Born to be wild

Native returns home for Washougal National

Tommy Weeck looks forward to gaining more ground during the ninth round of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship Saturday, at Washougal Motocross Park.

“The biggest thrill is having a home race and hearing all the local families and fans cheering for you,” said the 23-year-old Washougal native. “It makes you want to push harder and make more passes. The better you’re doing, the louder they get. You can feel the excitement from them.”

Weeck has been racing on the pro circuit since 2009. This is his third trip back to Washougal and his first time in the 450 class. Germany’s Ken Roczen leads the series with 367 points. Ryan Dungey, of Belle Plaine, Minn., sits in second place with 343 points. He has won at Washougal a few times. Third place belongs to Trey Canard, of Shawnee, Okla., with 302 points.

“It’s exciting lining up against former champions and well respected riders,” Weeck said. “Being able to hang with them gives me such a feeling of accomplishment.”

Jeremy Martin, of Millville, Minn., leads the 250 class with 341 points. Cooper Webb, of Morehead City, N.C, is in second place with 298 points. Blake Baggett, of Grand Terrace, Calif., follows in third place with 285 points.

The theme for the 34th Washougal National is “Celebrate Our Heroes.” Fans attending the event are asked to wear camouflage and patriotic attire. Teams and riders will get into the spirit by sporting military-themed colors on their motorcycles and protective gear.

Weeck said the Washougal track is unique because of its elevation gains and drops, tree-lined twists and turns, and how close the fans are to the action.

“It’s impressive,” he said. “People are wrapped around the entire track on the inside and the outside of it.”

Weeck also has family ties to the track. He introduced his sister, Tavi, to Ryan Huffman, the son of owners Ralph and Carolyn Huffman.

“I watched Ryan race my entire life, and I always looked up to him,” Weeck said. “Ever since I introduced him to my sister, Ryan has been a part of the family.”

Since retiring, Ralph and Carolyn Huffman have turned the track over to Ryan and Tavi. Spokesperson Brian Barnes said they are bringing new ideas and concepts to life at the park. On top of the Muscle Milk motocross series, there are also high school mountain bike races and the Pacific Northwest Spartan Sprint.

“The diversity at the track we have now and the number of schools and clinics we offer is amazing,” Barnes said. “It’s a constant change with the times, and I think we are doing a pretty good job of that.”

Washougal Motocross Park opens to visitors Wednesday, at 10 a.m. More than 1,000 riders have already pre-registered for Amateur Days, Thursday and Friday. Barnes encourages ticket holders to arrive early for amateur races and professional practices. Overnight camping is available. He asks guests to respect the Washougal roads and ecosystem by being good stewards of the land.

“The coolest thing this year is seeing the economy coming back. We are seeing a resurgence in riders and racing fans,” Barnes said. “Every year at Washougal, new memories are made. It’s not the status quo. No year is ever the same. It’s always changing.”

Wherever Weecks races, he has the best seat in the house.

“Being on my bike is the most peaceful place on earth,” he said.

But no other course in the Lucas Oil Motocross Championship Series compares to Washougal.

“If you even think about racing, it’s the most beautiful motocross track you could ever go to,” Weeck said. “If you haven’t seen it, it’s something you’re missing out on.”