The newly formed MotoSport.com Pac West Motocross series begins its seven round 2018 season on Sunday at Woodland MX Park in Woodland, WA.
The series features factory contingency, dealership support and the majority of entry fees staying with the host track of each round as a way to put riders first and help sustain and grow Motocross racing at the grassroots level.
Ryan Villopoto, a 10-time Supercross and Motocross Champion, and Brian Nilsen, co-owner of The Brothers Powersports in Bremerton, WA discussed the idea of developing a Motocross series in 2015 while Villopoto competed in the Motocross World Championship (MXGP) during his final year as a pro. Villopoto wanted to remain in the industry upon retirement and in late 2017 the two reached an agreement with sponsors and regional Motocross track owners to get the series underway.
Additionally, Villopoto, who hails from Poulsbo, WA, bought Straddeline ORV Park in nearby McCleary, WA in 2016 with partner Brent Davis. They changed the name to Grays Harbor ORV and completely renovated the track. Grays Harbor hosts two of the Pac West rounds.
"We want to provide an option for the rider that may make more sense for them and their family," Villopoto said. "We are excited to have the support of the OEM, the tracks, and the dealerships. It will translate into a good experience for the rider."
Nilsen, who is also part of the Pac West Motocross Promoters Group, said 15 years ago dealerships routinely sponsored 50 rider teams for local MX series but today dealership-sponsored teams generally field under 10 riders and that's if a dealership backs a team. Nilsen wants to clean-up the racing schedules to minimize conflicts between series, help keep the tracks healthy and get dealerships back racing.
"It's about putting the rider first," he said. "This means not overlapping other major series, providing a practice day to allow familiarity of the race track, and even allowing those on a budget to still be able to show up and race, among other incentives to keep the tracks busy and full."
One aspect of the plan has already started to work as Grays Harbor ORV and MotoWest MX Park, host of Round 6 in the Pac West series, have ruled out promoting individual track series for the year.
"We all have to survive and make it to the next year," he said. "We came up with a series that's simple and short. We got traction right away from track owners since they keep essentially all of the revenue generated at their round."
The seven round Pac West series visits five tracks in Washington and one in Oregon:
- Woodland MX Park: Feb. 17-18
- Eugene MX Park: April 21-22
- Airway Heights MX: May 5-6
- Washougal MX Park: June 9-10
- Grays Harbor ORV: July 21-22
- MotoWest MX Park: Aug 4-5
- Grays Harbor ORV: Aug. 18-19
"We're for a flourishing industry, it's about the experience and recreating at the track," he said. "Drawing battle lines with an us versus them thinking has to go away, whether you are a dealer, rider, sponsor, or even a promoter. When your mission is rider first, those decisions come a lot easier."
Nilsen said early registration indicates a strong turnout for Round 1 of the 2018 Pac West Motocross series and riders can sign up day of. Race fee costs $35 as well as a one-time $35 membership fee. Saturday practice is optional with racing on Sunday. For more information on camping and spectator fees as well as available racing classes check out PacWestMX.com. Riders must compete in a minimum of six races to qualify for year-end awards.