RedBuuuuudddddd! If you’re going to the race this weekend, you’ll hear that phrase yelled about 75,000 times by noon on Saturday. For my money, RedBud is the most iconic of all American motocross races. Positioned around America’s birthday, fans come from across the country to camp, race, and take in one heck of an event. The 2018 Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations may not have panned out in the results column but it was a huge success otherwise. Globally, it is now the race that resonates with American motocross.
The track has evolved over the years. When I first raced here in 1997, it was a rutty, muddy mess in the morning that transitioned into a hard-packed, ledge-bumped track by the second moto. In the early 2000s, the Ritchie family brought in a multitude of different soil changes. Sand and mulch were the most apparent of these, slowly working into the dirt and completely changing the feel of the race. The hard-packed component of Red Bud is completely gone now. If anything, riders associate sand with Red Bud more than any other soil now. That was a hot topic at last October’s MXoN, too, as there seemed to be an overwhelming addition of sand. The track crew completely disagrees and has said there wasn’t any more sand at the ‘Nations than the AMA National, but it’s hard to argue how sandy it looked both in person and on TV. In any case, this is a track with abundant traction and those rock hard ledge bumps have been replaced with mulchy, sandy, braking bumps.
The long sand whoops are another staple of this track, forcing riders to decide between blitzing or jumping. The interesting thing about this section is riders usually change strategy during the moto. In the early laps, blitzing is life. It’s faster but takes a tremendous amount of energy each lap. As the moto winds down, many riders resort to jumping, saving energy even if they lose a bit of time. Watch for the strategies in this section. It’s a unique fitness measure.
Red Bud’s start will be interesting this year. For the MXoN last October, the start was moved into more of a “straight line” into what would have previously been the second corner. Red Bud’s old start was feared by many as the high speed bend pushed riders wide and we often saw spectacular crashes because of contact. I don’t think anyone will be complaining about the updated start for 2019. It’s safer, slower, and adds a new wrinkle.
When I think of Red Bud’s track overall, I immediately remember how important technique is specifically for this round. The track forms long ruts exiting the corners, especially down in the bottom of the race track. If riders don’t execute the fundamentals, they will struggle to get in and out of corners with any speed or momentum. Lifting their inside leg, finding the correct lean angle with both body and bike, and avoiding any stop or hesitation mid-corner are all important rules to remember for Red Bud. The deep Red Bud dirt penalizes riders that tend to start/stop in the corners, a fact that we saw play out last fall. The MXGP riders put on a cornering clinic, never breaking momentum, therefore not having to aggressively regain it. It’s difficult to think about technique in the blur of a moto but Red Bud is a track that rewards it.
Questions I Need Answered
Have Aldon Baker’s crew found the keys to reducing this 450 title deficit?
Can anyone derail the Adam Cianciarulo train?
Will Dylan Ferrandis and Marvin Musquin’s French connection spoil America’s birthday, adding to the MXoN misery?
How will GEICO Honda approach RedBud concerning Chase Sexton?
Can Alex Martin continue his improvement?
Can Fredrik Noren move into the top five?
Will Steve Matthes snap on someone screaming RedBudddd in his face?
How many beers will Jason Weigandt chug in the Racer X Best Post-Race Show Ever?
Marvin Musquin has won two overalls in a row.
Adam Cianciarulo bounced back at Southwick, extending his points lead with a great overall win.
Zach Osborne won his first 450 Class moto and maybe, just maybe, can work with Musquin to make this a series.
Ferrandis has woken, winning two motos of the last four.
Alex Martin may not be exactly where he wants to be on the results page but things are improving.
Noren has rescued JGR Suzuki’s 450 season.
Ken Roczen’s health is forcing him into difficulty as we get into the tougher rounds of the series.
Chase Sexton missed another second moto at Southwick, still feeling the effects of Florida.
Derek Drake’s starts are putting him in the spotlight but the results haven’t been there yet.
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna's 250 Class effort was down to only Jordan Bailey at Southwick.
Honda HRC has the coolest theme graphics for the weekend.
Cooper Webb holeshots the first moto.
For the second year in a row, France’s MXON team manager comes to RedBud, watches Musquin win the overall, and doesn’t pick him for the team.
Steve Matthes shares Canada’s story of independence with several people who don’t care at all.
Mike LaRocco somehow does a RedBud radio show without saying a word.
RedBud proves once again that it’s the standard for American moto.