Amateur Roundup: Loretta’s 2023: Mud, Sweat, and Beers

Welcome back to the Vurbmoto Amateur Roundup where I will bring you the latest in the world of Amateur Motocross.

Well, one of the most important weeks in amateur motocross just wrapped up down in Tennessee and life is starting to get back to normal. I wanted to jump on this and write it sooner, but I honestly needed a break. The workload this year was not much different than last with some early mornings and late nights, but this year we faced another obstacle: the mud. It was twice as hard to get around with the amount of mud that was surrounding the track. After the second day, it really started to wear everyone down more than the usual conditions. When you average over 17,000 steps per day for a week straight, it starts to catch up no mater what kind of shape you are in.

When the rain started, it did not let up. One of the days we got the very first moto of the day in and then we sat around until well after 12 p.m. to start racing again. The storms and lightning in the area did not allow for a safe environment to race in, plus MX Sports needed to preserve the track in a way that would allow for a usable track once racing did begin—which I will get back to in a little bit.

In this edition of the Amateur Roundup, I want to acknowledge a few things/people/etc that stood out to me at the Ranch. I feel that Troy Dog and Brad have covered the bases with a lot of the racing aspect, so I don’t want to dive to heavily into that, but I wanted to talk about the experience in general, as a “media member.”

The Vurbmoto Squad

I first must acknowledge the people who were in the trenches with me all week through mud, rain, sweat, and whatever else the Ranch threw at us. We had ourselves a solid crew this year and we were working something like a well-oiled machine. Everyone crushed it this week. Mike Vizer, per usual on the photography side, got some bangers. Including the Seth Dennis shot that I absolutely Dad Cam’d. Casey and Will sat behind a computer screen all week putting together all the moments that myself, Wes and Crane captured into videos that told the story of Loretta’s. Seriously, some of my favorite content that has been created came from Casey and Will last week. I’m excited to see what comes up in the next week or two. I can’t forget my guy Brad either. Brad spent time with a Gypsy and honestly created content so good that I was told basically doubled or tripled the number of eyeballs on Vurb content. That’s pretty big.

But it is seriously awesome to work with a crew like this that have so much knowledge in their respective specialty. Every year I learn something new that helps perfect the craft. You don’t get that too often, but I have every time I work with the Vurbmoto crew.

MX Sports

What an absolutely tough hand MX Sports got dealt this year. The weather was out of their control and Mother Nature did her best to put a damper on this event. But MX Sports did the absolute best they could give the conditions. I saw the comments, don’t worry.

 “This is motocross, they should be racing.”

“Back in my day, we would be out there in the mud.”

I am paraphrasing, but honestly, save it dude. I have no clue how much rain we actually got, but I can tell you this: had MX Sports put bikes on the track the moment the lightning stopped, that track would have been completely ruined by the end of this first day. The amount of bikes that would have been on the track in the rain/mud would of made it so difficult to get the track back into any sort of rideable condition once it was over that the track crew would of worked all night just to get rained on again. It was not worth it. Their job is to provide the best racing surface possible given the conditions. Frankly, they did just that. Was it great? No. Did some bikes get damaged because of the conditions? Yes. But was it the best it could be? Yeah, probably. There were a few motos that were worse than others, but at the end of the day, the track came around. So, I want to acknowledge the job that MX Sports did. They crushed it. Even the 50’s got their third moto!!!!

Gavin Towers

I said in the beginning I was not going to dive too deep into the racing aspect, but there are a few guys I want to bring up because their performances really stood out to me. Gavin Towers is one of them.

I wrote about GT$ earlier in the year and how he sustained a broken collarbone at the first Regional, got surgery on it, then went to Budds Creek and won 250 Pro Sport and Open Pro Sport a few days later. I anticipated him having to take some time off after that to fully recover, but what I did not anticipate was for him to only have six days on the bike before Loretta’s. THEN, he goes out and wins a title in 250 Pro Sport. Amazing, right? What if I told you this was his first title too?

If I did my research correctly, Gavin has raced 17 classes at Loretta’s, only finishing outside the top 10 twice. TWICE. But he had never won a title. Until his year. There really is not much better of a way to cap off your amateur career. Congratulations Gavin.

Canyon Richards

Man, Canyon had one of the hardest weeks at Loretta’s I have ever seen. I lost count of how many motors he lost in the end, but you know what he was doing before then? Crushing it.

Canyon finally got his moto win in the third moto of Supermini 2 on Saturday. The first moto he finished second but would DNF the second because of an engine failure. Before his engine let go, he was running first and second as well. So, without an engine failure, it could have easily been Canyon with the number one plate at the end of the week. When he pulled up onto the podium after the third moto, I was there to capture it. He pulled up and gave me the best thumbs up he could muster, but I could see the disappointment in his eyes. I told him he did a good job and did not push it any further. While the overall results won’t show it, Canyon put the world on notice that he is indeed the real deal. This is not the last we have heard from Canyon Richards, not by a long shot.

Mark Fineis & Parker Ross

Coming in, I had no idea what to expect from these two. Neither had won a championship and their results were up and down throughout the years at Loretta’s. These two showed everyone that they’re for real though. If Mark could have gotten a few better starts, he would have been at the top step without a doubt. He told me he is a mud guy and he proved that on more than one occasion. I didn’t know much about Parker Ross, but he sure made a fan of me and that is a name I heard basically everyday starting Tuesday after Moto 1. Don’t sleep on either of these guys.

Darren Pine

Man…. absolute heartbreak. Darren Pine was crushing it all week, but just missed two titles with a couple mistakes. When he won the first moto of 85 (10-12), I was like it’s a wrap. It’s Pine Time. Everyone might as well go home. Unfortunately for Darren, this is why we run three motos. He had a crash or two and a DQ. One thing I can tell you after that week, Darren Pine is hungry. I look for Darren to bounce back and lay it down for the remainder of the year, and I look for him to win a few more titles at Loretta’s in the coming years. It’s Pine Time.

That is going to wrap up this edition of the Amateur Roundup. We have a little break before the next major amateur event, but you can be sure I will cover it for you. Until next time, peace.

Main image: Mike Vizer

Written by WadeRaynor

My name is Wade and my wife has a sick RV.

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