Loretta Lynn Ranch August 2nd, 2017 10:00 am
It’s Final’s Day for Ryan Valade in both classes a the AMA Amateur National Motocross Championships. The Senior 40+ division moto runs first. With two finishes in the top 10, today will determine the overall placement Ryan earns. While a championship trophy is likely out of reach. Another strong finish would solidify a position in the 10 best riders in the country, an awards ceremony recognition, and a plaque commemorating his accomplishment.
After experiencing engine failure at the end of Wednesday’s Vet second heat, Ryan took the bike to the Kawasaki repair center. The on-site techs worked on his 450cc engine replacing the head gasket, sanding down a warped head and cylinder top. In addition, the clutch and stator required replacement. The bike made it back to Ryan’s site late Wednesday evening.
With no time to test the bike, Ryan was on the starting line for the gate drop in the Senior 40+ final. Weather again was a factor to deal with. Rain off and on through the morning made for a slick track. On the start, Ryan lost traction just out of the gate and entered the first turn in 39th place.
Great Riding, Awesome Comeback
In what was undoubtedly his finest ride of the week, Ryan did not let the poor start deter him. Charging through the field he was 14th at the end of lap one. Up three more spots to 11th after lap two and into 10th after the third circuit of the track.
Mid-race saw a return of the rain showers. Admittedly, not Ryan’s best riding environment; “I am a fair-weather racer” he says. Still, posting consistent laps in the high 2:20’s Ryan held on for 11th place. His combined finishing positions put him ninth in the class.
Loretta Lynn Ranch August 2nd, 2017 3:00 pm
With a personal goal of a strong showing in his primary age class accomplished. The Vet +30 class final was Ryan’s last race at the Loretta Lynn Ranch. A tough day on Wednesday eliminated any possibility of a placement similar to the Senior 40+ results. Still, there was personal pride to race for.
Trouble with the bike had been the story since the blown head gasket. At the Kawasaki tent, the engine would not start after repairs were complete. The same symptom returned after Friday’s first moto. A quick trip back to the Kawasaki mechanics did not rectify the problem.
At the gate, Ryan’s bike would not start for the parade lap. He and his crew chief, brother Randy, worked feverishly to get the engine cranked. The rebuilt motor coughed to life just as the other riders were returning from their track inspection lap. Already at a disadvantage, Ryan prepped for the start.
Never Quit, Never Give Up
A good hole shot and solid first lap placed Ryan 14th heading into lap two. Unfortunately, a crash on the next lap allowed a number of riders to pass. If Ryan had stalled the bike during the crash, with the starting problem it would surely have ended his day. Remarkably Ryan had the presence of mind to engage the clutch and rev the motor to keep it running. From 36th position at the end of lap two, Ryan began his charge. By lap three he was in 32nd, lap four had him up to 30th, and after lap five he sat 25th. Into 24th on lap six, 21st after lap seven, and with a final push to the finish a 20th place showing for what probably should have been a DNF.
Congratulations to Ryan on a great week at the Nationals. We are looking forward to a return trip next year. The MX Sports staff was great to work with. Nothing but smiles and help from track workers with access to the track and questions posed during the week. Special thanks to the Media Department at MX Sports for their help in securing credentials to cover their event.