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Images from the opening round of the 2020 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross championship round 2 from the Loretta Lynn Ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee
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10 Cool Facts on the 40th running of the Monster Energy AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship

Aug 022021

They come from every corner of the United States. The fastest kids and adults on motocross bikes – boys & girls, men & women – all descending upon famed country singer Loretta Lynn’s Ranch in the humid-as-hell-turned Motocross Mecca smack dab in the middle of Tennessee. Some have a goal of just making it here, while all share the dream of being named a Loretta’s Champion – winner at this year’s 40th running of the Monster Energy AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship.


The names that adorn the hallowed record books at Loretta’s read like a ‘Who’s Who’ of all-time motocross and supercross greats. Monster Energy racers both present and past, names like Adam Cianciarulo, Justin Cooper, Austin Forkner, Eli Tomac, Joey Savatgy, Garrett Marchbanks, Justin Barcia, and Aaron Plessinger, along with some of the all-time Monster Energy-backed greats – McGrath, Carmichael & Villopoto.


This week it’ll be 40 years since they first dropped the gate at Loretta’s, deciding who’s the fastest in the world of amateur motocross racing. Monster Energy would like to congratulate MX Sports on its impressive milestone and wish them the best of luck this week in Tennessee. And so the legions of Monster Energy fans are up-to-speed with what’s going on, here are ten cool facts regarding the Monster Energy AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship.

How’d this all come about?

Motocross promoter Dave Coombs Sr. is the founder of Monster Energy AMA Amateur National Motocross Championships. As the story goes Coombs ran his idea of consolidating a number of big amateur MX races into one central United States location past Paul Schlegel, himself a motocross promoter. Schlegel suggested Loretta Lynn’s Ranch based on the auto rally race he’d attended there. Coombs pitched Lynn’s team in 1982, including her husband, Mooney, and they liked the idea. Forty years later they’re still racing at Loretta’s!
 

How does a racer qualify for Loretta’s?

Premier motocross facilities across the United States are selected to host Area and Regional qualifying events for Loretta’s. From February through June each year the arduous qualification process takes place – 51 area qualifiers (February through May) and 18 Regional Championships (May through June) - with thousands of racers being whittled down to 42 riders in each of the 37 classes. Qualify and you receive a “Golden Ticket” to Loretta’s, which in and of itself, is a major victory for most racers.

What’s Loretta Lynn’s Ranch like?

Besides being ‘Motocross Heaven’ for those qualifying and in attendance, one could liken the transformation of the property to how ESPN creates the optimal competition playing field for its Summer and Winter X Games. Lynn’s 6,000-acre ranch is perfect for motocross. Rich, loamy soil that ruts up nicely and allows MX Sports’ operations crew to craft a multitude of jumps, whoops, bumps, and berms to test even the most pro-ready amateurs. And for the thousands in attendance, both competing and supporting, 300 campsites provide a home-away-from-home atmosphere for the week-long event.

What are the rules?

The racers and classes are separated by age, skill level, and motorcycle engine size (aka ‘displacement’). The race format consists of three 20-minute (plus two laps) motos, and riders can qualify for up to two classes. And the best part of Loretta’s is that the track is only open for one week out of the year, so there’s no home track advantage for any of the participants.

Who are the competitors?

The classes range from 4-year-olds on mini electric bikes to Open Pro Sport, with agents and factories waiting at the finish line with pro contracts in hand. In between are a myriad of classes including juniors, girls/women, schoolboys, college, A, B & C class racers, vet (30+), Senior (40+), and Master (50+) racers. Roughly 1,400 racers compete each year at Loretta’s.

What kind of motorcycles do they race?

Pretty much what you see on TV, i.e. professional motocross-style race bikes by brands such as Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Yamaha, KTM, Husqvarna, and Gas Gas. The racers that make Loretta’s, along with the ones that tried, make up the backbone of an industry that has seen record sales in the past two years. The race bikes have highly-tuned suspensions able to sop up the bumps and jumps that would be similar to racing across a bombed-out landscape – which is actually how the sports of motocross (aka “scrambles”) got their start after WWII.

How can I watch the races at Loretta’s?

Tune in to all the action on RacerTV. According to MX Sports, “RacerTV.com is a huge step forward for off-road sports, offering coverage of motocross, off-road, ATV racing, and more. It’s basically the coolest cable TV channel ever, except you can watch it wherever you go! RacerTV.com is also the home of live coverage of Grand National Cross Country races and top motocross events like the Monster Energy AMA Amateur Nationals at Loretta Lynn’s.”

What do riders win?

Besides bragging rights racers who win their classes receive an awesome Monster Energy emblazoned trophy, contingency money from participating sponsors, along with a shot at the coveted Nicky Hayden AMA Motocross Horizon Award, given each year to the event’s most promising amateur racer.

Who had the worst crash ever at Loretta’s?

Some would say that’d be Robert Pastrana, Travis’ dad. Check out the footage here! 

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