When the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship finished, a busy off-season got underway with plenty of riders on the move from one team to another. Others got a jump on testing for 2015, and some guys just took it easy, enjoying some well-earned vacation time.
But there was still some racing to be done and money to be won, especially up in Michigan on Saturday night at the Soaring Eagle Resort and Casino. They posted $50,000 in prize money for what they were calling the Edge of Summer MX, and they brought in not only the RedBud gang to run the event, but event hosts Ricky Carmichael and Carey Hart of RCH Racing brought in renowned track builder Mark Barnett to work on what was effectively a big-but-safe outdoor supercross track. Michigan’s own Nick Wey, fast journeymen like Kyle Chisholm and Jimmy DeCotis, and top privateers like Mitch Oldenburg, Dakota Kessler, and Levi Kilbarger were among the riders lured by the money and the chance to have some fun. They all made the trip to the middle of Michigan for the chance at some good off-season cash.
Unfortunately, they also found out just how hard the weather is to predict in Michigan, as the afternoon amateur races were flooded with some heavy rain. Barnett and RedBud’s Tim Ritchie did their best with draining the track, and by the night program—two support class races and the main event—the track came around nicely. (In the 85cc class Chase Sexton out-paced Joey Crown for the win while longtime Arenacross contender Jeff Gibson bettered Kelly Smith and the ageless John Grewe for the Vet win.)
When it was time for the Pro class main event, few of the fans packed on the hillside between the track, and the actual Soaring Eagle Resort likely pegged Ricky Renner from Florida as the favorite, but he shot into the early lead on his KTM and led for much of the way. Only in the closing stages did the Yamaha-mounted Chisholm finally reel Renner in, but no sooner did he make his bid for the lead than he crashed spectacularly in a small whoops section. Chisholm rode off under his own power, but later visited the ambulance to get some medical attention.
Back out front Renner kept it pinned and added the Edge of Summer MX’s $10,000 winner’s share to what’s already been a productive summer—he won the Junior +25 class at the Loretta Lynn’s AMA Amateur National Motocross Championships (Renner’s older brother Ronnie is a Racer X contributor as well as the X Games Step-Up gold medalist). Renner dropped his bike just beyond the checkered flag and celebrated, with crowd favorite Nick Wey coming across a popular second and the poor-starting Oldenburg finally up to third by the end.
“I knew the holeshot would be important,” Renner said, donning the throwback first-place helmet trophy atop the podium. “Built a good lead, but Kyle (Chisholm) was able to reel me in and make the pass for the lead. I tucked in right behind him, but we ran into a lapper and Kyle took the high line, got some wheel spin and went down … pretty hard.”
When asked what he was going to do with the $10,000 in cash for first place, Renner beamed: “I’m going right over to Soaring Eagle and putting $5,000 on 32 black and $5,000 on 27 red!” (32 in reference to Renner’s bike number, 27 being Wey’s number.)
“I did well in the supercross portion of the track, maybe not so well in the motocross sections,” Wey said, still pocketing $8,000 for second place. “I wish I’d have got a better start to keep him honest, but Ricky rode excellent and certainly deserved the win tonight.”
With the resort packed and hotel rooms sold out, the Soaring Eagle Edge of Summer MX was a success despite the rain, and plans are already underway for a return next year, possibly on a different date so as not to conflict with the popular Baja Brawl event, also in Michigan. Either way, you should expect a return visit from champion Ricky Renner and friends.