This weekend it's round seven of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship at the famed RedBud Track-N-Trail in Michigan. Perhaps the crown jewel of the series and also where the 2018 Motocross of Nations is going to be held.
That is one of the reasons why Great Britain's own Jake Nicholls told me he was coming over to race the national. If he shows some speed and results at RedBud, perhaps there is a chance that he can get picked for the British Motocross of Nations team. After a long career racing the MXGP's, Nicholls walked away from that series to race locally and actually get started with his life after racing. But meanwhile he continues to show good speed in his local series (which he seems to be winning but, then again, my focus is not exactly on the British national series) and he raced a Canadian national series last month and got a respectable third overall.
So, with Nicholls racing this weekend and perhaps not being familiar with a lot of what's going on over here in America, I thought it would be a good time to acclimate Jake to what he is going to see this weekend after years on the MXGP circuit. Thank me later, Nicholls!
– First up, Jake, I know you are used to riding for about two hours over two days BEFORE the motos start but here in America, it is a one-day format. Do not show up at RedBud early Friday morning ready to rock… There is nothing going on. So you do not need much gas and you should feel pretty fresh for the motos. Here is the downside though, on a track you have never been on before you have got about five minutes of the first practice before the green flag waves and you need to pick it up to balls-out speed to get a good qualifying time. Good luck, hope you know your lefts from rights!
– Oh yeah! There is no intermission so, after you have done your thirty minutes plus two lap moto in humidity that you would never get in England, you have about twenty minutes to recover before gearing back up and heading out for moto two. These things move pretty fast and all on one day.
– As far as the track, well Jake you are going to head out there for the first practice and it will be pretty much perfect soil. Disked up, watered, loamy and you can make your turn anywhere you would like. Then in-between motos it is groomed a bit as well. We do not like dust over here at all. The MXGP tracks I have seen have more bikes and more laps on them in half a day than the USA ones get in one whole day. Not coincidently, Team USA has lost the last six Motocross of Nations races as they seem baffled at the hard crusty ruts and all the bumps out there each year. Track prep among the two series is wildly different.
– The other riders you line up against Jake do not want to talk to you. I know you are used to the MXGP riders that seem, to me anyways, to be friendly with each other, but in America you do not leave your truck outside of doing motos. That is it. No socialising.
– Hey Jake, that guy next to you on the line? Yeah… That is your mechanic! He can stand there until the thirty-second board goes up and, heck, he can even pack your gate for you! No more holding the bike and trying to create a launching pad. Nope, you just sit back and relax. Your buddy has got it!
– Oh yeah. You will be starting on dirt, not steel.
– There will be forty riders out there Jake and if someone cannot make either moto, they will give those spots to alternates from the last chance qualifiers. All told there will be about eighty dudes in all the practices going for forty spots.
Ok, got all that Jake? Good luck and see you this weekend!
Words: Steve Matthes | Lead Image: MPS Images