Welcome to Racerhead, coming to you from the Rocky Mountain ATV/MC Shipping & Receiving Depot at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee. We have been here all week processing packages for about 1,000 individual riders and their families and sponsors and industry friends as everyone moves in for the busiest two weeks of the amateur motcross world.
The 38th Annual AMA Amateur National Motocross Championships at Loretta Lynn’s begin next Tuesday morning at 7:30 a.m. sharp with the first of moto of the week. It will last until late Saturday afternoon with the conclusion of the third and final motos. In between there will be seemingly endless motos. You can watch almost all of them beginning around 11 a.m. on Tuesday, live and free on www.racertv.com.
I was not at the Spring Creek National last week in Minnesota, but I did watch as we packed up the trailers for the annual trek from Morgantown to Hurricane Mills, but from what I heard and saw John Martin, track-builder Shane Schaffer and the whole Spring Creek crew did an amazing job of salvaging that event. After rain that my sister described in a panicked call over the phone as “biblical” and a long delay due to lightning, they got four motos in on a track that looked pretty damn good and raceable at the end of the day. Red Bull KTM’s Cooper Webb may have had that breakthrough outdoor ride we’ve been waiting for since the series started, and his second moto duel with Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen was one of the better battles of the year. And Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Adam Cianciarulo just keeps on trucking in the 250 Class, limiting his mistakes (as well as the damage when he does make one) and notched yet another overall win.
As far as the TV coverage goes, folks were pretty harsh on MAV-TV and NBC Sports as the lightning caused delays that all over the motorsports nation. Not only was Lucas Oil Pro Motocross delayed, so was the Indy Car race that was to run live before the tape-delay of Spring Creek. That caused everyone’s DVR settings to miss the race, and the emails and comments came flying at the rate of, well, lightning. (I was watching on NBC Sports Gold and it didn’t miss a beat, other than the long delay to start due to weather). The good news is that NBC Sports Network is doing a re-air of both motos on August 2 from 6 to 8 p.m., so please set your DVRs again, and sorry for the inconvenience. I am not sure what else could be done in a situation like that—you can’t send riders, track officials, and cameramen out on the track with electronic equipment in a lightning storm.
The only other thing I wanted to weigh in on from Spring Creek was Alex Martin’s penalty for blowing off the outside of the track as he holeshot the second moto and then obviously staying on the gas while he was up on the watering truck/medical cart road for what seemed like a good ten seconds. Once he found his way back on the track, he had lost a half-dozen spots, but it was the speed of which he was going down the road that caused the referee to dock him one position. That’s why the guys behind him didn’t get docked—they were riding slower and even standing up, looking for a place to re-enter. The mud pushed up off to the outside of the first turn made it impossible to come right back on, and where they parked the tractors on the outside of the second turn blocked where guys might normally come back on. They slowed as soon as they were off the track while Alex admittedly stayed on the gas too much and for too long.
So it’s on to Washougal for Lucas Oil Pro Motocross and I plan to be watching again tomorrow on NBC Sports Gold when I’m not working on the track here at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch. There will once again be a Red Bull viewing party down at Mario’s Red Bull set-up at that corner of Ricky Carmichael Blvd. and Loretta Lynn’s Road. Over the years that has grown from us having the announcer Rob Buydos call on a landline and play the PA call from Washougal over the PA here at Loretta Lynn’s, to the Raceday Webcast, to the live TV coverage to the point now where kids are walking around watching it on their own phones or Mario streaming his NBC Sports Gold. Just another one of those things where you can literally watch the evolution of how we just live our lives now…
Speaking of, it’s amazing how many things people ship now. We have the same amount of riders and families here as we always have—every gate in every class is full, and there are no qualifiers once you get here to the finals, just three long motos—yet we have twice as many packages coming every day as just a couple years ago. The buying habits of everyone has changed faster than you can say Amazon Prime and I’ve more strange things shipped here this week than I can ever remember, including boxes of fresh food from Whole Foods, a Kurig coffeemaker, 15 gallons of race fuel, two giant bags of dog food, six full awnings, and an entire TM65 minicycle from Italy. Plus more motorcycle parts and race gear and graphics than I can remember…
And almost on cue, the PA system is finally up and of course the first song they play is the first one they have played here every day for 38 years, Loretta Lynn’s classic “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” It’s the unofficial official song of this race, and every time I hear it, I think about this race, races gone by, years gone by… A lot has changed in the motocross world, and not all for the better. And while this race is always evolving—the track is part of the epic new add-on content for MX vs. ATV All Out, and they’re having an advanced screening for Bennett’s War here next week—it’s always going to strive to be the same fun week it started out to be way back in 1982.
