Welcome back to the Vurbmoto Amateur Roundup where each week or so I will bring you the latest in the Amateur Motocross world. This week, we are previewing the 2023 Loretta Lynn Amateur National.
Starting back at the end of May, I broke down each of the Regional Qualifiers that were happening across the country. I wanted to take it a step further and do a deeper dive into a few of the classes that will be racing at the Ranch. Now, I can’t go into every class and every rider. That column would be so long you would get bored after the 6th or 9th paragraph. I want people to read this and actually get useful information from it to shed some light on someone who could be the next GOAT. I know some moto dad somewhere is going to be pissed that I didn’t mention his child or maybe the fact that I didn’t mention him in one of the Vet classes. But that is ok, we can share a beverage at the beer tent as you let me know how bad of a journalist I am.
Before I started my research, I sat down with Chase and VurbWes to get a list together of the classes we thought were the most entertaining and the classes we thought people would have an interest in the most. That is not to say 65 classes are not important. Please refer to my above statement about length. Once we had our list together, I looked at who qualified out of the Regionals, then went back and looked through their past results at the Ranch as well as results from Freestone, Mini O’s, RCSX etc. I feel like those are the races that hold the most weight when it comes to judging how a rider will do. Loretta’s is such a unique track that it is hard to sit here and estimate where a rider will finish or how their week will go. It’s a 3-moto format spread out over an entire week where literally anything can happen.
Now that you have an idea of how I went about this, let’s get into it and look at our first class. 125B/C. For each class on my list, I have picked out a few riders who I believe will be the top contenders and expanded on them.
So, the 125B/C class is pretty self-explanatory. 125cc bikes and made up of riders classified as B or C. In this class, you will see a lot of riders also riding in the Schoolboy 1 class. Many of the names I mention here will also be mentioned in that column later on.
–Tiger Wood. Tiger has one championship and six top 10s at the Ranch. Tiger also won both 125 and Schoolboy 1 at Freestone. This is his first full year on a big bike, so there will be a lot of eyes on his performance as he transitions.
–William Canaguier. Will (I hope he goes by Will) has one Loretta’s title and 11 top 10 finishes. He has not finished outside of the top 10 since his first ever trip to Loretta’s in 2014. On top of some impressive results in the past, he finished second in 125 at Mini O’s and second in 125 All-Star and Schoolboy 1 at Freestone. I believe Will is a threat to win the overall this year. As I said before, anything can happen, but to have this many solid results in the past means he can handle the pressure that is Loretta Lynns.
–Klark Robbins. Five top 10s at Loretta Lynn’s and second in 125 at Freestone this past year. I put Klark on this list because he is someone who I have seen ride in the past and he was very impressive. Klark also represented the USA in the FIM Junior Motocross World Championship where he raced the best in the world on a bone stock 125 while others were on FIM spec’d race bikes. Klark finished sixth in one moto which is an impressive feat.
–Kade Johnson. Kade has two Loretta’s titles as well as eight top 10s. Kade was the Mini Sr 2 champion last year at the Ranch. Kade seemed to struggle a little bit at the early Regional Qualifiers but turned it around at the end. I look for Kade to have a good year at Loretta’s.
-Landon Hartz. Landon finished fifth in Schoolboy 1 last year, has three top 10s, finished third in 125 at Freestone, second at RCSX, and fourth in 125 at Mini O’s. I put Landon on this list because of prior experience as well as his results from the last year. I put a lot of weight into racing a similar class the year prior. He should know what to expect and what the pace will be like.
Supermini 1 & 2
Oh man this is a fun one. Always one of my favorite classes at the Ranch and this year it is STACKED. There are six past champions in the Supermini classes as well as a bunch of talent. There may be additional champions in the class, but I was able to identify six. Please correct me if there are some that I have missed.
This is one class to watch.
–Canyon Richards. One championship at Loretta’s as well as nine top 10 finishes. Canyon is an East Coast kid and I look for him to have a productive year at the Ranch.
–Seth Dennis. Four championships and 12 top 10 finishes at the Ranch. Seth has only finished outside the top 10 one time in his Loretta’s career. Seth Dennis is absolutely one of the favorites to win this year. I look for Seth to land on the podium at a minimum.
–Mason Raynor. One Loretta’s championship and five top 10s. While the last name is the same, there is no relation to my knowledge. Mason has not been to Loretta’s since 2020, but I have seen him at Mini O’s and I look for him to be competitive this year.
–Deacon Denno. Six top 10s and second in Supermini 1 & 2 at Freestone. I wrote about Deacon Denno a few weeks ago after he qualified for Loretta’s two months after breaking his femur. Not only did he qualify, he won every moto. Anyone with this amount of grit and determination is a threat. I will be rooting for Deacon this year and have him for my title pick.
25+ is always one of the fastest and most entertaining classes at the Ranch. It is usually full of ex pros or the fastest dudes you have never heard of. There are no “slow” riders in this class. Just ones that spent too much time at the beer tent the night before.
–Heath Harrison. Two Loretta’s titles including first in 25+ in 2021 seventh in Open Pro Sport in 2022. I am pretty sure Heath got every single holeshot last year in 25+ and Open Pro Sport. I could be wrong there, but it seemed like he was always towards the front.
–Ben Lamay. Two Loretta’s titles and 12 top 10s. This will be Ben’s first trip back to Loretta’s since 2008. Yes, 2008. That is 15 years ago if you struggle with math. Ben was always one of the guys in Pro Motocross that was just there no matter what. Ben has 83 top 20s in the 450 class outdoors and 50 top 20s in Supercross. That is just a staggering number. I look for Ben to land on the podium this year.
–Jacob Hayes. Two Loretta’s titles and 15 top 10s. This will be Jacob’s first trip back to Hurricane Mills since 2011 where he finished second in 450A and 10th in 250A. Jacob is another one I look to be towards the front.
–Kris Keefer. 1 Loretta Lynn’s title. He finished second in 40+ in 2022. Keefer might not have the most extensive report card from the Ranch like the other guys, but I don’t think you will find someone who spends more time on a dirtbike than Kris Keefer. Unless you’re a cross country, Baja type rider. Keefer is always a contender anytime he throws his leg over a bike.
That’s it for our first Loretta’s preview. Stayed tuned as I will be breaking down A and B class, both Schoolboy classes, as well as 85cc in the time leading up to Loretta’s.
Main image: MX Sports