Local motorcross racer advances to National Championships

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 5, 2005

Local racer beats out nearly 17,000 other racers to qualify for Tennessee finals

BY DAVID FOLSE II and Bill Hubbard

Sports Editor and Sports Contributor

Brandon Hubbard just made his dream come true. The 11-year old dirt bike racer has qualified for the largest amateur motorcross race in the world, the 23rd annual AMA/Air Nautiques Amateur National Motorcross Championships at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch in Tennessee. Brandon took on over 17,000 hopefuls from across America to earn one of just 1400 qualifying positions.

“Every motorcross racer in the country wants to compete in the Amateur Nationals,” said Event Director Tim Cotter. “A win there can serve as a springboard to a lucrative professional motorcross career.”

Most of America’s top professional motorcrossers, including Jeremy McGrath, Rickey Carmichael, Travis Pastrana and James Stewart, have won AMA Amateur National Championships. A victory at this race is so valuable that two teenagers, Georgia’s David Millsaps and Pennsylvania’s Broc Hepler, were rewarded with six-figure pro contracts after winning Amateur National Championships last year.

Brandon, who attends St. Joan of Arc Elementary School, has been riding since he was five years old. Sponsors such as Champion Cycles of Covington and Racing Innovations help pay his way to the races. He has won hundreds of races in the last five years and competes every weekend. Brandon’s parents, Bill and Sherry, will pack up the family camper and head to Tennessee for the race, which runs August 2-7.

Brandon is just one of the 17,000 who spent the last four months qualifying for the event. The top finishers in the area and regional qualifiers earn a birth into the national championship race. Racers may enter a wide variety of classes, from mini-cycle classes for children as young as four, all the way up to a senior division for riders over 40. There are also classes for women and classes for both stock and modified vehicles.

The track is built on a section of Loretta Lynn’s Ranch and Campground in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee. The course contains a variety of jumps, corners and other obstacles designed to test the skills and stamina of the racers. Most riders attend the event with the help of their families. In fact, many groups consider the even their family’s summer vacation. Besides races, the ranch provides family-friendly facilities including a game room, swimming pools, arts and crafts activities and a fashion and talent show.