Speaking of 1982, the first superstar graduate of Loretta Lynn’s Ronnie Lechien, of El Cajon, California, is on the ballot for the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame. Anyone who is a life member of the AMA, or already a member of the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, should be getting a ballot this week. Please consider Ron Lechien as your primary candidate when you vote. He is one of the most stylish and charismatic SX/MX riders of all time, the second-youngest AMA supercross winner ever, the youngest 250cc U.S. Grand Prix winner ever, a 125 National Champion, winner of AMA Nationals in all three classes, and an undefeated standout on Team USA at the Motocross des Nations. He deserves to be in the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, of which no pro motocross has gone in for his racing activities alone since Mike LaRocco several years ago. Vote for “The Dogger!”
Okay, another UPS truck is back in, which means time to get back to my part-time job this week, which is manning all of this shipping depot until the end of the last shipment of the day comes in, then getting out on the track and starting to mark it, and then just whatever else comes up and needs done before they open the beer tent!
MY FAVORITE LORETTA LYNN’S MOTO: STEVE LEWIS (reminisced by Alex Lewis)
When I saw this series of articles reminiscing about favorite moto’s at Loretta’s I knew I had to speak for my father, Steve Lewis, who captured six amateur national championships there. Dad passed away late last year after a hard-fought battle with cancer. He approached that fight the same way he competed in 32 classes across 20 years at Loretta’s, with the throttle pinned and no quit in him.
My father was a fixture at Loretta Lynn’s for two decades. Unlike most of those interviewed for this series of articles, he wouldn’t be leaving Loretta’s and heading for a first outdoor national the next week or even hoping to get a spot next year in the factory tent. Those days were behind him but racing there never meant more to anyone else.
It is hard to explain just how much the competition at Loretta’s meant to my father and me. I didn’t live with my Dad so the trip to Loretta’s every year and running the pit board for him was a special time. He had already been racing for almost two decades when we made our first trip there in 1983. At 34, he was already known as “Old Man” around the local tracks in the Carolinas and Georgia. Most weekends were spent racing against guys ten or 15 years younger than him. He loved that challenge but the age-based classes at Loretta’s gave him his first level playing field. He competed for the first six years in the Senior 30+ and Open classes with some success but more than his share of bad luck. When he turned 40 in 1989, the game was on.
Having lined up in the starting gate for 60 motos at Loretta’s, deciding on the one my father would have selected as his favorite was no simple task. It would be easy to say the third moto in the 40+ class in 1989 when he won his first championship. Certainly the euphoria and pride of winning a title and getting your name in the history books would make this a favorite for most riders. But my father was at his best and enjoyed the competition the most when it got tough and he had something to prove.
Dad went on to win the 40+ championship again in 1990 and 1991. In 1992, he won the first two motos in pursuit of his fourth straight title but began feeling sick the day before the final moto. There would be no convincing him not to race, so we carried on. While this third moto might be one of the most memorable, it would not be his favorite. On the first lap, as the pack was going through the Ten Commandments, Dad passed out and went down hard. After a few minutes, he was back on his feet and trying to remount the bike. Fortunately, Big Dave Coombs had come rushing over to help me convince my still groggy father that the day was lost and we needed to head back to the pits.
It was a long year after that defeat, made worse by the realization that he was now 44 and the competition in the Veteran classes was growing stiffer each year. In 1993, he had likely his last chance for another title. It did not start off as planned. I will never forget the frustration and resignation on my father’s face as we headed back to the pits after the second moto. Bad starts and likely too much self-applied pressure left Dad in fourth place with six points (3-3). Alan Bowman had four points (2-2), Paul Eckhart Jr. had five points (1-4), and Gary Peak had five points (4-1). Dad was certain his title hopes were over. While he loaded up the bike for the day, I wrote out the standings to prove he still had a shot. In the end, the math was pretty simple. I told him, “just go win the final moto and if Alan doesn’t finish second, you will take home your fourth title.”
Well that is exactly what the “Old Man” did. He stormed to the front and never looked back. Alan ended up fifth that moto. Dad had won his fourth Loretta’s title in five years and a favorite moto was shared by father and son.
When we pulled out of the campground that week and put Hurricane Mills in the rear-view mirror, we both assumed that was the end of a great run. Well six years later he was back at it, winning two more titles in the 50+ class.
Dad lived to race motocross. He built everything in his life around it. He loved the bikes, the competition, and the people. You can’t find a better place for those three things than the event put together by the MX Sports team each year at the Loretta Lynn Dude Ranch. Wherever you are now Dad, I hope they have a starting gate, a deep rough track and 39 fast guys to give you a race.
