The race at Freestone marks the return to Texas of AMA Motocross. The Lone Star State last hosted an AMA national in 1988 in San Antonio. Freestone County Raceway has designed an all-new, purpose-built motocross facility that will see its AMA Pro race debut this weekend. Local Texas riders have already given the track a big thumbs up and say that it will be an exciting venue for both racers and fans.
“We’re very excited to be hosting our first national,” said track owner Tony Miller. “We want to give fans a great experience and everything we’ve done leading up to the race was done with that in mind.”
The circuit is built on the grounds of a cattle ranch and an 1800s era homestead. The original farmhouse still stands on the property. Miller reports the track is 1.3-miles long and the surface is a sandy loam with moderate elevation changes.
“Fans and TV will have great site lines at Freestone,” said Steve Whitelock, AMA Director of Supercross & Motocross. “The track runs up into the trees and they will have a large vendor’s area and ample parking areas for fans and the team rigs.”
The championship scenarios in both the AMA Motocross and Motocross Lites class couldn’t be more intense as the championship comes to Freestone.
Yamaha’s Grant Langston is coming off one of the best race weekends of his career. Last week in Delmont, Pa., Langston won his very first national in the premier class and as a result took over the series points lead. Langston, a former world champion motocross racer from South Africa, leads Honda’s Andrew Short by just two points. Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Tim Ferry is only four points out of the lead. Just 10 points separate the top four riders, with Red Bull KTM’s Mike Alessi a close fourth, so the championship picture could look very different after Freestone.
“Every year I give it all I’ve got,” said Langston, who won the AMA Motocross Lites Championship in 2003. “For some reason I always find myself in these crazy down to the wire championship battles. I think that’s fun and that’s what we strive for as racers. At the beginning of the year I didn’t think I’d be in this position, but once I smelled blood I thought ‘man I’ve got to go for it.’ The new 2008 Yamaha has really helped me get confidence in my riding. Everything has been coming together at the right time. It’s going to come down to the end, but I don’t buckle under pressure. Getting my first win in the 450 [Motocross] class has given me a big boost of confidence going into the last two races”
Alessi has joined Langston in a late-season surge. He foresees a tremendous championship race in the final rounds.
“I think there will be three, if not four, riders going for the championship in the final moto of the season,” predicted Alessi. “It’s going to be great for the fans, but the pressure is definitely on us in the final two rounds. I’ve been in this position before with the pressure and I’ve matured a lot over the years.”
An overall victory in the Motocross Lites class at Steel City last week has given defending champ Ryan Villopoto the lead once again. The series has been a season-long duel between Villopoto and Monster Energy Kawasaki teammate Ben Townley. The team has been strong this year and last weekend was a prime example. Monster Energy Kawasaki riders swept the top four positions, with Brett Metcalfe and rookie Austin Stroupe finishing third and fourth respectively.
Villopoto comes to Freestone with a six-point lead over Townley. Both riders had to overcome adversity last week in Pennsylvania where they both got caught up in a massive first-turn pileup in the first moto.
“We both had to come back from last and we made a great charge through the field,” said Villopoto, who earned his fourth overall victory of the season last week. “I was able to recover and salvage some valuable points. Every point counts coming down to the end of the season.”
Texas fans will have local heroes to root for this Sunday. Both Andrew Short and Ivan Tedesco have adopted Texas as their home base. Lites class contender Tommy Hahn lives in Texas as does fellow Lites competitor Kyle Cunningham.
The AMA Motocross race from Freestone County Raceway will broadcast nationally on SPEED starting at 6:00 pm, Sunday, Sept. 9. The Lites class will air on Tuesday, Sept. 11, at 3:00 pm.
Tickets are available at area Yamaha dealers or by visiting the website www.freestonemx.com.
WHAT: Monster Energy Freestone Motocross National, round 11 of the 12-round AMA Toyota Motocross Championship presented by FMF.
WHERE: Freestone County Raceway in Wortham, Texas., From I-45, exit #213 (FM 246). Turn right (west) for 6 miles on FM 246 to County Road 996. Turn left on County Road 996 for ¼ mile. Turn left on County Road 995, ¾ mile to facility.
WHEN: Sept. 1-2, 2007
SCHEDULE: Saturday - Pro timed qualifying, 1:00-4:35 pm., Lites Consolation Race 4:45 pm; Sunday - Pro Motocross Consolation Race 9:15 am. Qualifying 10:00 am. Opening Ceremonies begin at 12:30 pm with final events beginning at 1 pm.