The first ever Loretta Lynn's National starts the shortened 2020 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship series on Saturday as riders, fans and other sports seasons continue to deal with the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

Loretta Lynn's, more famous for the elite and annual Amateur National Motocross Championships held every year which successfully wrapped last week, sets aside the usual horse pasture a few more days as the gate drops for the 250 and 450 classes to (hopefully) set in motion the 9-round (instead of 12) series that concludes October 10 at Fox Raceway in Pala, CA and features two rounds at RedBud three days apart in Buchanan, MI.

All the other tracks, most riders have raced multiple times and bring some level of experience that usually serves them well in terms of practicing and competing. Some tracks also serve as home field advantage for those who live or grew up nearby providing an element of comfort and familiarity.

Except Loretta Lynn's.

Once the last rider crosses the finish line on Saturday the ranch closes for Motocross business until next year. As of now, Round 1 of the 2020 Motocross season is not an inaugural Loretta Lynn's National. COVID-19 put a wrench into the 2020 Motocross series - as it has all other sports - delaying the series twice which under normal circumstances would holds Round 10 this weekend.

Rather, the Nationals start three months late at a brand new venue and assuming those states hosting the remaining rounds don't get shut down in the next two months, the 2020 Motocross season ends the same weekend fans typically watch Monster Cup, another event canceled.

Loretta Lynn's Motocross Preview

Instead of the usual rundown of riders and potential Championship hopes for the 2020 Motocross season how about something a little different? Loretta Lynn's is new, most fans have never been and even more have never raced on the track. So, how about a Q&A with MotoSport's own Brandon Hoff, a former pro who qualified and raced the Vet +25 and +30 classes at the Ranch in 2016.

Oh, before we begin:

  • Eli Tomac, fresh off his first 450 class Supercross Championship looks good to make some history with his fourth consecutive Motocross Championship
  • Ken Roczen has called it a season for 2020
  • Ryan Dungey is not racing
  • Marvin Musquin returns from injury that left him sidelined for all of Supercross
  • Cooper Webb might have something to say after finishing second to Tomac and not repating as Champion in Supercross
  • Dylan Ferrandis has an opportunity to close his 250 career with back-to-back Supercross 250 West Championships and a 250 title in Motocross if he can hold off Justin Cooper, Jeremy Martin and maybe RJ Hampshire

How's that for a quick and dirty rundown? On to the questions.

1. How does Loretta Lynn's compare to a regular National level track?

Well, it's a one-off amateur track that hasn't changed since the 80s. The horsepower of current MX bikes is way too much for such a tight and small track. Hopefully there will be a few track changes to increase lap times.

2. What kind of soil conditions await riders?

Sandy top soil with a hard base. The track will get super rough and will be a good test for the rider's fitness.

3. Would riders adjust their practice to prepare for this track and if so how?

No changes regarding rider prep. It's still two 30 minute plus two lap Motos, business as usual for those beasts.

4. While Loretta Lynn's is not necessarily a foreign track, most riders have not spun a lap on it in years since before their pro days, does this "new" track in some respects even the playing field?

Not at all. The pros are so good that it will only take a couple laps to figure out the track. The same riders who do well this weekend will be the same riders that do well next weekend in Washougal.

5. What will be the biggest adjustment for riders?

Racing. It's been a few months since they've been behind the starting gate. Some riders may be a little rusty when it comes to racing.

6. Who benefits the most on this track and who might have a hard time and is already looking forward to Washougal?

To me it doesn't benefit any particular rider. Those who have been putting in the work will benefit the most, as it's typically hot and humid in Tennessee in August. Those who will struggle are the guys who didn't work hard or who dislike rough, hot, humid conditions.

7. Is there a National level track that comes close to Loretta's?

No other track comes to mind.

8. What did you like and dislike about the track when you raced?

I enjoyed the ruts and the roughness of the track. My biggest complaint of the track itself is the right hand sweeping first corner, and the handful of trees that are way too close to the edge of the track.

9. Could Loretta Lynn's potentially become a new National round in coming years or based on the circumstances, it works as a one-off but likely not a yearly round?

Anything is possible, but I expect it to be one and done. The track isn't suited for pro racing in its current form.

10. Who wins the first ever Loretta Lynn's National in the 250 and 450 class?

Jeremy Martin and Eli Tomac.

Gates (finally!) drop for Round 1 of the 2020 Motocross season starting with the 250 class at 11 a.m. (PST) on Saturday at Loretta Lynn's Ranch in Hurricane Mills, TN. NBC Sports Gold broadcasts all Motos, NBC Sports Network airs the 250 Moto 2 at 9 p.m. (PST) and NBC airs 450 Moto 2 at 9 a.m. Sunday.