AMA pros will tear through the dirt and soar above the trees in Washougal

Elevation and aerodynamics

The stage is set for another exciting week of amatuer and professional racing at the Washougal Motocross Park. Gates open Wednesday at 10 a.m. The 2012 Washougal AMA National is on Saturday.

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Ryan Dungey, a 22-year-old from Belle Plaine, Minn., has four wins in a row at Washougal.

The fastest motorcycle riders on the planet are ready to tear through the turns, conquer the hills and soar above the trees when the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship Series comes to Washougal Motocross Park Saturday.

Gates open Wednesday at 10 a.m., followed by amatuer racing on Thursday and Friday. More than 20,000 racing fans are expected for the Washougal National on Saturday. The women kick off the action at 12:15 p.m., followed by the 450 class at 1:10, the 250 class at 2:10, and then the final three motos at 3:20 (women), 4:05 (450) and 5:05 (250).

The Washougal Motocross Park challenges riders with a captivating mix of high speed and technicality. Its lucious landscape and spine chilling viewpoints make this one of the most popular stops along the series.

“I have to say this is the best the track has looked in the 34 years that I have been here,” said park spokesman Brian Barnes. “The best places are anywhere up on the hill where you can see the whole track.”

Ryan Dungey is the reigning “King of the Hill” at Washougal. The 22-year-old from Belle Plaine, Minn., has been the overall winner here for the past four years. He holds an 80-point lead in the 450 class. With Ryan Vilopoto, James Stewart and Chad Reed unable to compete due to injuries, Dungey is favored to win at Washougal again.

“He has been the man up here,” Barnes said of Dungey.

The race to the top of the hill in the 250 class is wide open. Blake Baggett leads the standings with 315 points, but Justin Barcia, Eli Tomac and Ken Roczen are separated by only 42 points.

Women’s motocross returns to Washougal this year. Jessica Patterson leads the series with 201 points, followed by Tarah Geiger with 192 points and Ashley Fiolek with 175 points.

Barnes tells fans who plan to arrive at the park on Saturday to leave their homes earlier because of the closure to Washougal River Road at milepost 5.1. For more information, read the story by Dawn Feldhaus on page A7.

“The weather looks to be perfect for the whole week. We expect a lot of people to be coming up here from in and out of town,” Barnes said. “Follow the directional signs and reader boards we have posted to get to the track the quickest and fastest way.”

Once inside the friendly confines of the park, the magic begins.

“[Park owners] Ralph and Carolyn Huffman, and the staff, would like to thank Camas and Washougal community for their support,” Barnes said. “I think this has become one of the best family events we have in Clark County right now.”