Loretta Lynn’s Amateur Motocross West Regional Qualifier

Cody Wilson wheeling his trusty steed through Spring Creeks Talladega turn. Photo Credit: Keith McKenna www.keithmckenna.zenfolio.com.
Cody Wilson wheeling his trusty steed through Spring Creeks Talladega turn. Photo Credit: Keith McKenna www.keithmckenna.zenfolio.com.

The run up to the 2015 Loretta Lynn’s Amateur Motocross National is nearing completion as the dates for “the largest amateur motocross national in the world” is fast approaching.

For the uninitiated, Loretta Lynn’s is easily distinguished as the pinnacle of Amateur Motocross, as well as being a platform for the very best in amateur motocross to show the major industry leaders what they’ve got, this annual Motocross Championship draws the attention of the most important motocross sponsors looking for new talent and thousands attempt to qualify for Loretta’s each year. Growing from humble beginnings in 1982, the Loretta Lynn’s Amateur National is , in its 33rd year, considered the Mecca for up and coming motocross stars. The racetrack is situated on Loretta Lynn’s Ranch in the unincorporated community of Hurricane Mills in Humphreys County, Tennessee.

Unlike most other amateur races where you just show up and pay an entry fee to race, at the LL National, you first have to “Earn a Ticket”. A long and grueling road in and of itself. Very few motocross tracks, if any, compare to the aura of Loretta Lynns. The track only exists for a few weeks out of the year. The rest of the time, it is a home for horses.

To “Get a Ticket” to the race, riders must first qualify at area races. If they qualify at the area level, then they must qualify at the regional level, against an even stronger field of riders. Only the best 42 riders in 34 different classes get a Ticket to the big show in Tennessee. Once at Loretta’s, the rider must endure 3 20 minute moto’s (plus two laps) in each class entered. The atmosphere is much like that of an outdoor national pro race, due to the presence of many vendors and manufacturers and race teams in attendance to offer racer support and to scout prospects to fill spots in professional race teams in the future.

Often spotted in the crowd are former national and international motocross champions, that still work in the industry, or have offspring that are working at coming through the ranks, in search of moto-stardom.

The race is always held in the first week of August, with about 4 weeks left in the Pro Motocross Championship series, eligible race winners often try their luck in the remaining Pro races for that year, to get an idea of what to look forward to when they make the jump to full-time Pro Motocross Racer.

Racers with names like Villipoto, Stewart, Carmichael, Alessi and Dungey have used Loretta Lynn’s as a final launching pad into the motocross history books.

That’s the background. Now, about a race to “The Race”

Spring Creek Motocross Park in beautiful Millville MN, played host to a “North Central Region” regional qualifier on June 20th 2015. Racers came from far and wide to compete for the chance to punch a ticket to the Loretta Lynn’s National Amateur Motocross National, from Ohio to Alabama, Kentucky, Texas and the Dakota’s and everywhere between, racers descended on the lush valley of Spring Creek.

In the Junior 25+ Class, Black Diamond MX Graphics, Team Tenkom Racing’s #308 Nick Jackson from nearby Lake City took first overall, dominating races 1 and 3 and taking 2nd in race two.  Race two went to Kawasaki mounted Josh Mast from Huntsville MO. So with Jackson claiming gold on his blackdiamondmx.com Yamaha YZ250F, second overall would go to Ty Tyrrell on a Yamaha and Nick Peterson on a gleaming white Husky would capture 3rd overall with a 6-4-3 moto finish,

Kyle Repstock, #351, came all the way from Fairdale, KY with eyes to score a big win in the 250-C race. Repstock dominated the first two races in the loamy fast conditions. Bad luck struck in race three, landing Repstock in the 17th place, resulting in a very disappointing 4th overall. Caine Dodson would pull a “Dungey” and ride trouble-free and just in control, to clock a 1-2-2 in the three races to bring home the big prize, leaving Keegan Kleinwolterink from Lennox South Dakota in third.

Forty-seven riders registered for the 450-B division from all corners of the United States, from the state of Washington to Texas to Tennessee and all points in between.

John Citrola, #550, getting the power to the ground. Photo Credit: Keith McKenna www.keithmckenna.zenfolio.com.
John Citrola, #550, getting the power to the ground. Photo Credit: Keith McKenna www.keithmckenna.zenfolio.com.

John Citrola raced well and was rewarded for his efforts, placing 1-2-2, landing him first overall in ultra-competitive class 450 class. Collin Fletchall placed second while Nicholas Wicherham would land the third place hardware.

The home track advantage was in effect in the 450-A Class as Corcoran Minnesota’s Jerry Robin #194, who rocked the motocross world a few years back by taking titles at the Loretta Lynn Nationals on a vintage Honda CR 250 2-Stroke bike, traded vintage iron for a decidedly NON-vintage Yamaha YZ450F and proceeded to bolster his cache of race winning awards with a 1-2-1 tally. Robin had to pull out all the stops, had to give 110%, had to think outside the box, had to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee to pull out the win. Consistency ruled the day for the Yamaha rider as the competition, while nipping at his heels all day, had mixed moto results. Second on the podium was #29 Henry Miller, from just down the road in Rochester, MN. Miller would go 5-3-2 for the silver and the bronze finisher, Jacob Grzebinski, would come from 2nd, 1st and 7th in the moto’s.

The 250-C Class was represented by riders from all over the United States moto world.  Colin “The Widowmaker” Polston from Emporia, KS toasted some serious dinosaur remnants to climb to the top of the leader board by laying waste to the field in mot-1. Polston must have spent serious energy in the first outing because in moto 2 and 3 he was bested by Kyle “The Fairdale Flyer” Repstock from Kentucky would place first in moto 2 and 3. Because of an 8th place finish in moto 1, Repstock would miss the top step by the slimmest of margins. Austin Aspros came down from the frozen tundra of Brainerd MN to pull down third.

The heavy hitters were out in force for the Open Pro Sport division. Benny

Henry "The Minnesota Mauler" Miller trimming the attitude in flight over the Camelback jump, a.k.a. The Catapult. Photo Credit: Keith McKenna www.keithmckenna.zenfolio.com.
Henry “The Minnesota Mauler” Miller trimming the attitude in flight over the Camelback jump, a.k.a. The Catapult. Photo Credit: Keith McKenna www.keithmckenna.zenfolio.com.

“Top Dog” Bloss from Oak Grove, MO came to make a statement! Jerry Robin, Egan Mastin and Henry Miller all tried in vain to tamp out the fire that was burning hot under Bloss, but the Yamaha rider would be having non of it! He had the measure of the field in all 3 moto’s. Robin, went 3-2-2 for second overall with Egan Mastin from Cairo Georgia finishing 3rd.

Hard work by the staff and volunteers at Spring Creek Motocross made for a very memorable weekend for all in attendance.

In talking with the mother of a racer that came from Illinois, where according to her, at their home track the hills were built by track maintenance vehicles, they were blown away by the terrain that they would have to be traversing. Spring Creek mandates possessing the skills of a surgeon, with the power of the space shuttle to turn a fast lap there.

Good Luck to all the riders who attend “The Big Show!

Photos and story by Keith McKenna.  View Keith’s work at www.keithmckenna.zenfolio.com

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