National motocross race organizers cancel Washougal event

Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship was set to take place this weekend without spectators

MX Sports Pro Racing has canceled the Washougal National, scheduled to take place at the Washougal MX Park on Saturday, Aug. 22.

The professional racing organization announced that the second event of its amended 2020 schedule will be moved to Tennessee after a meeting between members of its Race Leadership Team and the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championships’ business partners on Aug. 14. The Washougal event received approval from local and state officials based on a health and safety plan submitted by park organizers earlier that day.

Washougal MX Park manager Ryan Huffman said he got “full go-ahead” from state officials to hold the annual motocross race with COVID-19 precautions, including a ban on fans and spectators, in place.

“I struggle with (the decision),” Huffman said. “These COVID-19 times are just tough.”

In previous years, the event drew than 20,000 racers and fans to Washougal. The COVID-19 pandemic caused race organizers to first postpone the race and then to amend the race schedule and limit spectators at race events.

Roy Janson, director of competition for MX Sports Pro Racing, said the decision to cancel the Washougal race was “both unexpected and disappointing.” 

“The comprehensive health and safety plan, prepared specifically to address COVID-19 issues and related prevention and mitigation efforts, submitted and approved both at the local and state level, provided extensive directives designed to address every concern raised by these officials,” Janson stated in a news release. “The health and safety plan, which is based on state policies currently in place under orders by the governor, is fully compliant with all Center of Disease Control, state, and county health department guidelines, and provided for pre-admission screening of all pro athletes and their crew members, including non-contact temperature testing prior to being allowed to access the venue.”

Janson said Huffman did “did everything within his power to organize a safe event for both professional and amateur competitors.”

“We commend him for the extensive efforts and sacrifices made to make the 2020 Washougal National a reality,” Janson said. “Unfortunately, as we have become increasingly aware, circumstances surrounding the spread of COVID-19 can change dramatically in a matter of hours. We did not reach this decision lightly, and the circumstances are entirely out of Ryan’s control. We look forward to bringing the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship back to Washougal for the 2021 season.”

There will still be racing at the park this weekend, however. 

“People are sticking it out for the amateur event we’re doing,” Huffman said. “There’s a few people upset, but we’re still having a nice event and a pro purse for the local pro race. There will definitely be a financial hit, (because) I would’ve done a lot less outreach work and on-site work where it didn’t matter as much considering the small crew I have. But I’m just blessed and grateful we’re still having something and most of the Northwest people are backing us.”

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