Amateur MX: Mother Nature Tests Racers’ Mud-Riding Skills At Loretta Lynn’s

Kit Palmer | August 1, 2013
The 250 B classes charges into a slippery first turn. Aaron Plessinger [57] went on to win for the second time.

The 250 B classes charges into a slippery first turn. Aaron Plessinger went on to win for the second time. PHOTOGRAPHY BY KIT PALMER

It took two full days but the first of three rounds of motos is finally complete at the 32nd Red Bull AMA Amateur Motocross National Championships at Loretta Lynn’s. While there might have been a number of moto winners on Wednesday, the big winner was Mother Nature, which took control of the day’s racing and played havoc on scheduling.

Light right over night followed by a hard downpour Tuesday morning put everything on hold. Although the first three early morning scheduled motos were run in the rain, the water quickly saturated the track and infield, making them both impassable (even for walking) and forcing race organizers to stop everything and put the 20 motos in a holding pattern, especially with the threat of more rain on the way. Hours later, once it was safe to start re-grooming the track, part of which had to be eliminated, racing resumed around three p.m. with a modified schedule that put the big bikes on the track first, followed by the minis.

The Senior 40+ riders were the “lucky” ones to get the program running again and their race looked more like GNCC than a motocross, as the riders paddled their way around the muddy track. But as time went by, lap times picked up and once little mud hills became jumps again.

Keith Johnson, however, didn’t seem to mind all the goop and ran off with the win after pretty much leading it the whole way.

The highly anticipated 250 A class got underway on the muddy but slowly improving track. Fans were treated to a great race that saw Thomas Covington, Shane McElrath and Colt Nichols all battling for the lead, while also battling the track. But it was Amsoil/Factory Connection Honda’s Matt Biscelia who ended up taking the victory. However, at first it looked as though the Texas might suffer his first defeat in a while after starting off about fifth. But he didn’t panic and instead slowly worked his way to the front, taking full advantages of the mishaps by the riders ahead of him that were mixing it up, battling handlebar to handlebar on the unforgiving track.

“I rode a smart race,” Biscelia said. “I took my time and let them make mistakes. I felt good on the bike and, like I said, I had to be smart out there.”

The Supermini 2 (12-16) class also produced great racing. In this one, the lead changed many times, but pulling through at the end was Kawasaki Team Green’s Austin Forkner, who finished just ahead of Suzuki rider Ashton Hayes and Kawasaki pilot Derek Drake.

Ty Masterpoole and Jace Kessler went at it again in the 65cc (7-11) class. The last time these two guys met it was in the Limited class and Kessler emerged with the win, but roles were reversed this time with Masterpoole coming out on top.

Although they had to wait two full days the 50cc riders finally got the chance to race. Their motos were rescheduled for the end, but the wait was worth it as they were rewarded with ideal track conditions. Jett Reynolds, who got a moto in the previous day, earned his second win so far with a victory in the 51cc (7-8) Limited class, while Daxton Bennick took the win in the 51cc (4-6) Special Limited class and Noah Gordon in the 51cc (4-6) Limited class.

Levi Bolton battled his way to the win in the 51cc (4-6) Shaft Drive Limited class.

The 450 A class was one of the three motos that was held during the early morning rain storm, and it was Suzuki rider Jace Owens who came out on top in the muck. He finished nearly a minute ahead of Luke Renzland and Jesse Pierce. Tyler Enticknap finished fourth.

One of KTM’s brightest young stars, Dakota Alix, had his week of racing at Loretta’s cut short. While competing in the 450 A moto, Alix crashed and had to be helped off the track. Alix suffered a concussion in the fall but still wanted to race the 250 A moto later in the day. He and his team, however, wisely chose to withdraw from the event.

A full day of racing is planned for Thursday, as race organizers hope to get the schedule back to normal. The weather is expected to cooperate, which means the return of hot and steamy conditions, but you can never rule out the chance of thunderstorms at Loretta’s.


Kit Palmer | Off-Road Editor

Kit Palmer started his career at Cycle News in 1984 and he’s been testing dirt and streetbikes every since – plus covering any event that uses some form of a knobby tire. He’s also our resident motorcycle mileage man with a commute of 120 miles a day.