The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) Loretta Lynn MX Amateur Championship, (called “Loretta’s” by riders),” is a legendary motocross event, especially for amateur riders who are seeking to go pro.
Named after the country music icon Loretta Lynn, the event is held annually at Lynn’s family ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee.
For most of the year, the track is a space for horses, but it is built into a motocross track for the competition.
The world’s largest amateur MX race, Loretta Lynn’s is the last stop for amateur motocross riders before they join the professional ranks.
Not everyone can compete at Loretta Lynn’s popular MX championship. MX riders must qualify through competing at one of several local races established specifically to qualify for Loretta Lynn’s.
Who is Loretta Lynn?
Loretta Lynn is an American country music legend, famous for such hits as “Coal Miner’s Daughter.”
Born in Kentucky, Lynn moved to Tennessee with her husband and bought a ranch in Hurricane Mills to raise their children.
In the 1970s, Lynn turned her Tennessee ranch into a vacation spot and campground.
Today, the ranch is the 7th largest attraction in the state, with restaurants, shopping, and other attractions.
The ranch is home to the famous amateur motocross championship, as well as a variety of other activities. These include RV and tent camping, cabin rental, a museum, and tours of the property.
While the ranch is open year-round, the motocross championship only occurs the first week in August.
How did Loretta Lynn Become a Famous Name in Motocross?
In the 1980s, race promoter Dave Coombs discovered Lynn’s ranch and suggested the amateur racing concept to her.
His idea was that a race be held away from contestants’ “home ground” to eliminate the home advantage and level the playing field for all riders.
Coombs suggested Lynn’s ranch because of its location in the country in a place where nobody had raced before.
Loretta and her husband liked the idea, and the first race was held at Lynn’s ranch in 1982.
Today, Loretta Lynn’s is the premier race of the amateur MX world.
Each year, the track is constructed at Loretta Lynn’s 6,000-acre horse ranch and accommodates 300 camp sites.
Loretta Lynn’s annual MX championship is the perfect place for a family-oriented MX racing event.
It’s also a common place for amateur motocross champions to transition to professional MX.
How to Qualify for Loretta Lynn’s and what’s the Race Like?
Loretta Lynn’s Amateur Championship, which occurs over the course of six days each year, takes place in August by design.
This is so that winners can try their luck at one of the 3 or 4 remaining MX events of the AMA outdoor MX season.
The race itself consists of three 20-minute races (plus two laps).
The race is not open to the general public. Riders must qualify to compete at Loretta Lynn’s.
Those who qualify for the race can look forward to an exciting race with a great atmosphere.
Though it is an amateur event, the atmosphere is often compared to a Nationals Outdoor event.
Participants can qualify for the race at local and regional racing events occurring between April and June.
Riders interested in competing can compete in two of Loretta’s 37 racing classes; only the 42 best riders in each class are invited to compete at Lynn’s MX championship.
To learn more about qualifying and to read about eligibility, classes, bike restrictions, registration and other policies and procedures, this link will take you to the official rules for Loretta Lynn’s MX.
Also, this video from Rockymountainatvmc.com (who is a major sponsor) is full of really good tips and information to help you to get racing at Loretta’s.
How to Practice for Loretta’s
To qualify for Loretta Lynn’s you need to put in serious practice time.
This isn’t a race for casual competitors! The most highly competitive dirt bike racers from all around the USA come to Loretta’s every year to prove themselves.
Riders that enter into Loretta Lynn’s practice every day and have at least 1 support staff with them that act as a mechanic to support them in their race.
Loretta’s race track is unique and so it is not easy to become familiar with it. It is only opened once a year to race on and then closed again until next season.
If you are looking for a place to train on a track that is built like Loretta Lynn MX track, take a look at Matt Walkers MotoX Compound Training Facility located in Culloden, Georgia State.
The training facility contains a motocross track that replicates the most difficult parts of Loretta’s for riders to practice on.
To date, the compound can boast 15 top 10s, 7 top 5s, 4 top 2’s and 1 championship!! Impressive.
Going Pro after Loretta Lynn MX: Past Winners
Loretta Lynn’s is always held the first week of August.
This leaves time for racers who win to go on to compete at the last three or four Pro Motocross Championship series events.
This gives winners of Loretta Lynn’s time to test out going professional before the season is over.
Since the 1990s, the race winners have included famous American MX talent who went pro after their wins at the amateur motocross championship.
Ricky Carmichael started as a Pro MX rider in 1996 just a few weeks after clinching his last amateur title at Loretta Lynn’s.
Mike Alessi, who won Loretta’s seven times, started his professional career in 2004.
Ryan Villopoto and Ryan Dungey both won titles at Loretta’s in 2005 before launching their Pro MX careers.
Other winners who won Loretta Lynn’s and transitioned to professional motocross include James Stewart Jr., Jason Anderson, Cooper Webb, and Adam Cianciarulo.
What other Racing Events are Held at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch?
In addition to the Loretta Lynn MX Amateur National Championship, the ranch also hosts Grand National Cross Country Racing events.
This event, which was also founded by Dave Coombs, features cross-country, off-road courses; competitions last up to three hours and are very physically demanding.
Unlike Loretta’s motocross event, this race is open to both professionals and amateurs.
How can I learn more about Loretta Lynn’s Amateur AMA MX event?
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