During the first week of August, Pleasant Ridge senior Reid Poff traveled down to Loretta Lynn’s Ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tenn., for the 31st Annual Red Bull AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship.
After beating out over 20,000 racers to qualify for the national competition, the young man finished 32nd out of 42 in the 450 B mod division.
To start with, what were your initial thoughts when you first reached Loretta Lynn's Ranch?
When we got to the ranch, I was just relieved to finally be there. I was so anxious to go look at the track and check the whole place out.
The track was unlike anything I've ever ridden. The dirt was somewhat the same as home, but other than that it was a whole new experience. I approached it like a normal race, but of course I was pretty nervous about the whole event.
As far as the race went, how do you feel you did? Was it about as difficult as you expected?
Well, the three races I did were alright. I had an awesome beginning to the week with a great start in my first race. I came around the first couple corners in third.
A little while into the first lap though, there was a big crash that involved about 11 riders and I was one of them. It was a bad crash and I was the only one out of the bunch that was able to finish the race.
After that I was just upset that I threw away a good start in the race and it seemed like nothing could go right the next two. My lap times were on pace with the top 20, but I just made some mistakes at the start of each race that set me back from catching up.
It was very difficult. The hardest part was the length of each race. It was hard to pace myself because I'm so used to doing four or five lap sprints, not the 10 laps that we did down there. Also, the heat was brutal. It was so humid, unlike anything I've ever experienced.
If you had to describe one lesson you took away from the experience, what would it be?
The whole experience was great. The biggest thing I could see was my fitness wasn't up to par with some of the other competitors. I thought I was doing everything I could to prepare, but it was no joke down there. I now know what to expect and what it's going to take to do better next year.
What else did you do on the trip?
They had several events throughout the week during the evenings. Everything from a talent show to karaoke. They also had a creek that was always a blast to go lay around and cool off in.
What's next for your racing career?
My biggest goal now as a racer would be to qualify again next year and try to get a top 15 finish overall. My goal this year was to make it to the championship. Now next year I just want to improve by making it again and doing better.
I also want to make it in two classes. You are allowed to race two classes at the championship if you qualify in both. I only made it in one class this year, so next year I want to try and make it in two and finish in the top 15 in both.