The worlds’ best racers are in town competing in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship
Curtis Paulson usually gets a great view from the announcer’s tower at the Washougal MX Park.
This week, he had to get a little higher.
One of the lead announcers for the amateur racing at the park, Paulson got in a helicopter on Thursday. From high above the track, using a wireless microphone, he called some of the action.
On Friday, there will be more amateur racing.
Then on Saturday, it is the return of Clark County’s largest spectator event: The Washougal MX National.
The best motocross riders in the world will be racing in front of thousands of fans.
“Attendance is going to far surpass what we had last year,” Paulson predicted. “I got here Thursday, and I could not believe how many people were already here.”
Many amateur riders, plus family and friends, camp at the park and stay the week, awaiting the professionals.
Then, of course, there is the Saturday pilgrimage along Washougal River Road to the entrance of the park. Paulson said he expects more than 20,000 fans to make it out there on Saturday.
In other words, the annual tradition is back.
The Washougal MX National debuted in 1980, and with the exception of 1987, and then in 2020, it has returned every year. The pandemic called off the 2020 race. The National was held in 2021, but to a smaller crowd.
Paulson said there were 1,156 amateur entries this week, up more than 300 from last year.
As far as just the Saturday race fans, well, they have been making plans for months as well.
“It’s cool to look out from the tower and see the sea of colors,” Paulson said. “People wearing shirts from past Washougal events, too. True fans of the sport come out and support this.”
It is also a regional event, not just a Clark County spectacle. The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship has 12 events yearly, but only one in the Northwest. Fans from Washington, Oregon, Idado, plus fans from Montana, northern California, and Canada make the trek to Washougal.
“We’re going to enjoy our motocross,” Paulson said. “To heck with your $6 a gallon gas.”
About the only downer going into Saturday’s big event is the absence, on the course, of Levi Kitchen. Raised in Washougal, Kitchen is now a professional motocross racer. He was expecting to race in Washougal for the first time as a pro this week. He suffered a wrist injury last week, though. See story here: Washougal MX National: Levi Kitchen, hometown hero, won’t race this week due to injury.
He still plans to be in Washougal, though.
“He’s got a booth set up on the infield,” Paulson said. “You can get ‘59’ jerseys and hats. He’s very much a part of this.”
Paulson is already looking forward to 2023, too, just to be in the tower when Kitchen is racing in front of his home fans.
“He’s definitely Washougal’s favorite son right now, hurt or not,” Paulson said.
This is the 50th anniversary of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship and the 41st running of the Washougal MX National. The Washougal MX National is the eighth round of the 12-round series.
“With its high-speed elevation changes, highlighted by ‘Horsepower Hill’ … and unique tree-lined layout that traverses in and out of the shadows, Washougal MX Park presents one of the most unique challenges in the championship,” according to the series’ press release promoting this stop.
Eli Tomac of Colorado is leading the 450 points race going into Washougal with 317. Chase Sexton of Illinois is just five points behind the leader. Sexton is the defending champion at Washougal.
Also of note for Washougal fans, Ryan Dungey has come out of retirement. He sits in sixth place right now, and he loves Washougal. He is a seven-time winner on the course.
Brothers Jett and Hunter Lawrence of Australia are 1-2 in the 250 points race.
Practice and qualifying begin at 8 a.m. Saturday. Opening ceremonies are are 12:30 p.m. The first motos begin at 1 p.m., with the second motos getting started at 3 p.m.
General admission for Saturday only tickets are $60 plus fees. It appears VIP and Pit Pass tickets are already sold out.
Word of advice: For those going for Saturday only, please plan to arrive early. Thousands of race fans travel on Washougal River Road, a one-lane highway, to get to the park at 40205 NE Borin Road. Track officials recommend fans arrive early and have patience while coming and going on Saturday.For more ticket information, go to: https://washougalmx.ticketspice.com/washougal-pro-motocross-nationals-22
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