Good Times in Boise (Aaron Hansel)
What’s one of the best parts of being a motocross enthusiast? New gear, of course, and when it’s presented at Fly Racing’s annual gear launch it doesn’t get much better. This week Fly Racing hosted a gaggle of media members in their home city of Boise, Idaho, for their third “Summer Camp,” where they not only showed off their latest gear but made sure to have a whole list of cool activities lined up.
The main activity of course, was getting a chance to test out the new threads on the motocross track, which we did at Skyline Park, just outside of Boise. I was impressed with the EVO DST gear and had a blast riding the track. I could feel the ventilation working, despite wearing a chest protector, and could feel it in my knees too, which felt awesome. Everything was comfy and wasn't constricting in any way yet wasn't baggy either. I hate pants that don’t seem to fit right with knee braces, but I didn’t have any complaints with the Fly gear. I also dig the lightweight Formula helmet, which has a lot of innovative safety tech built into it. Of course, the best part of the morning was watching Damon Bradshaw and Weston Peick spin laps. Bradshaw is still a beast and, while Peick may be recovering from his horrible crash in Paris in November, it didn’t seem to slow him down in Boise! Other highlights included Peick and Steve Matthes exchanging insults, and Matthes laying underneath a KTM motorcycle to reenact Marvin Musquin’s crash at RedBud, which left him under his own Red Bull KTM.
There was also a pit bike race in which SwapMotoLive.com’s Michael Antonovich cleaned me out with reckless abandon, but revenge came swift when I cut the track and blew out his front wheel on a jump face. He got the last laugh though because he ended up winning the race! The next day some media members went trail riding while the rest of us went whitewater rafting. I know, it’s a tough gig, but someone’s got to do it.
The takeaway from the launch is, fittingly, the gear. It looks great and felt awesome out on the track. Be sure to check out the 2020 Fly Racing gear at your local dealer, or just head to Washougal this weekend, where it will be on display.
FLYintro-July19-Cudby-0103 Simon Cudby FLYintro-July19-Cudby-0061 Simon Cudby FLYintro-July19-Cudby-0013 Simon Cudby FLYintro-July19-Cudby-0050 Simon Cudby FLYintro-July19-Cudby-0101 Simon Cudby FLYintro-July19-Cudby-0062 Simon Cudby FLYintro-July19-Cudby-0043 Simon Cudby FLYintro-July19-Cudby-0004 Simon Cudby
From @mxresearchdept: Last week at Spring Creek, we had a first-time winner in the 450 Class, as Cooper Webb took his first career overall win in his 26th start.
He is the 69th different overall winner in the history of the 450/MX/250 Class, and the first first-time winner since Jeffrey Herlings won the season finale in 2017 at Ironman Raceway.
Here are the last 10 first-time winners in the 450 Class;
Cooper Webb (1-1) - 7/20/19 at Spring Creek
Jeffrey Herlings (1-1) - 8/26/17 at Ironman
Justin Bogle (1-3) - 8/19/17 at Budds Creek
Blake Baggett (3-1) - 6/3/17 at Thunder Valley
Marvin Musquin (1-3) - 5/27/17 at Glen Helen
Justin Barcia (3-1) - 6/27/15 at Budds Creek
Trey Canard (1-1) - 8/23/14 at Utah
Eli Tomac (1-1) - 7/19/14 at Spring Creek
Ken Roczen (1-1) - 5/31/14 at Hangtown
Brett Metcalfe (3-2) - 8/27/11 at Southwick
Webb also won his first two career Motos in the 450 class. It was also Webb’s first overall podium in the 450 Class as well
Winning Everywhere (Andras Hegyi)
The 2019 Monster Energy AMA Supercross 450SX Champion Cooper Webb has put his career jigsaw puzzle together. After winning on a 250cc bike in both the supercross and motocross and then winning in 450 SX too, last Saturday the Red Bull KTM rider was got his maiden victory in the 450 Class of Pro Motocross. Webb took his first 450 outdooor win in his third season and in his 26th race in the class. That win was also Webb’s first overall podium in the 450 motocross. Webb became the 21st motocrosser to win in all the four current classes: 250 supercross and motocross, 450 supercross and motocross. Before this, Webb had 11 wins in the 250SX, seven wins in 250 motocross and seven wins in 450SX. In addition, in the history of all the American motocross/supercross series there were only two riders to win in five different categories. They are Mike LaRocco and Mike Kiedrowski, who besides the 250/450 motocross and supercross, the 125/250 motocross and supercross, they also got wins also in the old 500cc AMA Motocross.
