Hurricane Mills, Tn.
August 1-6, 2005

Loretta Lynn’s MX Race:
Hurricane Mills, Tn.
August 1-6, 2005

I decided to take the majority of this summer off from racing so that I could spend some quality time with my family, and prepare for the second half of my race season. It was great! We did a lot of traveling, to avoid our wonderful Arizona weather, and then I started refocusing and training in July. I’ve spent a lot of time riding with both Ryan Clark and Ted Cambell, and they’ve both been pushing me to the point that I’m feeling pretty good about my moto skills again. Now I’m sitting on the plane with my two kids, and my dad. This was my sons first time flying so he was pretty excited about all the big planes. All of us have really been looking forward to this race and we can’t wait to get there. Everything I’ve heard about this event has been awesome. My wife decided to stay home and get her own vacation, while working on painting the inside of the house. I’m actually kind of nervous about this weeks race and my wife painting the house! Scary! I’ve never raced LL before, but have always wanted to. I really feel like I can do well as long as I go out there and ride like myself. I just need to get some good starts. Tomorrow should be a lot of fun with practice. It was about five years ago when I was here last and it was for an ISDE qualifier. I did really well so lets hope the same thing happens this time.

My first practice was the fourth one of the day. My goal was to go out there and try to get over all the obstacles and learn the track. After my morning practice was over, I felt pretty good and was able to jump everything I wanted to. The track is really fun, but that was before the big rain storm. It rained really hard before my afternoon practice. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go riding in the mud, but it was drying out so I made it back out on the track. This time I had a really good time and was putting in some good lap times. Afterwards, I went and washed my KX 250 and got it ready for tomorrow.

Day one:
Today I had two different races with my first one being moto two (25+). The course was still on the muddy side and a little slick. I had the 33rd gate pick, which really wasn’t all that good. I was going to be starting on the outside. When the gate dropped I actually had a great jump, but wheelied just past the gate. I was around 20th after a couple of corners. I was getting roosted pretty bad and was going through my Scott Tear-offs way faster then I wanted to. I was able to make some passes and get into the top ten just past the first lap. I was trying way to hard to pass guys as a fast as I could. I wasn’t riding like myself at all. I was making a lot of mistakes, but I was still able to move up a few more spots on the next couple of laps. By the half-way mark, I believe I was around 7th with the leaders quite a ways in front of me. Towards the end of the 20 minute moto, I made a couple of more passes and finished a disappointed 5th place.

After the race I went and checked out the lap times and saw I had one of the fastest times, but I need to get a better start next time. At least I still have a good shot for a good overall finish with two more motos left in this class.

My next moto was the 30+ class at 2:30. It was a lot warmer, but the track was looking really good as it was drying out. I was feeling pretty good about this race since I know my bike was working really well. I picked a bad spoon again, and this time I was going to get the 26th gate pick. However I did have a better start, and was around 15th after the first corner. Some of the 450’s were pulling me down the straight away, but I was able to get them back in the corners. Just before the end of the first lap, I was trying to get myself into the top ten. I was trying to go under another rider, when my rear end hit a slick spot and I slid out. I got up and going as quick as I could. After the first lap I was in 28th place and still had a lot of work ahead of me. I kept my head down and was passing a lot of people, but in some of the sections it was really one lined. By the half-way point I made it up to 12th, but I knew the guys up front were going really fast. I was just hoping for a good finish and then I would see what happend from there. Going into the last lap, I was 10th but I was still making up time on some of the guys in front of me. By the time I hit the finish, I was able to get into 8th. They have some really fast guys in this class like Kevin Walker, Mike Katin, John Grewe, and Chris Young to just name a few. This was another moto I really wasn’t to happy about. I just haven’t rode that well at all. I’ve been riding really tight and not riding like I should. It’s pretty frustrating, since I put in a lot of work getting ready for this and I just haven’t been putting it together. Hopefully things will go better in tomorrow’s moto.

