MT. PLEASANT, Mich. – During a short bench racing session yesterday RCH Racing’s Ricky Carmichael professed that he’s going to race on Saturday at the second annual Edge of Summer MX at Michigan’s famed Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort.
Carmichael, the all-time winningest pro motocross racer, will in all probability boot up for the 30-plus class at Edge of Summer MX, opting out of the nearly $50K cash purse in the Pro class so there’s more loot for guys like Broc Tickle, Nick Wey, Mike Alessi, Kyle Chisholm and defending champ Ricky Renner.
“Yeah, I’ve found that when I sign up for a Pro class there’s a good chance I’ll be hitting the ground,” said Carmichael with a laugh. “And I’m here to have fun this weekend.”
Two big-assed jumps will highlight Saturday’s two-wheel Pro class clash as track builders Randy Poulter and Tim Ritchie have pulled out all the stops in creating a true-to-form Supercross/Motocross hybrid track designed by Carmichael. The 80’ gap infield jump, dubbed the “BFS” (or Big Freakin’ Stupid) by Ritchie, goes 125 feet to the downside landing. The jump was cleared first by RCH Racing’s Blake Savage aboard an RMZ450 with stock suspension! And Thomas Brown made the leap on his Yamaha quad. And speaking of leaps, Ritchie and Poulter re-created LaRocco’s Leap on the grounds of Soaring Eagle. Dubbed ‘Lil LaRocco’s, the 135-foot uphill double (120’ to the knuckle) mimics the famed jump at RedBud jump, but with about half the height.
MX & ATV National announcers Tim Cotter and Rodney Tomblin are in the house at Soaring Eagle, calling the shots for both the dirt bike and ATV qualifying and races for Edge of Summer MX. Both run a hectic schedule during the summer, with Tomblin calling both the ATV Pro MX National Series and Grand National Cross Country Series, while Cotter is the voice of the Outdoor MX Nationals and Loretta Lynn’s race director. Said Cotter, “When Amy (Ritchie, of RedBud MX) calls and asks me to help out I just can’t say ‘No.’”
Brighter nights for Edge of Summer MX! Last year, at the inaugural year of Edge of Summer MX, there were a few areas on the track that were a bit dark, with riders battling some shadows. That situation’s all but solved this year with the addition of a third massive Musco lighting truck, literally turning night into day on the grounds of Soaring Eagle.
Lap times at Edge of Summer MX will be right around the 1:30 range for the Pro racers. Considering RedBud’s laps are around 1:45, the track on the grounds of Soaring Eagle is one of the more accurate one time use hybrid SX/MX tracks in the nation. Some 8,000 cubic yards of dirt were hauled in and used to construct the Soaring Eagle track over five days, which has everything from massive jumps to GP-style flat and off-camber turns.
Refereeing the Edge of Summer MX contest will be longtime Arenacross and ATV MX National official Harv Whipple. His first trek to Soaring Eagle, Whipple was impressed with the track layout, the facility’s expanse and opportunity for some back-and-forth racing action for the fans – which can view pretty much the entire track from the hillside seating. “This is a very friendly, very ATV-open track that’s laid out much in the same way we’d find at any National track,” said Whipple. “It’s great for the amateurs, while Friday and Saturday’s Pro track will test the premier racers – both ATV and dirt bikes alike. Should be some great racing for the fans, while being fun for the competitors as well.”
Jeff and Tony Alessi, there helping with Mike Alessi, were taking in Friday’s Pro ATV practice session and were impressed with what they saw. “You can see those guys eying up that quad (going for four vs. tripling the main rhythm section) jump. I bet when one does pretty much all of them will follow,” said Jeff Alessi. When asked if he’d ever ridden a pro-style ATV, Jeff said: “Yeah, but the thing I couldn’t get used to is the suspension and how a dirt bike’s works up and down while the ATVs works from side to side.” Jeff said he’s got a couple bikes lined up for this coming race season and plans to get back into racing shape here in the coming months.
Cobra Moto’s Sean Hilbert heads up a motorsports safety symposium for 50 or so tribal kids on Saturday at Soaring Eagle. Hilbert, who’s spoken before Senate sub committees on the subject of ATV and mini cycle safety, will be joined by a few racers and RCH Racing team officials that have a pretty good grasp on the subject as well, including Carmichael, Carey Hart, Ken Roczen, Kenny Watson & Kyle Bentley.
The RCH Racing-backed “Par for the Course” celebrity golf outing put on by Soaring Eagle at the nearby Pohl Cat Golf Course raised an impressive $40,000 for the Wounded Soldiers Fund and Tribal Children’s Fund.
Great seats are still available for Friday (Pro ATV) and Saturday’s (Pro Dirt Bike) main events, with action getting underway at 6 p.m. with the dirt bikes on Saturday. And don’t forget to get there early afternoon so you can see RC race the 30-plus class!
Event sponsors include: RCH Racing, Ram, Bel-Ray, Suzuki, Hart & Huntington, RedBud MX, Stevens Cycles and Michigan CAT.
What: Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort’s Edge of Summer MX event
When: Aug. 28-30
Time: Friday’s Pro ATV final motos are at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.; Saturday’s Pro MX (dirt bikes) practice begins at 6 p.m. Gates open daily at 6 a.m. for amateur practice and racing, beginning at 9 a.m. Friday, 8 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Where: Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort, Mt. Pleasant, Mich.
Who: The Midwest’s top amateur and nationally-ranked pro motocross and ATV racers battle for a $62,000-plus purse.
ATV autograph session, hosted by Red Bull: Trackside at the Red Bull hauler on Friday, 5:30 p.m., following the final Pro class moto.
Dirt Bike autograph session: Trackside on Saturday from 5-6 p.m. at the RCH Racing rig with RC, Hart, Roczen & Tickle.
Tickets: Just $25 per day/$40 for the entire weekend and are available at the gate.