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Local, national riders set for Red Bull motocross national at Budds Creek
By AJ MASONStaff writer
For Tony Archer, Eric McKay and Nicholas Lane there is no place like home.
On Saturday, Budds Creek MX Park will host the 2012 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship tour on Saturday, a very competitive dirt-bike racing event that will have thousands of fans’ eyes wide open.
The Red Bull Budds Creek National will serve as Round 5 of the 12-race championship event, which will be aired live exclusively on NBC and FUEL TV.
When the gates drop, Southern Maryland residents Archer, McKay and Lane will be looking forward to making a name for themselves in the practice rounds and have to qualify to get to the championship race.
Archer, 19, a resident of Waldorf who has been racing for 10 years, three as a pro, is pretty familiar and elated to be on his hometown track.
“I’m really excited to show my friends and family what I’m capable of performing when I race,” said Archer, who is sponsored by DEP Pipes. “I’m ready to go this year. My training has been going a lot better and I’ve really improved on my speed and endurance. This season I want to make it past the qualifiers, so that I can get in the big race.”
Professional competition is divided into two classes: the 450 class for 251-450cc bikes and the 250 class for 150-250cc bikes.
Practice rounds will start at 8:30 a.m. Saturday with the top 36 best times advancing to the championship race in each class.
Competitors that do not crack the top 36 will compete in the consolation races, which will begin at 11:40 a.m. with the top four fastest times advancing to the big race.
The race format for each class consists of two 35-minute races, called motos, with the scores from each moto combined to determine the overall winner.
Coverage from Budds Creek starts with live coverage of the first 250 class moto on FUEL TV, beginning at 1 p.m. followed by live coverage of the opening 450 class moto on NBC at 2 p.m.
Live second-moto coverage of the 250 class continues on FUEL TV at 3 p.m. NBC Sports Network wraps up the day with live final moto coverage of the 450 class, beginning at 4 p.m.
Competitions are conducted on natural-terrain courses that feature a variety of obstacles, which include a unique blend of jumps, hills and various other challenges.
“My goal is to just have fun and loosen up because the other years I didn’t do as well,” Archer said. “This year I would like to show everyone that I can get up to my riding ability.”
Eric McKay, 26 of Hollywood is looking to make his mark in the qualifiers. He is in the 250 class.
McKay has been racing for 22 years, four years as a pro.
“The goal is to get my fastest time in qualifiers,” said McKay, who races a Honda 250 CRF. “I’m pumped up and all the hard work and dedication has paid off. A lot of my family and friends will be in attendance, so it will be very fun.”
Lane, a 2011 Great Mills High School graduate, has been racing for 10 years and is making his pro debut at Budds Creek.
“It feels special to be on my home track,” said Lane, who also raced indoors during supercross season in Toronto in February. “I’m only 20 miles from Budds Creek and I’m really motivated. I’m going to give it everything that I’ve got.”
Lane, who was influenced by the sport of motocross by longtime friend Kyle Tubbs, mentioned that to this day that Tubbs is amazed of how far he’s come in.
“I was a football, basketball and baseball player growing up and Kyle really help me get to this point,” Lane said. “The more and more we talk he can’t believe that I’m actually at the pro level.”
Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey of Minnesota, the 2010 450 class national champion, extended his moto winning streak to four last weekend, claiming his second-straight overall victory and taking considerable momentum into this weekend’s fifth round.
“I feel pretty good. The preparation this week has been great, I’ve been working on technique and doing motos to build endurance.” said Dungey, who leads the 450 class championship standings with 186 points. “Anybody can beat anybody in any given race, so I just want to go out and be focused and win races.”
In 2010 at Budds Creek, Dungey crashed and lost his goggles in the opening moto, but fought hard to put himself in position for the overall win and did so by securing the moto 2 victory.
“I have some memories from this track,” Dungey said. “Budds Creek is one of my favorite tracks on the circuit. It has great dirt, elevation and is very challenging.”
Leading in the 250 class in the overall standings is Monster Energy-Pro Circuit-Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett from Grand Terrace, Calif., with 175 points.
Last year at Budds Creek, Australian native Chad Reed was the overall winner in the 450 class and South African native Tyla Rattray at 250.
Red Bull Budds Creek National
What: 2012 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship Red Bull Budds Creek National
When: 8:30 a.m. Saturday; 1 p.m. Saturday (championship rounds)
Where: Budds Creek MX Park, 27963 Budds Creek Road, Mechanicsville
Tickets, other information: Go to www.buddscreek.com