It’s been four highly anticipated years, but in just a matter of days the roar of the world’s most prestigious dirt bike racing championship will once again fill the canyons of Glen Helen Raceway for the opening round of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship.
For the first time since 2009, many of the fastest riders on the planet will navigate the vast expanses of Southern California’s most notorious motocross track for the 2014 Red Bull Glen Helen National, presented by Yamaha this Saturday, May 24.
Countless man-hours have gone into perfecting the layout for Saturday’s festivities, with the talented tandem of Jody Weisel and Karl Scanlon coming together to present the likes of Ryan Dungey, James Stewart, Chad Reed, and more with a one-of-a-kind mix of high speed, dramatic elevation changes, and grueling technicality. Riders were able to get their first official taste of the track last Friday, and now the world is able to get its own virtual perspective on the Glen Helen course with the series’ official animated track map, from both overhead and the rider’s point of view.
With the recent news that defending 450 Class Champion Ryan Villopoto, who also stood atop the overall podium at the last Glen Helen National in 2009, will miss the entire season due to injury, all eyes are now on a wide-open, global field of contenders in the premier division. While Dungey has won two of the last four championships, he’ll have to fend off fellow former champions Stewart and Reed. Additionally, a long list of up-and-coming riders appear ready to step into the spotlight, including Justin Barcia, Trey Canard, as well as rookies Ken Roczen and Eli Tomac. Veterans like Davi Millsaps and Brett Metcalfe, who was chosen to fill in for Villopoto, are also sure to be in the mix.
As the opening round of the 2014 season, Glen Helen presents a prime opportunity for riders to make a statement and grab some early momentum towards the championship. Given that a large contingent of these competitors have never raced competitively on the track, since it last hosted a race in 2009, only adds to that intrigue.
“When you consider we haven’t hosted a round of the AMA Pro Motocross Championship since 2009 and we’re the first race of the season, it really makes for a compelling storyline because not a single one of us can even begin to guess how things might play out,” said track owner Bud Feldkamp. “These are the best riders in the world and we know we can count on a truly captivating day of racing. It’s going to be the greatest homecoming Glen Helen could ask for.”
Thursday’s scheduled Media Day at Glen Helen (1 p.m. – 3 p.m.) will officially kick off the weekend’s festivities as each of the sport’s elite riders will be on hand for a season-opening press conference and an exclusive riding session for the media. The on-track action for the Red Bull Glen Helen National on Saturday begins at 8:30 a.m. with practice and qualifying, followed by opening ceremonies at 12:30 p.m. and racing at 1 p.m. A full weekend schedule can be found HERE.
On Sunday, May 25, the day following the National, Glen Helen will host the opening round of its Yamaha Spring Series during Amateur Day. Gates open at 6:00 a.m., with practice scheduled for 8:00 a.m. and races starting at 9:30 a.m. The Amateur Day festivities surrounding the National signifies the one and only time non-pros have the chance to race on the same track as the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. Registration for Amateur Day is just $50 per class, with 58 classes of competition available.