Hey everyone, my name is Jessie Wharton. This is the first "blog" that I have done for MotoSport.com and kinda the first one I have ever done at all! I will be blogging throughout the year on some of my races and experiences on and off the track. So its gonna be a great way for you guys to get to know a little bit about me and how I am involved with the sport. For those of you who don't know too much about me, let me start off by giving you some background about myself.
In addition to being a writer and sponsored rider for MotoSport.com, I'm 18 years old (just graduated from high school) and have been around dirt bikes the past 6 years. I started racing 5 years ago and currently race a KX250F in the WMX class at the AMA nationals. I live in small community outside of Vancouver WA, and have been here my whole life.
So keeping it mellow let's talk about the moto scene I'm involved in as well as some of the upcoming races in the Northwest. I kinda already talked about my background in the sport but most recently in my racing career I was able to live out a long time dream, racing my first pro national.
This past spring I raced my first pro national at the opening round of the Lucas Oil AMA Outdoor National held at Prairie City's Hangtown Motocross Classic event. It was an amazing experience, and impossible to slow down and take it all in! It was incredible to see the support of everyone in the Northwest, my friends, family and sponsors all helped me out and stood by for support. Even though my finishes were far (and let me emphasize FAR) from what I was hoping for, I came back home with a new respect for the sport, the riders and the promoters. I also came back with a great appreciation for the Northwest.
Our moto scene up here is small compared to the rest of the country for sure. There aren't nearly as many tracks around the state of Washington, Oregon and Idaho compared to southern California or the Midwest region. But I think what we lack in quantity we make up in quality.
For example, the new ORV park in Olympia WA, has proven that solid management and hard work is what the riders want. Under the management of Elaine Derek, Straddeline ORV Park has put on a new face. With 155 acres of moto heaven there is a long list of things to do. The MX track isn't the only feature; there is a full flat track, kids track, trails, and a 4x4 mud bog area. There are enough camping spaces to hold a national along with green grass areas, and a full sized playground.
Honestly, this is not just a track, it's somewhere to go camp for the weekend and enjoy yourself. I've ridden there twice recently and highly recommend the experience.
Some exciting news for the great Northwest is there are some pretty big races coming up this next month. These are all races that anyone can go to and be a part of. On July 21st, the 45th anniversary Thursday Night MX race will take place at Portland International Raceway. This race is always exciting because a bunch of extremely fast MX pros come out to race and try to win some, if not all, of the $15,000 pro purse. There are also plenty of amateur classes as well. All women get in for free that day, so that's an added bonus. Its like a miniature Supercross race that we get right before the Washougal National on the same weekend.
It all leads up to Round 8 of the Lucas Oil Championship held at Washougal MX Park in Washougal WA. The national is one of the biggest if not the biggest race that comes our way, bringing the top pros in all the classes along with the factory riders and semis. If you want some excitement and a great day of racing take your lawn chairs and camp out on the side of one of the famous grass uphills. I might be slightly biased, but nothing beats the beauty of Washougal!
Even though the moto scene is small, we have a lot going on this summer. There are many races that I didn't mention but as the next few weeks come along they will definitely be something to talk about!
We have a ton of talent that has come out of the NW, riders like Ryan Villopoto, Josh Hill, and many others. We also have many talented riders that are coming up through the amateur national ranks that will be under factory tents in no time.
All in all, I am really excited on the upcoming year, and the future work that I will be doing at MotoSport.com, as well as seeing the growth in our industry as the years progress. It's always great to be involved with people that want to make this sport and the industry better, like MotoSport.com.
Till next time,