Moto Media

Interview with Davey Coombs

This is Part 2 of two Interviews on Junior Motocross Championships in the two largest continents in the sport: USA and Europe.

Part 1, with Michele Rinaldi was posted here on Moto-Media on 18 August -

Both Interviews offer insight on two differing Junior Motocross Championship systems in place in Europe and USA with the FIM European Motocross Championships taking place at selected MXGP Rounds and AMA’s annual Junior Motocross Nationals at Loretta Lynn’s.

The changes FIM and MX Sports Pro Racing have put in place over recent years have generated greater promotion of the sport to mainstream public through Media channels: online publications, live viewing, and TV Network coverage along with print and video content.

These developments have provided Amateur and Professional Riders, Brands, Teams, Manufacturers and Sponsors the opportunity to market themselves to a wider audience beneficial to their respective career in MX and the sport in general.

The following Interview with Davey Coombs provides truck-loads of knowledge gained from working most of his life in the sport, all of which helps the future development of Junior Motocross Championships in NZ.

Part Two: Davey Coombs

Known as the most influential man in USA Motocross, Davey Coombs has undoubtedly transformed America’s Amateur and Professional MX Racing to the high profile level it is today.

Following the footsteps of his late father Dave Coombs, DC and family have revolutionised the running of America’s Outdoor MX Championships: building Loretta Lynn’s into the biggest Amateur MX National in the world and developing MX Sports Pro Championships into the most successful Series for rider, industry and spectator.

With a constant eye on the development of grassroots Amateur racing, I asked Davey for his thoughts on America’s Junior Motocross Nationals along with the turning point from Amateur to Pro racing.

Sharon Cox: Having just witnessed America’s top Amateur riders competing at 2014 Loretta Lynn’s Motocross Nationals what are your thoughts on the rise of Amateur MX talent to Pro level in the next few years to come?

I am impressed by every group of kids who comes up through the ranks at Loretta Lynn’s each summer. Sometimes they are exceptional talents, like Adam Cianciarulo or an Eli Tomac, and other years there can be several promising kids who will emerge at the same time.

Jeremy Martin just claimed the 2014 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship, and he was trying to qualify for Loretta Lynn’s just a couple of years ago.

Three years ago (at Loretta Lynn’s) it was 2014 AMA 250 SX Champion Justin Bogle and Jason Anderson. The process at Loretta Lynn’s is helpful in that kids not only learn how to race and compete against one another, they also learn how to conduct themselves off the track, whether it’s up on the podium or out in the pit area with their friends and fellow racers.

There are so many industry people there that Loretta Lynn’s is as much a convention and festival as it is a Motocross race.

In its 33rd year Loretta Lynn’s has become symbolic as THE National Championship event on the calendar for Junior riders to gain possible entry to Pro/Factory/Team rides. With history aside, do you think the event marks a turning point from Amateur to Pro level?

Loretta Lynn’s is the biggest and most important event for kids on their way up to the Pro ranks because it’s the one time they will meet all of the other top kids in the country on a neutral track- there are no other races at Loretta Lynn Ranch, no one can rent the track for testing, no one can ride on it except for the week of the race.

Equally, the level playing field and deep talent pool of riders, plus the fact that there are so many variables at the race- one day could be scorching hot, the next day a mudder and the last one as rough as Daytona SX.

It gives the Factory Team Managers and potential sponsors a comprehensive look at all of the talent together.

We try very hard to give every rider and their family a Championship-level experience, and we hope that they will use the opportunity to have a great, fun week of racing. There are other big Amateur events around the country, and they matter too, but Loretta Lynn’s is the pinnacle.

Racing at Loretta’s just gets you to the ranks, if it all goes well. Then it’s up to the athlete to continue to work hard and mature into a quality professional athlete.

This year three kids went from the Ranch directly to the Unadilla National, with Factory-level support and all three finished in the top twenty: Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Chris Alldredge (8th), GEICO Honda’s R.J. Hampshire (13th) and Rock River Yamaha’s Luke Renzland (17th). And there would have been four with Star Racing Yamaha’s Aaron Plessinger but he broke his toe at the Ranch.

Everyone gets an even playing field, everyone gets a Championship experience - that is the basis of the world’s biggest Amateur Motocross Race.

My thanks to Davey Coombs for his time.

Sharon Cox (