Ricky Carmichael Schools the Next Generation of Michigan Mafia Motocross

RedBud MX, Buchanan, MI — July 15, 2021

Ricky Carmichael, the greatest MX racer of all time, loves the sport of motocross. The 7-time AMA 450 MX National Champion and 5-time AMA Supercross 450 SX National Champion can be heard giving television color commentary for NBC Sports during the Supercross season. His enthusiasm is infectious.

Carmichael is still intimately involved in motocross, he recently inked a deal with Triumph Motorcycles to help with design, testing, and promoting Triumph’s entry into the MX market. But his real passion is helping young riders learn and develop their moto riding skills to become “a faster and safer rider.”

The Ricky Carmichael University(RCU) made a stop at the RedBud MX complex, in Buchanan, MI, to hold one of their 2-day training camps just a few days after the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Nationals were held at “America’s Motocross Track” over the Independence Day weekend.

Ricky and the Michigan Mafia’s own 6-time AMA MX and SX Champion Jeff Stanton led the class. Along with guest instructors, the 2-time Loretta’s Champion, Tommy Watts, and Australian professional rider Daniel “Chucky” Sanders adding their coaching insights.

RCU at RedBud MX. / Photo Courtesy of Kathleen Henderson

Michigan Motocross Family

In a Lasco Press article earlier this year we told you about the popularity of motocross in Michigan, the American Motocross Association District 14, which encompasses our area of the state, and its tongue-in-cheek nickname the “Michigan Mafia.”

The sport has seen an explosion of interest over the past year, possibly due to the impact of the pandemic, as families looked for recreational opportunities to engage in. A motocross helmet is much more effective than a paper or cloth facemask.

Just as the “Godfather” Don Vito Corleone said in the famous mafia movie, “A man who doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man.” Family is the glue holding the growth of motocross together. Attend an event and you can easily see the larger community family in action.

The Motocross Family Community

The recreational vehicles are parked side-by-side, canopies extended where groups gather to share meals or work on bikes, tools are loaned, parts swapped, and any need is responded to with helping hands. Just as it used to be in small towns all across this great country.

For a weekend it does not matter what your political, religious, or economic standings are. A tent or van with a mattress in the back is just as welcome as the Class A motorhome. Catholics and Baptists both silently pray for the safety of riders. Democrats and Republicans cheer each other, laugh, shake hands, and help push out the truck that happened to get stuck in the mud.

Baseball might be America’s game, but motocross is America’s heartland activity. Mom, Dad, Sons, and Daughters can all ride a trail through beautiful landscapes. Then line up in starting gates and compete on the same track against friends in their individual skill and age classes.

Attending the RCU Camp

Our story touches on the RCU camp activities, the drills, and some of the instructions given. Everyone participating spoke highly of the CARDO communication technology that allowed Ricky and the coaches the ability to talk, in real-time, to the riders on the track. Those two subjects are both worthy of an entire article to describe their individual benefits to up-and-coming motocross riders.

We promise to follow up on both subjects. Here we want to focus, again, on the family experience while highlighting some future amateur and possibly professional stars of the sport right here in our own backyard.

The camp was two days of intensive training featuring approximately 10 hours of track time, individual question and answer sessions, and group technique practices. Everyone left tired, pumped up, and excited to put into action the things they learned.

Three of the young men that participated in the RedBud event are from right here in the Fenton area. Their thoughts and family impressions really tell the story of the camp.

Parker (MotoX) Beckington

Parker one-on-one with Ricky Carmichael. Photo Credit / https://www.facebook.com/parkermotox/

Parker Beckington has under a year of riding experience on motocross electric and 50cc bikes. He would have a bit more but, an on-track accident resulted in a spiral fracture to his arm and he sat out for approximately 5 months while healing. Injuries do happen in the sport, no hiding that.

Mom, Susan, was not happy about seeing her son in an arm cast. But soon realized how important being on the bike was to her son and how much he missed participating while recovering. Now, Susan is his biggest fan and cheerleader.

Dad, Jason, raced when he was younger and understands the attraction of the sport. He describes Parker as a natural athlete, extremely competitive, and fun-loving. The family travels a lot to allow Parker to pursue his passion. Jason is the general manager at Advanced Industries a family-owned CNC machine shop in Chelsea.

Sister Hailey(8) tags along and likes to ride for fun, her competitive spirit is not as intense as Parkers. She can be found walking dogs for families at the track, sounds like a budding entrepreneur.

Parker has qualified to go to the Monster Energy AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch in early August. he will be competing in the 4-6 50cc age group. The RCU was a primer for that event and Parker is following in a family tradition as Jason qualified to race at Loretta’s back in the ’90s.

