Dirt flies, engines roar at Loretta Lynn Qualifier, SGMX Motoproving Ground; STGnews Videocast

ST. GEORGE – On Saturday, it was no mystery where the earth shaking was coming from as motocross racers from all over the area converged on the SGMX Motoproving Ground, located just off Exit 6 of Southern Parkway in St. George, to test their mettle at the Midwest Area Loretta Lynn Qualifier. See video top of this report.

Racers navigate tight turns, bumps and jumps as they participate in the Midwest Area Loretta Lynn Qualifier held at the SGMX Motoproving Ground, St. George, Utah, Feb. 21, 2015 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News
Racers navigate tight turns, bumps and jumps as they participate in the Midwest Area Loretta Lynn Qualifier held at the SGMX Motoproving Ground, St. George, Utah, Feb. 21, 2015 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News

The area qualifier is a prestigious race in the motocross circuit and one of only two qualifiers held in the state of Utah, SGMX co-owner, Michon Palmer said.

Racing began at 9 a.m. and featured racers, male and female, of all ages and skill levels who came to race for their chance at qualifying for regionals and eventually Loretta Lynn’s Amateur Motocross Championships.

Palmer dubbed the championship the “Superbowl of motocross,” adding that it is really an honor for SGMX to be chosen to host a qualifier.

The SGMX track was designed to accommodate the youngest riders and yet still challenge the most skilled racers, Palmer said; the track has jumps, whoops, tight turns and often very chewed up, loose dirt.

Dirtbikes parked on stands create a staging area for racers participating in the Midwest Area Loretta Lynn Qualifier at the SGMX Motoproving Ground, St. George, Utah, Feb. 21, 2015 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News
Dirtbikes parked on stands create a staging area for racers participating in the Midwest Area Loretta Lynn Qualifier at the SGMX Motoproving Ground, St. George, Utah, Feb. 21, 2015 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News

While many riders came for their chance at qualifying there was also a strong family vibe at the proving ground with racers and spectators spending their time in the desert with their sons, daughters, siblings and friends.

Matthew Milne celebrated his 16th birthday Saturday racing with friends and family and said that he couldn’t think of a better present than spending the day out on the dirt.

Milne placed 11th out of 12 racers and didn’t earn a qualifying spot but said he was happy to be there anyway.

Food vendors and music created a festive atmosphere at the proving grounds that added to the excitement of the racing.

A wooden gate marks the entrance to the SGMX Motoproving Ground, St. George, Utah, Feb. 21, 2015 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News
A wooden gate marks the entrance to the SGMX Motoproving Ground, St. George, Utah, Feb. 21, 2015 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News

The qualifier continues Sunday with races beginning shortly after 9 a.m. A single-day pass can be purchased at the gate for Sunday’s races; ticket prices are $15 for adults and $10 for children 6-11.

The SGMX Motoproving Ground is open every weekend for practice, Palmer said. There is a $25 fee for riders, and spectators are welcome free of charge.

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.

Event recap

  • What: SGMX Loretta Lynn Area Qualifier
  • When: Racing continues Sunday, Feb. 22 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Where: SGMX Motoproving Ground, From Interstate 15 take Southern Parkway east to Exit 6 Desert Canyons Parkway, turn left under the overpass and follow the dirt road approximately one mile until you see the wooden entrance of SGMX.
  • Cost: Single-day passes are $15 for adults, $10 for children 6-11, free for children 5 and under, see website

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