Motocross championships a go in Washougal

Racers will compete on Aug. 22, but spectators not allowed due to COVID-19 pandemic

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Motocross riders race at the Washougal MX Park in May. The park will host the Washougal National Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on Aug. 22. (Contributed photo courtesy of Ryan Huffman)

Some of the best motocross racers in the United States will return to the Washougal MX Park on Aug. 22, for the Washougal National Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship.

Spectators will not be allowed to attend due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, however.

The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) Pro Racing series event, which has drawn as many as 20,000 spectators in previous years, will have limited capacity for amateur entrants and campers who stay at the track. Fans can watch the event on NBC Sports Network and MavTV.

“We are opening up more of our park to spread people out more than ever in their camp spots,” Washougal MX Park manager Ryan Huffman said. “We’re going to manage same-household (campers) and make sure (it’s) participants only. My workers and volunteers have strict guidelines and will be coming with no extra people themselves. My own family, who are a big part of the big event — nine brothers and sisters — are mostly all staying home. The ones that do come and help will follow and exceed strict guidelines, and will be coming with no extra people themselves.”

Huffman said measures are in place to prevent non-race entrant spectators who attempt to purchase tickets and circumvent policies.

“I worked with the online ticket company to come up with a plan so people cannot cheat the system,” Huffman said, “and if they try, there will be no refund.”

Earlier this month, AMA Pro Racing announced its nine-race Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship schedule, which begins on Aug. 15, with the Loretta Lynn’s National in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee.

“While we continue to navigate through these challenging and continuously evolving times of the coronavirus pandemic, we are confident that we’ve developed the framework for a high-caliber championship schedule that can be successfully implemented,” MX Sports Pro Racing competition racing director Roy Janson stated in a news release issued by AMA Racing.

“Although we respect the unpredictability of scheduling any live events during these uncertain times and are sensitive to the hardships many people are going through, we remain committed to making our best effort to host the world’s most prestigious motocross championship. We will conduct these events in a safe environment by implementing several policies, all in an effort to control as many variables as possible.”

All events on the 2020 schedule will adhere to social-distancing guidelines and health-management protocols, according to the press release. Each round will be conducted in accordance with local and state ordinances as identified by the event organizer and local officials.

Paddocks will be closed to the general public, with access limited to properly credentialed parties, and face coverings will be required at all times. Hand-washing stations and hand sanitizer stands will be placed throughout the venues, and personal hygiene education signage will be prominent.

“From the moment we faced our first bout of adversity surrounding the coronavirus, we have diligently tried to find a way to make the 2020 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship a reality,” MX Sports Pro Racing president Davey Coombs stated in the news release. “Needless to say, it’s been a tumultuous year for everyone, and I think we’re on Plan ‘W’ by now. But we’re racers at heart, and our business is founded on bringing together fellow racers for some of the world’s most competitive and high-profile off-road motorcycle events. We know the motocross community is as passionate about this championship as we are, as it’s the lifeblood of the sport, and it’s been our goal to bring everyone, from riders to fans alike, the series they deserve. We’re confident that this schedule will accomplish that, and we look forward to providing the joy and sense of normalcy that American motocross can bring during these incredibly uncertain times.”