Cooksey, Straight To The Point: Motocross Is Thriving In The Pacific Northwest! 5

Taking in the sights and sounds of moto in the PNW.

Last week I got an up close and personal look at the motocross scene in the Pacific Northwest, and it’s thriving! I started with the Thursday Night Motocross at PIR, and this race is a warmup for anyone looking to make some money before the weekend’s Lucas Oil Pro Motocross at Washougal. It completely smashed my expectations.  Where I live in the Las Vegas, local motocross racing is virtually non-existent, so hearing about an old school “money race” reminded me of the 80s and 90s. Back then, local pros could make some cash chasing purse money. I'd heard that this race was fun, but I had no idea the local support this series receives. 

I stayed about ten miles from the track at PIR.  With the pro heat races starting at 7:00pm I left the hotel at around 5:15 estimating about 15 minutes to get there. I didn’t calculate the thousands of people who were attending the race, about two miles from the track we were gridlocked on the freeway. My buddy who spends a considerable amount of time in the area was convinced there must have been an accident. After about 45 minutes and only moving a half-mile we could see the track entrance and realized there was no accident, it was the line to enter PIR. I was blown away at how many spectators were entering the track. This event drew far more spectators than round two of Lucas Oil Pro Motocross race at Pala, CA, earlier in the year.

After about two-and-a-half hours we finally made it into the facility. It was a carnival-like atmosphere with food trucks, vintage bikes, vender setups and Ronnie Mac signing autographs on female body parts. I missed the Pro heat races but got there just in time to see the LCQ. On the first lap my jaw nearly hit the ground when I saw the first couple riders hit the “booter” in the pro section of the track. This jump sent guys insanely high and while it looked spectacular, I didn’t approve of the safety of this jump. Despite my reservations I didn’t see anyone get hurt there as these guys hurled themselves through the night air.


Before the main event I recognized quite a few names. Many of these guys regularly qualify for Monster Energy Supercross main events; Tyler Bowers, Austin Politelli, Ryan Breece, and Adam Enticknap, among others. What was even more surprising was Nor-Cal rider Dare Demartile crushing the field. Dare started in fifth and worked his way into the lead pulling out a huge advantage. Anytime you can win a race with this many top professional racers it’s impressive, and he didn’t just win, he dominated causing the local crowd to go bananas. It was a sight to see, watching local pro’s battling for purse money while the crowd soaked up the party atmosphere. 

Seeing the spectator turnout for a Thursday night race had me wondering how many fans would show up for the national on Saturday. I don’t know the exact number, but it was estimated about 30k spectators attended Washougal. After touring the facility it’s no wonder everyone attends this event, the track is surrounded by a beautiful wilderness. This isn’t what I am accustomed to seeing around motocross tracks, it’s like they built a world class motocross facility in the middle of a national park. The motocross community in the pacific northwest is thriving, who wouldn’t want to spend time at both world class events? 

Summer vacations are planned around outdoor national events, as they are family-friendly. I strongly recommend anyone who hasn’t attended this race should add it to their bucket list. Honestly, I am embarrassed that it took me this long to make the trip. Oh, yeah...Eli Tomac rode about as fast as a human being could on Saturday, hitting terminal velocity en route to 1-1 moto finishes.  

My trip to the Pacific Northwest was a reminder of why I fell in love with this sport in the first place. Nothing like getting out in nature and enjoying the company of fellow motocross enthusiasts. This was my first trip to Washougal, but definitely won’t be my last!

Follow me @chriscooksey61 on Instagram and Twitter and @Cookseymedia on Facebook.

Chris Cooksey is life-long motocross enthusiast, racing professionally in arenacross, motocross and supermoto. Chris obtained his degree from Arizona State, majoring in business and communications. After college Chris immersed himself in the business and social media aspects of the industry. Chris enjoys sharing his opinions. Sit back and enjoy the view from his perspective.

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