Riders to win in all the four current categories, in the 250/450 supercross and motocross and in the 125/250 supercross and motocross:
Ricky Carmichael, Jeremy McGrath, James Stewart, Ryan Villopoto, Ryan Dungey, Chad Reed, Kevin Windham, Mike LaRocco, Mike Kiedrowski, Jeff Matiasevich, Damon Bradshaw, John Dowd, Jeff Emig, Doug Henry, Ken Roczen, Eli Tomac, Trey Canard, Justin Barcia, Marvin Musquin, Blake Baggett, and Cooper Webb.
The september 2019 ISSUE OF RACER X MAGAZINE IS NOW AVAILABLE
The September 2019 issue of Racer X magazine is out now. Sign up now for the print and/or award-winning digital edition. And if you're already a digital subscriber head to digital.racerxonline.com to login.
What's inside? Behind the scenes of the moving and shaking 250 Class. We celebrate 50 years of world-class motocross at Unadilla and take a look at the international years in the first part of a two-part series. The 125 All Star Series in Lucas Oil Pro Motocross offers a nice buzz for all. And we sent our art director to Oregon for some epic trail riding. All these features and much more inside the September issue.
“Drama Class” by Jason Weigandt
The 250 Class of Lucas Oil Pro Motocross has seen some solid action in 2019, but the real juicy stuff has been going on behind the scenes.
“Unadilla. Established 1969 - Part 1” by Davey Coombs
As one of the world’s premier tracks celebrates its fiftieth anniversary, we explore what makes it such an icon of global motocross racing.
“Class Disruption” by Mike Emery
The joys, pains, hope, and obstacles that come with loving the smell of premix and the buzz of 125cc motorcycles.
“Out There” by David Langran
Racer X art director David “Langers” Langran goes off-roading for the first time in the wilds of scenic Oregon.
Poster Info (Print Edition Only)
We feature both a new-school and old-school vibe for our poster this month with a 2019 shot of Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen on the front and a 1976 shot of Suzuki’s Roger De Coster on the back.
50 Years Faster - O'Neal
We're celebrating 50 years of the O'Neal brand and their 50 Years Faster campaign with an in-depth picturesque look at their rider roster over their expansive five decades-long evolution in the sport we love.
Hey, Watch It!
LISTEN TO THIS
The Fly Racing Racer X Review Podcast comes in with Jason Thomas and Jason Weigandt joining host Steve Matthes to talk about the Spring Creek National. The trio does their usual gig, talking about the highlights from the weekend and whatever else weird stuff comes up. Check it out.
Matthes also caught up with the “King of Supercross” earlier this week to talk about MC racing a KX500 at Mammoth, they bench race a bit about the old days, talk about the races now, and more.
And since Steve in just AN AUDIO BEAST, he did another podcast with JT and PulpMX’s own Kris Keefer on the 2020 Fly Racing Summer Camp. Dr. Dan Plant—inventor of the RHEON tech that’s found in the Formula helmet—joins the trio to talk about helmet safety and more.
Daniel Blair and Producer Joe bring in Episode #127 of the Main Event Moto Podcast. This week, DB and Producer Joe are joined by Mike "Jason Statham" Mason. The trio talks about the 2019 Spring Creek National. Daniel focuses on the headlines in the sport and sometimes it goes off the rails. Listen to Episode #125 of the Main Event Moto Podcast below.
Head-Scratching Headline/s of the Week
“Award-Winning Lamb Under Investigation For PEDs”—Deadspin
“Dash camera captures Lime scooter rider on I-35 in downtown Dallas during rush hour”—Fox News
“Boram, 6-year-old South Korean YouTuber, buys $8 million property”—CNN
washougal NATIONAL RACER X ALL-DAY PIT PASSES | LIMITED QUANTITIES LEFT
Going to the Washougal National this weekend? Want to be able to get into the pits all day?
The only way to cruise the pits whenever you’d like is with the Racer X All-Day Pit Pass, but quantities are limited! Get yours today while they’re still available and get all-day pit access plus a one-year subscription to Racer X Illustrated for $50.
If you preorder online for this event, you’ll need to pick your Racer X Pit Pass up at Will Call, where you’ll also receive an extra copy of Racer X, the official event sticker, and Racer X stickers.
SUBSCRIBE AT washougal AND GET ALL 12 EVENT STICKERS
Are you headed to the Washougal National this weekend? Make sure you stop by the Racer X booth, located in Sponsor Village, and subscribe for as low as $15 and receive ALL TWELVE Official 2019 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Racer X event stickers. You will also receive a complimentary magazine and free Racer X stickers.
Be sure to check out our Racer X Brand items on display and grab some gear. See you at the races!
For the latest from Canada, check out DMX Frid’EH Update #30.
Thanks for reading Racerhead. See you at the races!