Motocross racers gather to qualify for pro-am regional championship; STGnews Photo Gallery

Motocross racers participate in the AMA Loretta Lynn Area Qualifer at the St. George Motoproving Ground, St. George, Utah, April 5, 2014 | Photo by Dave Amodt, St. George News
Motocross racers participate in the AMA Loretta Lynn Area Qualifer at the St. George Motoproving Ground, St. George, Utah, April 5, 2014 | Photo by Dave Amodt, St. George News
Motocross racers participate in the AMA Loretta Lynn Area Qualifer at the St. George Motoproving Ground, St. George, Utah, April 5, 2014 | Photo by Dave Amodt, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Motocross racers and spectators gathered at the St. George MX Motoproving Ground Saturday for the AMA Loretta Lynn Area Qualifiers. This two-day event brought motocross racers from across the region for a chance to qualify for regional championships. Those who qualify are placed on the path to the American Motocross Association Amateur National Motocross Championship held at the Loretta Lynn Ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tenn.

Two primary races were held Saturday: a 250A/Pro-Am race and 450A/Pro-Am race. An Open/Pro Sport/Pro-Am race will be held Sunday.

According to the AMA website: “AMA Pro-Am Motocross events are open to both professionally licensed and A-class amateur motocross racers. These events allow amateurs to gain experience on America’s top motocross tracks and prepare for the fast pace and long motos that professional racing demands. AMA Pro-Am Motocross events are one of the paths to a professional license.”

Blake Savage of Washington, Utah, took part in the 250A and 450A pro-am races and will participate in Sunday’s race. He has also already participated in the AMA amateur national championship in Tennessee in 2011 and 2012.

“I’ve actually already spent my time at Loretta Lynn’s,” Savage said. “I’m now officially a pro. I raced in 2012 and 2012 and had some good success there, so I can’t go back now that I’ve raced amateur-pro.”

Blake Savage, racer in the AMA Loretta Lynn Area Qualifer at the St. George Motoproving Ground, St. George, Utah, April 5, 2014 | Photo by Dave Amodt, St. George News
Blake Savage, racer in the AMA Loretta Lynn Area Qualifer at the St. George Motoproving Ground, St. George, Utah, April 5, 2014 | Photo by Dave Amodt, St. George News

Savage said the current qualifier was mainly a local race for him. “My plan for this summer is to race in the AMA pro-nationals,” he said.

Another well-known moto-racer, Kotaru Takahashi, is also participating in the qualifier. Like Savage, he has also been to the Loretta Lynn’s pro-am national championship, and plans to be heading there again this summer.

Originally from Japan, Takahashi said he has been in the United States for the past two years and looks forward to pursuing motocross racing, a sport that is not as popular in Japan as it is in America. “Motocross isn’t big there,” he said. “We’re trying to make it.”

Both Savage and Takahashi praised the track at the St. George MX Park, which is managed and maintained by Judd and Michan Palmer.

Another racer, Jeff Burgess, is currently working on gathering points from races toward achieving a professional racing license.

“I’m trying to get my pro license and hopefully get to outdoor nationals this year,” he said.

Burgess said racing is fun, though acknowledged, it can hurt at times. He crashed during a race and broke his wrist, he said, and then just kept racing after it was wrapped in a bandage.

“It’s part of the sport,” Burgess said. “You just gotta push through it.”

Jeff Burgess, racer in the AMA Loretta Lynn Area Qualifer at the St. George Motoproving Ground, St. George, Utah, April 5, 2014 | Photo by Dave Amodt, St. George News
Jeff Burgess, racer in the AMA Loretta Lynn Area Qualifer at the St. George Motoproving Ground, St. George, Utah, April 5, 2014 | Photo by Dave Amodt, St. George News

The 24-year-old Burgess said he has been racing since he was 3 years old. While such an early age may seem extreme to some, younger racers are a common sight at motocross races.

Degan Palmer, the 12-year-old son of the St. George MX Park owners, who was racing Saturday, said he’s been racing since he was 8 years old.

The AMA Loretta Lynn Area Qualifier continues Sunday.

St. George News Assistant Editor Mori Kessler contributed to this article.

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Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

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