Motocross: Spring Creek MX Park celebrating 35 years of hosting pro nationals
MILLVILLE — If only the track at Spring Creek MX Park could talk.
For more than three decades it has been tougher on the world’s best motocross riders than they have been on it.
Saturday’s AMA Pro National series races at Spring Creek will mark the 35th consecutive season the top riders from across the country and the world will converge on the track just outside of Millville.
And, oh, the things the track has seen in those 35 years, which started with overall wins by Ron Lechien (250cc), Bob Hannah (450cc) and Danny Chandler (500cc) in 1983.
It saw legendary rider Donny Schmit, a Burnsville native, have so much success on it that part of the track has been named in his honor — the now-famous “Holy Schmit” jump. Schmit won a Supercross championship, and was most widely recognized for his two world titles, the 125cc world title in 1990 and the 250 world title in 1992.
He also won two pro nationals at Spring Creek, in 1987 and 1988.
And not that the track needs any affirmation, but even the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time), Ricky Carmichael, has the utmost respect and admiration for it. Carmichael won every race he entered at Spring Creek — all 16 motos and eight overalls.
Carmichael felt so strongly for Spring Creek that he came out of retirement so he could end his career at the track in 2007, winning both 450 motos and the overall to go out in style.
“The fans here are great,” Carmichael said that day, Aug. 11, 2007. “I love them, I love this part of the country. The fans have always been great to me here. They’re some of the best fans around.”
The track has seen many of the stars of the sport grow up on it.
Belle Plaine native Ryan Dungey, a three-time series champion and four-time supercross champion, grew up racing at Spring Creek. He went on to win the pro nationals there on six occasions, including four times in the 450 class.
And, of course, two of the top three riders in the 250cc point standings this season, brothers Alex and Jeremy Martin, literally grew up at the facility owned by their parents, Greta and John.
Many of the sport’s biggest names have won at Spring Creek, referred to simply as “Millville” by riders and fans outside of this area. Carmichael and Dungey. Grant Langston and Travis Pastrana. And two times in the past three years, Jeremy Martin, who won the 250 national championship in 2014 and 2015. Martin was emotional after winning at his home track for the first time, in 2014.
“There was a lot of hype this week, but I felt so comfortable,” he said after winning. “I felt good. I got out to a good start, and at the end I just wanted to ride a solid race and finish it out.”
Who’s riding and who isn’t at today’s Spring Creek AMA pro nationals:
• Blake Baggett: The second-place rider in the 450 standings will race. He suffered torn ligaments in his thumb in a crash at Buchanan, Mich., on July 1, but is still chasing points leader Eli Tomac for the 450 title.
• Jason Anderson: He crashed during the week leading up the July 8 races at Southwick, Mass., and injured his back, but RacerXonline.com reports that they expect him to race today.
• Ken Roczen: He’s out. Last year’s 450 overall winner at Spring Creek hasn’t raced in the motocross season. He crashed during a supercross race in Anaheim in January and suffered forearm, elbow and wrist injuries. He posted a picture on Instagram on Thursday of himself preparing to practice, but he isn’t ready yet to race competitively.
• Trey Canard: The 250 overall winner at Spring Creek in 2010 won’t race this weekend after crashing during a practice leading up to the July 8 races at Southwick, Mass.
• Austin Forkner: The rider in eighth place in the 250 standings isn’t expected to race today. He suffered a concussion this week while training.
• Aaron Plessinger: The sixth-place rider in the 250 class will race at Spring Creek. Plessinger crashed at Southwick, Mass., on July 8 and suffered a sore neck and a concussion, but he’s in today.