Day two:
Today I only had one race, the 25+ race. I was really excited for this race and felt like I had the best shot in this class at doing well. This time I had the fifth gate pick and decided to start a lot closer to the inside. I figured a lot of guys would go wide and I could sneak back on the inside. This time when the gate fell, I didn’t get the best of jumps. About 20 feet off the start the guy to the left of me had a great jump, but was cross rutted and came straight into me and took my front end out and almost the guy to the right of me. Leaving the gate there were a lot of ruts built up and that’s what made the guy come over on me. I was a little on the upset side and sore when I was trying to get my left foot out from under the bike. Once I got up I tried starting my bike, but I knew something was wrong. I looked down and I could see that my boot had knocked the carb off and my race was done. I can’t believe 30 feet form the start I get taken out and I get a 42nd place finish. So far I haven’t had that great of a weekend as far as the racing goes. I know I still have some motos left and I’m just going to go out there and have some fun now. I just wish I could go pay for a good start:)

Day three:
Finally, a good start and I didn’t even have to pay anyone:) Today I only had one race and it was the 30+ class. The race was the second one of the day and it was already really humid (for me). I decided to start closer to the inside again and this time it worked. After the first corner, I was around 8th and super happy about it. I was able to make some passes pretty quick, and get into the top 5 after the first lap. I was feeling a lot better today and riding smooth. Kelsey (my daughter) told me to go out there and just have fun. I must say she was right! I’ve been trying too hard and the bad starts haven’t helped. Anyway, after the first lap I was able to make another pass and get myself into 4th. A couple of laps later, I was able to make another good pass and get myself into 3rd. I was making up time on first and second, but we were starting to get into lappers. The leader (Mike Katin) was still 10 seconds ahead of me with about 4 laps to go. I finally got right behind John Grewe, who was in second place, with two laps to go. On the last lap, I made the pass and got myself into second. When I got to the finish, I was a little over 2 seconds behind Mike to finish second. I felt pretty good about this race and it was nice to finally have a good race. Kevin Walker and I were the only ones to put in 2:05 lap times, so I know I have the speed to get a moto win this week. Kevin, who won the first moto, had a first lap crash and had to make his way through the pack to finish 5th. Two more motos left and lets just hope for some good starts.

Day four:
My first race was at 9:30 and it was the 25+ class again. I was going to be getting the last gate pick, because I was taken out right off the start yesterday and wasn’t able to finish. Today I figured it couldn’t get much worse. Boy was I wrong! I was starting on the far outside, and figured I’d do the best I could off the start. I actually had a good jump and easily was going to be in the top ten off the start. I was going around just about everyone, until a Honda rider got clipped by another rider. That’s when he bounced off him, and went straight into me. He cleaned me out so hard I went flying off the bike. When I hit the ground, I was so worried about getting ran over. I was on my knees dodging bikes left and right. Finally everyone went by, and I ran back to my bike. When I got to it, the throttle was stuck wide open and the bars were bent really bad. Unfortunately, my race was done again. I was pretty bummed the way this whole weekend has gone, but I at least had one more race.

My next race was at 4:00 (30+). This time I was going to get the second gate pick. I was still a little sore from this morning, but I was able to get the bike fixed (thanks to FMF) and ready to go. I decided to start back on the inside, and hope for the best. It’s really the only spot I’ve got a decent start at. About five minutes before we were getting ready to race it started to rain. This is basically how my whole weekend has gone. Actually it didn’t really bother me that much, but I know I’m not a mud specialist. When the gate fell, I had a great start and was about 5th or 6th leaving the first turn. After the first lap, I was able to get by Chris Young and a couple of other guys to get into fourth. I followed John Grewe for most of the first part of the race. I was doing everything I could to make a pass, but he would pull me down the straight-a-ways. I finally got around him, with a few laps to go, on a rhythm section that he wasn’t able to do that lap. The course was getting really slick, but the rain seemed to stop. I was making time up on Mike Katin, who was running second, with Kevin Walker in the lead. On the last lap John Actually passed me back, but a few corners later I pushed my way back into third. I finished three seconds back from Mike who finished 2nd, but he won the 30+ championship (and the 25+). Kevin rode a great race and was about 10 seconds ahead of me. It was nice to finish on a good note and get back on the podium.

