Monster Mountain in Tallassee, Alabama will be hosting one of the Southeast area qualifiers for 2017. 

By John Basher

The 2017 area qualifiers and regional championships schedule for the 2017 Rocky Mountain ATV/MC AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship (wow, that’s a mouthful) was just released. With the hashtag #ROADTOLORETTAS (go take a look at any tweens Instagram account if you want to know about hashtags), the schedule shows the amateur motocross racing hot spots in the United States. There are six new tracks on board for 2017, with 49 tracks returning for another year of area racing. The 55 area qualifiers and 13 regional championships will bring out the best and brightest amateur racers as they vie for a coveted spot on the gate at the Loretta Lynn’s Amateur Championship on July 31st through August 5th. Below is a breakdown of those regions. Good luck to everyone competing in 2017.

The Northeast section will hold eight qualifiers in five states (Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New York and New Hampshire). Three of those qualifiers are set to be held at current AMA National tracks–Budds Creek, High Point and Unadilla. There’s also the famed former National track, Lake Sugar Tree, where David Bailey called home. The Northeast area is most favorable for riders in Pennsylvania. The Keystone State has three area and the youth regional qualifier, while the amateur regional is a stone’s throw away (if you live in Western PA) in Englishtown, New Jersey. Unfortunately, New England riders only have one area qualifier–Winchester Speedpark in New Hampshire. Should bad luck befall those New England riders at Winchester, they’ll need to drive down to Birch Creek in Virginia to qualify for the regional. Do you take your chances at Winchester, or drive south earlier in the qualifying season to Unadilla or Miles Mountain. Decisions, decisions. They’ll then need to road trip down to Englishtown or Pleasure Valley for the regional, depending on what classes they’re racing. And congratulations to Miles Mountain in Elkland, Pennsylvania, for hosting an area race. I had the privilege of riding Miles Mountain in September. It was a top-notch facility and fun layout.

NORTHEAST AREA QUALIFIERS

March 18-19…Budds Creek…Mechanicsville, MD
April 1-2…Dublin Gap…Shippensburg, PA
April 15-16…High Point…Mount Morris, PA
April 22-23…Lake Sugar Tree…Axton, VA
May 6-7…Unadilla…New Berlin, NY
May 13-14…Miles Mountain…Elkland, PA
May 20-21…Winchester Speedpark…Winchester, NH
May 20-21…Birch Creek…Sutherlin, VA

NORTHEAST REGIONALS

June 3-4…Englishtown Youth Regional…Englishtown, NJ
June 10-11…Pleasure Valley Raceway Amateur Regional…Seward, PA

Sun-drenched southeast riders have the benefit of being one of the earliest regions to begin the charge towards Loretta Lynn’s, as WW Ranch will host the first area qualifier on February 18-19. The area qualifiers span five states (Florida, South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee). Muddy Creek–the one AMA National track on the Southeast area qualifying schedule–is also the farthest track north in this region. Most of the races fall below North Carolina. And speaking of North Carolina, it’s unfortunate that the Tar Heel State doesn’t hold a single Loretta Lynn’s qualifier. Fortunately, North Carolinians have several options within a few hours’ drive, depending on where they live. Included in the area qualifier list is Monster Mountain in Alabama, which is one of my very favorite tracks in the world. I also hear that MillCreek in Pell City, Alabama, is a great track. You really can’t go wrong with dirt in the southeast.

SOUTHEAST AREA QUALIFIERS

Feb. 18-19…WW Ranch…Jacksonville, FL
March 18-19…South of the Border…Hamer, SC
March 25-26…MX of Marion County…Citra, FL
April 8-9…Echeconnee MX…Lizella, GA
April 22-23…Monster Mountain…Tallassee, AL
April 29-30…Muddy Creek…Blountville, TN
May 6-7…Moto-Vated Sports Complex…Gaston, SC
May 13-14…Lazy River MX…Dalton, GA

SOUTHEAST REGIONALS

May 27-28…Gatorback Youth Regional…Alchua, FL
June 17-18…MillCreek MX Amateur Regional…Pell City, AL

Like the Northeast and Southeast regions, the Mid-East has eight qualifiers spread across five states (Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana and Michigan). This chunk of the U.S. is blessed with Red Bud (area qualifier) and Ironman (regional), which are two AMA National tracks. Red Bud, especially, is an outstanding place. Indiana riders really benefit from the 2017 Loretta Lynn’s qualifying schedule, as they are within a one state drive of nine area qualifiers and three regionals. No excuses!

MID-EAST AREA QUALIFIERS

March 25-26…Fast Farms…Altamont, TN
April 1-2…Nickota Motorsports Park…Bedford, KY
April 8-9…Malvern MX…Waynesburg, OH
April 22-23…Wildcatcreek MX…Rossville, IN
April 29-30…Briarcliff MX…Nashport, OH
May 6-7…Red Bud…Buchanan, MI
May 13-14…Baja Acres…Millington, MI
May 20-21…Thunder Valley…Livingston, TN

MID-EAST REGIONALS

June 3-4…Ironman Raceway Amateur National…Crawfordsville, IN
June 10-11…ChiliTown MX Youth Regional…Chillicothe, OH

The North Central demographic is expansive, spreading from Kansas to the middle of Minnesota. Given the lack of qualifiers in the Dakotas and Nebraska, the North Central section soaks up most of the breadbasket of the U.S. area. What this shows is that motocross isn’t at the top of the list (don’t tell that to Nebraska native Brian Deegan). Like every other geographic region (aside from the Northeast), the North Central regional has a qualifier at a past or present AMA National track (in this case Spring Creek). It makes sense, given the National tracks have the infrastructure to handle parking, camping, pit area, concessions, and contain a track worthy of being considered first class.

