders.

"The track is ran counter-clockwise," Saechao told us. "The holeshot is to the left then right, over a little launch jump--it's the S-turn like last year for the holeshot--then up the hill to an off-cambered jump that's really cool, down the hill to a off-camber turn like last year, and then off into the valley." 

MX Sports' Director of Operations John Ayers and his crew have been working with the Dirt Diggers since Tuesday morning, and he supplied us with a track map for a better idea as to what this weekend's course will look like. The event will be held this Saturday afternoon, May 30, with a live video coverage on beginning just before 1:00 p.m. locally (4:00 p.m. ET). Fans of Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross can watch the first motos live and free, and then we get ready for the first-ever AMA Motocross National to air on live television as SPEED TV begins its coverage of the final 450 class championship moto, featuring the aforementioned Alessi, plus series points leader Ryan Villopoto, two-time Monster Energy AMA Supercross Champion Chad Reed, Joe Gibbs Racing MX/Toyota Yamaha's Josh Grant, Honda Red Bull Racing's Davi Millsaps, Andrew Short and Ivan Tedesco, independent Yamaha rider Jason Lawrence, and many more. 

In the meantime, enjoy these press day photos by James Saechao.