Parker Beckington at RedBud MX RCU Camp. Photo Credit / https://www.ferrickfoto.com/

Jason’s comments on the camp centered on “how humble the coaches were and the professional manner in which they interacted with the kids.” He appreciated the focus on safety and the Cardo communication system allowing the kids instant feedback while on the track.

Parker loved the way the coaches challenged him to improve on his riding techniques.

Elliott Kavanaugh (321)

Elliott Kavanaugh at RedBud MX RCU. Photo Credit / https://www.ferrickfoto.com/

Elliott Kavanaugh is widely traveled for an 11-year-old. Thanks to his involvement in motocross. His mom, Louise, and dad, Andrew, thought that riding motocross was an activity that would afford the family opportunities to get out and enjoy Michigan with some good fun. Elliott just keeps taking his riding to new levels.

In 2019 the family, including Elliott’s sister Ellenor, traveled to Las Vegas to compete in the AMA Supercross Futures Finals at Sam Boyd Stadium. AMA Supercross Futures feature the sport’s most talented up-and-coming athletes and are held at Supercross venues across the country.

The Kavanaugh Family at RedBud

Andrew, Elliott’s dad, said when he bought the first motorcycle it sat for a while before Elliott decided to give it a try. Once in the seat, they could not get him off. As a firefighter, Andrew understands the importance of training. His camp impressions included Ricky’s willingness to give back to the sport helping these young kids become better riders.

One of Carmichael’s quotes was, “A field and competition are all you need to practice.”

Elliott is easy to spot on the track, his breastplate featuring an artistic skull illustration stands out when he is aboard the bike. According to Elliott, “I love riding, making new friends, and someday I would like to go pro.” He’s off to a good start.

Photo Credit / Kathleen Henderson

Maxx (Speed) Lasco

  • Age: 10
  • Rides: Yamaha YZ85
  • Sponsors: Lasco Ford, MMCR, Lasco Auto Parts, CrossFit Fenton
  • Family: Matt(Dad), Jamie(Mom), Kathleen Henderson(Grandmother)
  • Residence: Fenton, MI

Maxx Lasco is all about having fun. Asked what he enjoys the most about motocross? Maxx Speed says, “Camping with my dad, riding with my dad, and being on the bike is so cool.” When not on a motocross bike, Maxx enjoys fishing with “Grams” Kat.

Matt Lasco is Vice President of the Lasco Auto Group and a motocross veteran having competed in multiple District 14 events and he is also a Loretta Lynn veteran. Lasco Ford is a frequent sponsor of the State Championships and other local motocross events.

Mom, Jamie Lasco, owns CrossFit Fenton where a number of motocross riders work on their physical conditioning to improve their on-track performance. Grandmother Kat makes sure Maxx has fun.

Maxx Speed at RCU / Photo courtesy of Kathleen Henderson

Matt was impressed with the effort the coaches demanded from the youngsters. “Five to six hours on the track per day taught the kids the amount of dedication that is needed to ride competitively at any level. I have a few nights of work to put Maxx’s bike back in good riding condition after the workout it received.”

Even Grams Kat was impressed, she pulled a couple of Ricky’s knowledge nuggets out of the sessions. “It’s not always the fastest rider that wins, more often it’s the smartest.” “Keep changing things up all the time when circling the track, keep the guys following you out of their comfort zone and you will be harder to pass.”

Photo Courtesy of https://www.ferrickfoto.com/

Maxx was geeked about training with Ricky, during one of the Q&A sessions he asked Carmichael how to improve on jumps, something Maxx admits he needs more work on. Ricky responded with the wisdom of a parent and a competitive rider. “Jump the way you feel comfortable, just be patient and that skill will continue to develop.

A highlight of the camp for Maxx summed up how a number of the kids felt. “It was really cool to go through a corner and have Ricky Carmichael say ‘Good Job’ in your ear.” Maxx went on to say, I’m going to really work on my riding and go for Loretta’s.” There will be a lot more “Good Job” accolades in this kid’s future.

Photo Courtesy of Kathleen Henderson

RCU A Success

Wrapping up the camp, everyone rated it a huge success. Meeting Ricky was awesome. However, kids turned into fans of Jeff, Tommy, and Chucky also, as they realized these guys know what they’re talking about.

  • “Professionally done”
  • “Excellent presentations”
  • “Exceptional interaction with the kids”
  • “Coaches really are passionate about the sport”

Were just a few of the comments from parents.

Some advice that was overheard from coaches.

  • “Ride out of your comfort zone, it’s the only way you get better.”
  • “Never be afraid to ride against competition that is better than you, every opportunity to do that is a learning experience.”
  • “Get as much experience on multiple tracks as you can, you might win less often, but you will improve your skills more than mastering a specific circuit.”

Would your child benefit from attending another of Ricky’s Camps? Absolutely!

For more information on Ricky Carmichael University, check out Ricky’s website.