NORTH CENTRAL AREA QUALIFIERS

March 18-19…Bar 2 Bar MX…Maize, KS
March 25-26…Romp MX…Richwoods, MO
April 8-9…Riverside Raceway…Winterset, IA
April 22-23…Sugar Maple MX…Hill Point, WI
April 29-30…Sunset Ridge MX…Walnut, IL
May 6-7…Lincoln Train…Casey, IL
May 13-14…Little Falls Raceway…Little Falls, MN
May 20-21…Indian HIlls…Du Quoin, IL

NORTH CENTRAL REGIONALS

June 10-11…Spring Creek Amateur Regional…Millville, MN
June 24-25…MC Moto Park Youth Regional…Mt. Carroll, IL

As we move across the U.S. from east to west, the South Central region is the final frontier of amateur motocross before slamming into the Rockies. It’s interesting to note that 51 of the 68 amateur races for Loretta Lynn’s are held in the area from Texas to the east coast. The South Central portion has eight area qualifiers in five states (Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Colorado). Out of the group, Farm 14 stands out. It happens to be Kevin Windham’s personal motocross track, which he is obviously turning into a racetrack. Very cool of K-Dub to get in the track promotor game. The two regionals are both located in Texas, meaning that Colorado racers better load up the rig and jam on the gas pedal of the Winnebago while passing the time playing the license plate game.

SOUTH CENTRAL AREA QUALIFIERS

March 4-5…3 Palms MX…Conroe, TX
March 11-12…Johnsonville MX Farm…Yantis, TX
March 18-19…Farm 14…Centreville, MS
April 1-12…Desoto Motorsports Park…Grand Cane, LA
April 8-9…Ponca City…Ponca City, OK
April 22-23…Oak Hill Raceway…Alvord, TX
April 29-30…Thunder Valley…Lakewood, CO
May 6-7…Swan MX…Tyler, TX

SOUTH CENTRAL REGIONALS

May 27-28…Underground MX Youth Regional…Kemp, TX
June 17-18…Freestone Raceway Amateur Regional…Wortham, TX

It’s cool to see there’s an area race in Montana and Utah. Unfortunately, there’s only one regional qualifier, and it’s a few states over in Washougal. This section of the U.S. has five area qualifiers in five states (California, Washington, Utah, Oregon and Montana). The schedule is spaced out enough that if a rider doesn’t qualify through one of the races, he has time to make the next event.

NORTHWEST AREA QUALIFIERS

Feb. 25-26…Riverfront MX…Marysville, CA
April 1-2…Horn Rapids…West Richland, WA
April 30…Deseret Peak…Grantsville, UT
May 6-7…Albany MX Park…Albany, OR
May 12-13…Billings Motorcycle Club…Billings, MT

NORTHWEST REGIONALS

May 27-23…Washougal Youth/Amateur Regional…Washougal, WA

Six area qualifiers comprise the Midwest region, with events across four states (California, Utah, Oregon and Wyoming). This section is spread out, ranging from SoCal all of the way to Wyoming. It’s also a moto-rich community, meaning that qualifying could be more challenging than some of the other regions. The regional at Hangtown presents an even playing field, as the dirt is uniquely different than whats found in Southern California or probably Wyoming.

MIDWEST AREA QUALIFIERS

Feb. 18-19…Oatfield Raceway…Turlock, CA
March 18…333 MX Park…Victorville, CA
April 1-2…Glen Helen…San Bernardino, CA
April 16…Bunker Hill…Delta, UT
May 6-7…Albany MX Park…Albany, OR
May 20…Rock Springs…Rocksprings, WY

MIDWEST REGIONALS

June 3-4…Prairie City Youth/Amateur Regional…Rancho Cordova, CA

This section of American moto land offers the least amount of opportunities, with only four area qualifiers. On top of that, it’s a hometown advantage for Pala Raceway regulars (the track hosts the final area qualifier and the only Southwest regional). Also notice that Glen Helen will pull double duty on their April 1-2 dates, with racing for the Southwest and Midwest regions taking place at the same time.

SOUTHWEST AREA QUALIFIERS

Feb. 11-12…Arizona Cycle Park…Buckeye, AZ
March 11-12…St. George MX…St. George, UT
April 1-2…Glen Helen…San Bernardino, CA
April 29-30…Pala Raceway…Pala, CA

SOUTHWEST REGIONALS

June 10-11…Pala Raceway Youth/Amateur Regional…Pala, CA

July 31-August 5…Rocky Mountain ATV/MC Amateur National Motocross Championship…Hurricane Mills, TN

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