Week Summary:
Overall I had a really good time and I was glad I made the trip. I was hoping for better results, but then again that’s part of racing:) I know the next time I come back, I’ll be on the 450 and that will be a huge help. Going into this week I thought I was going to have the best chance in the 25+ class, but it was the 30+ class that went pretty well. Besides my first moto in that class, I rode pretty good. I finished 4th overall in the 30+ class. If I make it back next year, I know I’ll do even better now that I learned a lot this year. Now it’s time to put my focus back into the off-road races and go get some more wins. Did I mention I can’t wait for my new Kawasaki 450!

Other Notes:
This was my first time making it to the LL race. I’m totally amazed as to how huge this event is. It’s really a first class race, and probably the best motorcycle event I’ve ever been to. I hope to be able to make another one.

Kawasaki had the best set-up there! They had a couple of semis and a few of their race trailers there. They also had a mechanical bull riding set-up for the kids and adults to see how long they could stay on it for.

Every day and night there was some huge event going on. One of the nights Kawasaki had a huge pasta dinner that brought around 400 people. The dinner was free and it was a really cool thing for them to do.

This event brought out a lot of the top riders to hang out and sign autographs. Stewart, Tedesco, Carmichael, McGrath, Pastrana, Bentley, were just some of the names that showed up.

The guys over at Thor (Andy) brought me the new 2006 gear to wear. It’s by far some of the best gear I’ve worn before. Everyone from Thor was a huge help and they’re really great people to ride for!

On Thursday night, RC had a basketball tournament that I was looking forward to trying to play. As some of you might know I play B-ball all the time and it was going to be fun to beat up on the mx guys:) But on Wednesday after I hit the ground, I was to sore to even think about playing.

I need to really thank all the people who were cheering me on during the races. It was really cool to have so many spectators rooting me on.

I had my KX500 championship bike on display at the Kawasaki semi. It was nice to have a lot of the people telling me how cool it was. I actually talked to a lot of off-road racers during the week, which was a lot of fun.

On Thursday, Tedesco and Stewart went out during the intermission and rode the new 2006 250F and 450F. I can’t wait to be on one of those 450’s:)
Friday night the kids and I did a fashion show for the new 2006 Thor gear. There were a lot of people wearing all the great new stuff for the show. Kelsey and Cooper were pretty excited that they got to keep the gear and now want to go riding as soon as we get home. If you get a chance you really should check out their new Thor products and new catalog. In the new catalog there’s a two page spread with a picture of me. Not bad for an off-road guy.

The kids had a lot of fun! They did just about everything they could during the week. They really enjoyed hanging out with the mx guys and girls. Next time I come back I’m going to bring our motorhome and camp out. Kelsey said she also wants to try and qualify now.

Quote from Pat Riley, ‘You have no choice about how you lose, but you do have a choice about how you come back and prepare to win again.’

Best Wishes,
2005 Sponsors:
Kawasaki, FMF, Thor, Dunlop, ACME, Kawasaki Acc., Scott, SIDI, CTI2, Motion Pro, Bent, Works Connection, Hinson, IMS, Scott’s Performance, Jonre.com, Cyto Sport, Acerbis, BRP, Pro Clean 1000, Trick, Varner, ZLT, Sprocket Specialist, DP Pads, Shoei, UNI, American Racing Wheels, RK/Excel, 909, Wiseco, Motorex, N-style, V-Force, Top-Speed, and Twisten Wrenches.


Comments are closed.