"That National was a Great Event. Which is Putting a Lot of Pressure on Me to Replicate That Track" | Tim Ritchie on MXdN Prep 6

Tim Ritchie talks ReBud history, MXdN prep, and more.

The 2022 Motocross of Nations will be back at 'America’s Motocross Track', RedBud, the weekend of September 24th and 25th. RedBud last hosted the event four years ago in 2018. Tim Ritchie, owner of the facility took some time in his very busy schedule to talk about preparations for the event and what goes into such an undertaking.

        For the full interview, check out the YouTube video right here. If you're interested in the condensed written version, scroll down just a bit further.

  Jamie Guida

Jamie Guida – Vital MX: How has everything been at RedBud this year? How has the process been getting prepared for the 2022 MXdN?

Tim Ritchie: It's been going well. We had a light season on purpose because we knew we had so much work to do for this. It takes a better part of a year in total planning on and off between doing our other stuff. And obviously a national takes a little bit of time as well. We don't want to neglect that for sure. The national was a good event. It was a great racetrack, which is putting a lot of pressure on me to duplicate that again, to replicate that track, if possible. It was probably one of the better crowds we've had since ’07, ’08. 

Vital MX: For those that don't know the history of RedBud give us a little background.

Tim: I moved here when I was five. So, my memory of it's not so great. But they started it with two of my dad’s riding buddies and my grandfather on my mom's side. One guy was a high school principal. One guy was an installation contractor. They started it as a side gig, something cool to do on the weekends. It's kind of a cool story. My dad had a Yamaha/Maico shop. Somebody broke into the shop, and it got torched on their way out. So it burned to the ground. Then he started a shop here in the old blue barn down out front. He had a Maico/Bultaco shop. He thought maybe somebody could make a living doing the racetrack thing and bought the other partners out. And 50 years later, here we are.

Vital MX: It’s pretty amazing he found a spot that has become one of the most popular tracks in the world. 

Tim: Yeah, you know, riders do have their preferences. Generally, whoever wins obviously loves those tracks. Even if it's not a rider’s favorite race track, I think everybody respects the effort and the work we put into the place to turn it into what it has evolved into over 50 years, you know?

Vital MX: How did the first national come about in 1974?

Tim: They started building the track in ‘72. In ‘73 they ran a CMC National, I believe. And in ‘74 the AMA was giving these things away and they picked one up. And it's kind of funny because we've been fighting to keep it ever since then, it seems like. We actually missed a year in there, which I didn't realize. We ran one in ‘74 and we did not run a national in ‘75. I didn't know that until Davey Coombs put all that history out there in the Vault. So, we were kind of off with our annual event. But then in ‘20 with COVID, we ran a doubleheader that weekend. It kind of caught us back up to where we thought we were the whole time.

Vital MX: With MXdN right around the corner and knowing the reactions from people after the 2018 MXdN, what are you planning to do differently? 

Tim: That's a really tough one to explain. I think it was a racetrack in October that none of the pros would ever see in July. You don't get system rain in July that comes through and just parks and dumps on you for two days. In July, you get storms that blow through. You might get a lot of rain, but it blows through in 45 minutes and washes a bunch of stuff out. Then it's sunshine again. Ironically, right now we are super dry, which is exactly what happened last time. It was really dry leading up to that event. When it dries out like that the grass keeps growing and sucks all the moisture out of the ground, which opens the ground up for moisture to get back in. It's the same exact thing right now, which I have a plan for. We've been trying to get everything done, getting it polished up as well as we can. When it's dry like that you’re just working it into baby powder. I knew it was firm underneath, but we didn't really get that much crazy rain. It was just a slow soaker that turned that stuff on top into poo. The track was very raceable. It wasn't a mud fest. It wasn’t as if they couldn't get around the racetrack or anything like that. There was no extra sand added like everybody thought. I do sections. I don't sand the whole racetrack. There's some sections that wash really bad, so it needs replenished quite a bit and there's sections that I want to act in a certain way. If I have a downhill that I want to get really bumpy, I'll put some extra sand on it to make sure it stays loose. I had done that, but it wasn't what everybody thought it was. It turned into "we changed the racetrack for the euros". The two things we changed were taking the off-camber out because they wanted a specific length of racetrack for TV. And it was a little long. And we changed the first turn for the mechanic's area. I think everybody would agree it's much safer now than it was. 

Vital MX: When it comes to the logistics and the preparations for MXdN, how much of that is you and how much of that is In Front Moto? Who has the final say in decisions?

Tim: For the national we are the promoter and MX Sports is the sanctioning body. For this event, we are the event organizer, and this event is owned by In Front Moto Racing. For the national MX Sports is in charge of the pro race. They don't have any say over anything else. The rest of the facility is ours to take care of. It's kind of the same thing for this. But they're in charge. I think they look at us as a partner, you know, but they don't know the US market like we do. I think we have some good trust there. We do talk through all this stuff, but all of that stuff is their say and the only thing we have control over is camping and parking.

Vital MX: When it comes to track prep, Larocco’s Leap is a factor. Will the leap be doable for the 250’s?

Tim: I try to set it up to where all the 450’s can do it, but only the top guys could do it from the inside, per se. And then only the top 250 riders could do it from the outside. That would be a perfect kind of setup, you know what I mean? Because if you stretch it out and let everybody do it, it's going to lose its allure a little bit. Setting it up like I just explained isn’t so simple. It's not like we do a practice on Saturday anymore. So, if it's wrong, it's wrong. It's very similar to the way it was for the National. 

Vital MX: What is your number one priority for this event? 

Tim: There's not one. There are a million details. You want to get them all done and to do them all right. So, you don't prioritize them until you start running out of time and or things fall apart, you know what I mean? And then you kind of prioritize them on the run, I guess.

Vital MX: Leading up to the race is there any events that fans might want to come early for?

Tim: You know, that's the weird part. People want to come out early anyway. I think we're going to open the vending area up top on Thursday. I know Friday the vending area is going to be open, and the paddocks are going to be open for ticket holders. Everybody's here, the vibes are here, but there's not really any events going on yet, you know, because it's a two-day event. We are doing the Pit Bike of Nations. We're doing some stuff Friday night for that. I think we're going to be qualifying teams Friday on the hill. They do the team introductions for the real Motocross of Nations Friday afternoon. After that, we're going to go down below and do the team intros for the Pit Bike of Nations and then they're going to do some qualifying stuff. They're going to let them get their practice in. And we're doing transponder scoring down there this time because last time we did it on paper in the rain and it was kind of a mess. I think it's questionable if Canada actually got third or not. And RacerX is doing the Race day Live stage thing again. So, we're bringing a stage in, a Jumbotron for down there, and a sound system. 

Vital MX: Tim, we know you’re busy so thanks for doing this. Tim: You know, we appreciate you guys coming. Bring a couple thousand of your buddies.


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