Davey Coombs on USA 34th Amateur National MX Championship at Loretta Lyn’s 2015

Davey Coombs on USA 34th Amateur National MX Championship at Loretta Lyn’s 2015

Davey Coombs (Editor in Chief RacerX) most highly regarded person in Motocross has just witnessed the running of 34th Amateur National MX Championship at Loretta Lynns. What is regarded as the pinnacle event for America’s top talented Amateur riders to vie for top podium in their respective classes, the annual Championship provides an opportunity for any young, determined MX rider to try gain entry to the National. Loretta Lynn Founded by Davey’s late father in 1982, the Amateur National supports a level playing field of competiveness from the rigors of Area and Regional Qualifiers to the week-long National where each and every rider in the 38 classes has no home track advantage. Given the development of MX Euro whereby young, talented Junior MX riders have the opportunity to race at selected MXGP Rounds from 65cc through to 300cc, America’s Amateur MX National remains unique in rider selection, racing a track prep’d annually for the past 34 years. I caught up with Davey Coombs, asking Q and A on the inaugural event on America’s MX calendar. SC: What were the standout highlights of the 34th Amateur National MX Championships? DC: Loretta Lynn’s is always a special event, and it’s hard to pick any one, two, three or fifty moments that stand out because it’s like one big Motocross festival. We start races at 7.30am sharp every morning and finish before dusk. We get to see every top young rider in the country as they try to capture the attention of the Factory’s or industry sponsors, all of whom are there in force. And then at night it’s just one big cookout, with 1,500 campsites all just kind of meshed into one big backyard party…’

Davey Coombs

Davey Coombs

‘But my favourite part of all is before racing even starts. We go in about ten days early to start building the track, and people are already there camping because for many it’s their family vacation. As the track comes together, and you start seeing a dad or mom walking the track with their child, sharing that moment where they’ve finally accomplished a really big goal in just getting there to Loretta Lynn’s, it’s always special. My son doesn’t race, so I don’t really get to have that moment, but I got to do it with my own Dad way back in 1982 when this thing started, and it’s certainly become a rite of passage in American Motocross’. SC: Originally founded by your late father and family, you must feel immense pride and satisfaction on the development of the country’s premier Amateur MX Championship which kicks off with Area Qualifiers in February through to Regional Qualifiers to June. Q: Do you think you have pursued the vision of providing the country’s up-coming talented MX riders an opportunity to compete against the best in their respective classes? DC: ‘Absolutely. My Dad had a philosophy: Everybody deserves a Championship experience, on a level playing field. No one touches that track for the rest of the year except Loretta’s horses and the occasional ranch hand. No amount of money in the world will allow you to rent it for a photo shoot, a practice day, a motocross school- nothing’.

Loretta Lynn's

Loretta Lynn’s

‘That way everyone who does make the National knows that they have just as much chance as the next person on the starting gate, just as much time on the track and just as much opportunity to make something happen. We will never compromise that vision, and it makes it easy to get there early and go to work long before the day starts, whether it’s to pick up garbage or replace banners or hay bales or whatever- everyone deserves a Championship experience’. SC: The depth of the qualifying schedule is vast: 55 Area Qualifiers across 32 States leading into 13 Regional Championships in 8 major geographical regions through-out the United States over total of 5 months. Q: Do you think the qualifying schedule allows for a broad spectrum of MX riders to engage in top competitive MX racing on high calibre National tracks? DC: We work closely with the AMA in selecting tracks that are used for the Area and Regional events, and there’s no doubt that some tracks and facilities are better than others- there is little comparison anywhere to a Red Bud or a Unadilla or a Washougal- but we try to rotate the events around in order to give different tracks a chance to host an Area and maybe even a Regional someday’. ‘But yes, the spectrum is as broad as our country is: we have a regional balance in qualifying in the 42 riders in each class that is obvious by just reading the hometowns and States listed by each entrant’. SC: Having spent time at Europe’s MXGP Round at Trentino earlier this season, and given differences with tracks, rider home advantage- how does Europe versus America Junior turn Senior MX riders compare in speed, technique and fitness? DC: ‘There are fast kids all over the world, period. It used to be just California and Belgium, and then maybe California and Florida and Belgium and France and now it can be Utah, South Africa, New Zealand, North Carolina, Spain, Eastern Europe…’ ‘The world is a smaller place, and kids see the latest techniques (like the scrub or how to blitz the whoops) practically instantaneously via the internet, social media, YouTube, Instagram, and all of the races are pretty much live-stream now, so any kid anywhere has a chance to see and know what the latest methods and techniques are. The kids in Europe are fast, the kids down-under are fast, the kids in America are fast. It’s maybe a little more cut-throat in America, for better or worse, due to the sheer numbers’. SC: With MXGP Round at Glen Helen prior to MXoN in France end of September, what will be most anticipated for track racing at Glen Helen?

MXGP Glen Helen

MXGP Glen Helen

DC: ‘I am astonished that they put a GP on the other side of the world just six days before qualifying for the MXoN in France, so I’m not really sure who is even going to be there. (at time of writing Media release that Team USA MXoN would compete had not been released). ‘I guess I would like to see some well-deserving and super-fast guy like Zach Osborne or Weston Peick get in there and grab a win, though I know GP riders like Febvre, Gajser, Guilloid etc are very, very fast. I just hope they all have a good, safe race’. Special thanks to Davey Coombs for his time. Words: Sharon Cox August 20th, 2015

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