Professional Motocross Returns to Colorado

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Article in the Chronicle News, Trinidad, CO 2005.

Submitted: June 18, 2008

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Submitted: June 18, 2008

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After an 18 year hiatus the AMA Nationals are returning to Colorado. Thunder Valley Motocross Park in Lakewood will host Round 7 July 23rd & 24th, 2005. The last National held in Colorado was June, 1987 at the Lakewood Sports Cycle Park. Rick Johnson, Ron Lechien and Jeff Ward rode the 250cc class with Rick Johnson capturing the overall win and his second consecutive 250cc National Motocross Championship. Micky Dymond took the overall and the Championship that day in the 125cc class.

Motocross has changed dramatically since the 1987 race. There are now 12 rounds instead of six. Four strokes have become the norm with 450cc and 250cc four strokes riding with the 250cc and 125cc two strokes respectively. There are now many pro women riders vying for points in their own classes. The gear is more high tech and the bikes sleeker and more aerodynamic. The most notable change in the sport is its popularity. Motocross has gone from a televised race once in a blue moon, to regular broadcasts on ESPN2. Motocross and supercross have also led to spin off sports like Freestyle Motocross, Endurocross and Supermoto. Travis Pastrana led moto fans into the realm of the X-Games as a crossover star in both motocross and freestyle.
Back in the days of David Bailey, Donnie Hansen and Jeff Ward; Trinidad had its own track owned and operated by the Paradisa family. When they still had races there, it was immaculately groomed with flags lining the entire track. Riders lined up at the starting gate surrounded by grass, engines revving and the smell of the gas/oil mix of the two stroke engine everywhere. As the board went sideways and the gate dropped, fans waiting at the bottom of the hill in the first turn heard the scream of the engines as the bikes crested the top of the hill. Every rider was looking for that holeshot to give them a chance at winning the moto. Racers from all over the state would come to Trinidad to ride the Paradisa track. With its rich, loamy dirt; riverbeds and abundant vegetation the track was heaven on earth to many riders.
Today, the silent track on Highway 350 is a testament to Trinidad’s motocross past. Though the track no longer hosts races, the Paradisa family is still active in motocross. Tony and Tammy Paradisa own Topar Trailer Sales and Topar Racing. Topar Racing, maker of off road motorcycle parts, is the co-owner of Thrust MX/Topar Racing, a team of up and coming pro and amateur racers hoping to make their mark in 2005.
When Round 7 comes to Colorado this year we will see the likes of Ricky Carmichael, Chad Reed, James “Bubba” Stewart and Colorado natives Andrew Short and Josh Hansen riding the 250cc class. To make the season more interesting this will be Bubba Stewart’s first year racing the 250cc class. He took the 125cc National Championship last year with one moto short of a perfect season. Motocross fans expect Stewart to give 5 time National Champion Ricky Carmichael a run for his money. Carmichael has two perfect seasons under his belt but many fans feel Stewart has the speed and skills to seriously compete with Carmichael as no one else has in the last two years.


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