Notice that this column now has a sponsor? That’s right! Troy Dog joined the Blu Cru and you should too! I have one in my garage right now and I can’t wait to go shred it! Thank you to Yamaha for believing in my ELITE columns on this dirt bike website enough to sponsor me. What a dream come true! BTW: Have you seen the all-new YZ450F? OH. MY. GOODNESS. I can’t wait to test that bad boy.
To be real, I wanted to make this column about who stood out and who didn’t stack up to the hype at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch. After thinking it through, I decided to dedicate this column to the riders who absolutely crushed it. I felt that it wasn’t right to put the Micro classes on blast or call out the kids who haven’t even gone through puberty yet. I can’t judge a rider solely based on one race, even if it is the biggest amateur race in the country. After all, these racers are just kids, who have pressure from family and sponsors to do well and I’ve never lived that life. I’m sure some of these families go to the Ranch for their Summer vacations and to have fun, but for others I’m sure it’s a stressful week.
I like to refer to Loretta Lynn’s as a giant crock-pot. It’s got a lot of different ingredients (riders) and it’s hot as balls (weather). Okay, it might not be the best metaphor, but I’m still working out the kinks on it, alright? Maybe a giant pressure cooker would be a better example. Either way, I’ve been following amatuer racing for 15 years now and I’m still a firm believer in that while Loretta Lynn’s is important, it’s not the end of the world if you do poorly there. This especially goes for the riders who already have a team deal in place or for the big name guys throughout the years. The cream will rise to the top no matter what.
With that said, I did go through and pick out one rider from Pro Sport, B, Schoolboy, Supermini, and 85cc classes who really stood out to me.
Pro Sport | Caden Braswell
My standout rider of the week obviously goes to Caden Braswell. I don’t know anything about him, although I have seen his name in the results a lot. This week was different for Braswell. He came in under the radar and away from the hype of Ryder DiFrancesco and Chance Hymas. Then he delivered when those guys didn’t by posting consistent finishes and locking down the 250 Pro Sport title with 3-2-1 finishes and finishing second in Open Pro Sport via 7-1-2 scores. He is the Nicky Hayden AMA Horizon Award winner as well. We should have seen this coming honestly. If you go back and look in the Loretta Lynn’s Vault you will see 18 total classes in ten years. In those 18 classes he’s finished in the top three overall eight times and has one title, which was the Schoolboy 2 class last year. Loretta’s consistency is a skill that Braswell has mastered, that’s for sure. Can Braswell master that consistency when he moves to Lucas Oil Pro Motocross and Monster Energy Supercross?
B Class | Matti Jorgensen
In a stacked class of talent, Matti Jorgensen stood out to me the most in the B classes. Jorgensen went 1-8-7 for third overall in 450 B and DNF-2-1 for 14th overall in 250 B. That 250 title probably slipped out of his hands, but that’s why they race three motos at Loretta’s. Jorgensen is peeking at the right time. He raced the B Limited classes last season and won the 250 B Limited title. Next year will be a big year for him as he makes the move to the A classes as one of the favorites.
Schoolboy | Casey Cochran
Casey Cochran has been in the spotlight since he was in the 50cc classes. So, why am I putting him in this column? I personally believe that Cochran is the next great champion in this sport. I know that’s a huge task to ask of him right now, but I’ve had those vibes from him since he was on 65cc. He just added his fourth and fifth Loretta’s championships to the record books with a pair of titles. While I’m totally aware of the fact that Cochran has Husqvarna support, I felt like in years past he didn’t get the recognition that he deserved from an OEM or team. This is a guy who Star Racing should have picked up or even Honda. So, it’s nice to see Husqvarna come in and put him on the team. He’s the next guy in line in my eyes and these next three years are going to be very crucial to his growth.
Supermini | Leum Oehlhof
To be fair, I’ve never even heard of Leum Oehlhof until last week when he came out of nowhere and won the first moto of Supermini 2. Not only did he win the moto, but he won the championship in that class as well with 1-4-1 scores. In Supermini 1 he finished second overall with 2-2-4 scores. The coolest thing to me is that Leum has only been to Loretta’s one other time and that was last season in the Mini Sr. 1 and 2 classes where he finished 10th overall in each class. Oehlhof is picking a great time to come alive here as I’m sure sponsors are jumping all over him after his out of nowhere performance last week.
85cc | Brennon Harrison
Brennon Harrison deserves some recognition for his 5th and 2nd overalls in 85 (10-12) Limited and 85 (10-12) classes. Harrison, who hails from Jacksonville, Florida has been legit at Loretta’s since his first year in 2015. Out of ten classes in six years at the Ranch (not counting this season) Harrison finished in the top ten overall seven times. His second overall in the 85 (10-12) class this year is a career high and should put him as a favorite for next season as well as put him on the radar of some teams.
Obviously, a ton of riders shined last week and I’d love to list them all in this column. However, I have a word limit. Congratulations to all of the champions and standout racers of the 2022 AMA Loretta Lynn’s Amatuer National. Next year we will all get a little older and do this all over again.