Speeding Motorcycle

No Lucas Oil girls. No jumobtrons, podium speeches, or champagne spray. No berms and no jumps, save for the ones mother nature provided before we got there.

Speeding motorcycle, the road is ours
Speeding motorcycle, let’s speed some more
‘Cause we don’t need reason and we don’t need logic
We’ve got feeling and we’re dang proud of it
Speeding motorcycle, there’s nothing you can’t do
Speeding motorcycle, I love you
Speeding motorcycle, let’s just go
Speeding motorcycle
Let’s go let’s go let’s go

The RedBud Grass Race is our National. For family and friends, this is the one everyone marks on their calendar. Since 2004, I can count on one hand the amount of times we’ve missed this race, this endearing event. It’s motocross stripped of its glitz and glamour, if it even had either to begin with. No motorcycle media or rags to cover the event. No drunken fans to holler at anything that moves. No Lucas Oil girls. No jumobtrons, podium speeches, or champagne spray. No berms and no jumps, save for the ones mother nature provided before we got there. Most important of all, no negativity. I think that’s why everyone likes it.

This particular running of the race, jumpstarted almost thirty years ago by the Ritchie’s, Oscar Azevedo, and Throttle Jockey gurus Robert and Matt Davis, was a special one. For starters, it marked the first time in history that RedBud hosted two Grass Race events, as the year prior (2017) saw a bizarre cancellation due to inclement weather. Yes, we were there when they called it off and yes, we’ll ride in just about anything as long as we can get out of the parking lot. We celebrated a family member’s birthday in the rain, and then fled south to ride on our own accord.

Travis and I. My cousin.

2018 was a great year for RedBud, as we finally got to see the world’s best go elbow to elbow, executing the will of Tim and Amy Ritchie, and the ultimate vision of their father Gene. While I mentioned we might scatter if we can’t get out of the pits, at the Motocross of Nations, they race no matter what. Weather is no obstacle for the pros, but for the rest that witnessed the madness, it was a different story. Countless recreational vehicles gouged huge chunks out of the neatly pressed RedBud soil. Pickup trucks spewed mud for miles. Rental cars purred quietly as they sunk helplessly into the muck, like an infant squishing his hands around a ball of Play-Doh. I saw it all, knowing well that the next event on the Ritchie’s itinerary was the coveted Grass Race. After having some 60,000 people leave their mark, I wasn’t sure they’d pull it off.

In reality, they didn’t have to. Nobody would’ve batted an eye if they surrendered. “Sorry! We won’t be able to fix up enough parking to file everyone in for the Grass Race. We will see you next year! Thanks!” Nobody would’ve been mad about that, at all. We already had a spring running of the event, and we just witnessed the MXoN in our backyard…

They didn’t, though. They ran that event, because that’s what the Ritchie’s do. That’s what RedBud does. The staff scraped everything back together, put some tape around the worst areas, marked off the course, and said have at it. “Let’s go racing!”

It’s that consideration for the motocross community, both globally and locally, that makes RedBud what it is. They care beyond Lucas Oil Pro Motocross. They care beyond the Loretta Lynn’s Area and Regional events. They care beyond the means any other track in the world is even capable of. In my eyes, the simple fact that RedBud hosted the Grass Race two weeks after the Motocross of Nations solidifies its legend truly as America’s Motocross Track. Gene is smiling down on us then, today, and always.