With the Colorado motocross scene standing still for most of this year and only swinging back into motion a couple of weeks ago, we weren’t quite sure what to expect from our Coloradan riders at the 2020 Monster Energy AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship when gates dropped at the Ranch last week. Afterall, the last time we saw most of these guys and gals twist a grip was at Kicker Arenacross races more than seven months ago, pre-pandemic. Yikes, has it really been that long? So, in support of our favorite native rippers (and, honestly, as a result of some serious moto withdrawal), we hopped on a plane to Nashville, Tennessee then made the jaunt to Hurricane Mills for a week overflowing with all-things-dirt bikes at Loretta Lynn’s.
More Coloradans qualified for the event this year than in any other year we’ve covered the race and that in itself is something to be proud of! We were thrilled to see 36 riders show up to throw down, compared to the 25 in attendance last year. Once motos began and we realized that everyone came to make a statement, our excitement only grew.
Ladies first, shall we? We saw a fantastic turnout of Colorado females in the lineup for the Girls (11-16), Women, and even 50cc classes this year at the Ranch. Girls (11-16) included five riders from Colorado, the largest number of Coloradans represented in the same class this year. One of them, Adilyn Malcolm, managed to earn an overall finish just outside of the top-five—what a way to end her amateur career in the Girls class at Loretta’s. The Women’s class saw Malisa Brauch and Ellie Ogden put on solid rides and the 51cc (7-8) class saw Hannah “Hannimal” Jamison tear it up for her first time ever at the event. Girl power, for real!
Speaking of first times, Koree Green, John Douglas, and Karl Brown made their maiden voyages to the historic grounds of the Dude Ranch in a few C classes. Green made a memorable first impression there, putting himself in contention for a podium finish overall in 250 C Limited before crashing in the final moto. His best moto finish was a fifth and he still managed to earn an impressive seventh overall in the class. After watching Karl Brown dominate the RMRA season opener in Mosca a couple of weeks ago, it was no surprise that he lined up at Loretta’s to do damage, as well. With 9-13-8 moto finishes in 125 C, he landed a sixth overall in the class.
Moving on to the B classes, Alex Vestal out of Cortez, Colorado put on top-10 rides as he always does year after year in his respective classes. His best finish of the week was a sixth in moto two of 450 B Limited. With fairly consistent rides, he pulled off an 11th overall in that class and an eighth overall in 250 B Limited.
Collectively, the Vet classes included a handful of old school dudes from Colorado that were a blast to watch on the track. Travis Stitcher out of Dacono, Colorado rode 9-10-7 moto finishes in Vet (30+) for a solid seventh overall. Not as consistent, but still impressive, was Chad Faulkner out of Windsor, Colorado who went 17-6-7 for eighth overall in Masters (50+).
With so many talented young athletes from Colorado making an appearance at the race, the little bike classes were our favorites to watch all week.
In Mini Sr. 1 and 2, Carter Malcolm and Dilon Blecha showed the rest of the field what Colorado kids are made of. Both riders found themselves battling for spots inside the top-10 nearly every moto and Malcolm finished the week with an eighth overall in Mini Sr. 1 and missed top-10 overall by two spots in Mini Sr. 2. Unfortunately, Blecha encountered devastating bike trouble that took him out of contention for a top overall spot, but he had the speed to be up there otherwise. Thanks to the unpredictable nature of the three-moto format, Sedalia’s Logan Lessar used moto finishes of 17-17-14 to slip inside the top-10 overall in Supermini 1 (12-15).
As if Colorado’s representation wasn’t stellar enough already, the native 65cc riders took it to an entirely new level. The younger of the Blecha brothers, Cole, was on fire all week, running a 4-5-5 in 65cc (10-11) for a fifth overall and a 17-4-4 in 65cc (10-11) Limited for sixth overall. Jett Kellogg also came out swingin’ in 65cc (10-11) and finished just outside the top-10 overall. Even more mind blowing was Gage Dunham’s performance. An inconsistent final moto in the 65cc (7-9) Limited class after a third place in moto one and a fourth place in moto two left him with a fifth overall. But where he really made a name for himself was the 65cc (7-9) class. 5-1-2 moto finishes were enough to win him the national title in the class. He was the only Coloradan to grab a championship this year, and he also had the loudest cheering section in the Monster Energy viewing area that we heard all week! Seriously.
Of course, the 50s were the cutest yet gnarliest riders to hit the track. Parker, Colorado-based ripper Deegan Miller was able to sneak into the top-10 overall in the 51cc (7-8) Limited. Cory Holmes out of Brighton, Colorado showed up in the 51cc (4-6) Shaft Drive Limited class with a solid 10th place in moto one, but back of the pack finishes in the remaining races. For the first time ever, we saw the new mini E-bikes take to the track and Holmes and Eli Herrick lined up on the gate to make history for it! Holmes overalled just outside the top-10, with his best moto finish being a fifth.
We’ve made the 18-hour drive to the Ranch many, many times. And each time we show up, riders from our home state only impress us more. Congratulations to everyone who qualified to race the 2020 Monster Energy AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship at Loretta Lynn’s! You make us proud.
Photos courtesy Erin Malcolm