Crutcher’s Corner | A Super Time At The Super Regional
PHOTO | Jessica Hare
I don’t know where I heard it, and I don’t know how old the saying is, but it’s the truth: The Regionals are the race, The National is the prize. My personal preference does not lend to the racecourse at Loretta Lynn’s. Yes, they put sand and sawdust in the soil to serve as an additive, two aggregates found in moto courses that I love, but I believe the modern bikes larger than a 125cc two-stroke have outgrown the track at the national.
Every rider that has qualified for the National has to go through a rigorous two-stage filter of Area and Regional Qualifiers. This year, like in literally every other aspect, was and is an anomaly that forced MX Sports, the promotion group of the championship, to wash the Area Qualifiers and enact Plan B: the Super Regional. Typically each Area Qualifier sends 6-8 top finishing riders of each class into the Regional, which then takes 4-6 front runners (all depending on designation) to The National. A racer will see the gate drop three times, usually around 15-minutes each moto, for a final combined score. Here is where I find some of the year’s best racing.
Before a single gate dropped this weekend in Winterset at Riverside Raceway, I knew I would not be going to The Ranch. I’ve qualified five times in total, raced The National thrice, and came home with the commemorative t-shirt. Honestly, there are too many races with world-class talent to focus on “The Big One”. Yet the Regionals are always held at badass tracks and usually with great weather conditions at the beginning of June when we’re still fresh into the season. My mindset in every direction was to just ride the best I can, which of course puts zero stress to have qualifying caliber rides. All factors combined, I can’t help but send myself to some Area and Regional Qualifiers every year. I adore racing and because this is an amateur program, the racing at a Regional falls closer akin to that of college ball. The money isn’t on the line, we’re racing for glory and exhibiting brawn. Awards are given out at the end of the weekend, which will eventually serve as a dust collector, but the memories made in battle will live forever.
Last night, I was talking with my girlfriend Aubree about some of the duels I had over the weekend and brought up old battles from previous regional qualifiers such as Staples, MN, oscillating to Magnolia, AR, or Burlison, TN. Regionals are special because the tracks are always interesting, wildly rough, but a notch below National level. Seasoned just right with all these determinants creates the desired flavor of going toe to toe with 39 other badasses on a group of tracks nestled across the middle of the nation (where I’m located) with the dire mentality of “Keep your head held high or go home tail tucked between your legs from a whoopin’ by people you’ve never heard of.” I know I’ll be able to recollect memories from this past weekend for decades to come because of the war waged 15 minutes at a time. She couldn’t believe the accuracy and nuance I could recite from races I’ve been in over a decade ago.
Going forward from this weekend is a bit of a question mark, just as it is for everyone else. The entire season seems to be building itself one to two weeks at a time. In two weeks, my local contingent of the Kansas Motocross Championship Series is set to have an event at the track I rip hardest. Bar2Bar’s race is the same weekend as the South Central Regional at Clayton Miller’s Freestone MX. The high prices of the regionals with zero payouts are fine for a one and done sample, so I’ve made up my mind on staying local and contesting on my favorite sand track with a healthy 200% payout.
At 31, pounding the same pavement does not sound that appetizing to me, and I’m looking to branch out to new facilities and events. A few that have caught my eye are the Baja Brawl in Michigan and an IMI Motorsports round of the Rocky Mountain Series just outside Denver, along with trying my hand in states I’ve never raced in before like Louisiana and Wisconsin. I encourage you as a racer to load up for a weekend with some buddies to race somewhere you’ve never been and don’t know who the competition will be. It can too easily get old and repetitive to zero in on a series or local track when an entirely new environment of soil and athletes could be as close as five hours away in any given direction. Get out of your comfort zone and compete, it’s fun to be the nonamer handing out ass-kickings.