Husqvarna hoping to retun to podium at RedBud

Published 8:23 am Friday, July 3, 2015

Ken Roczen, of Germany, is currently second in the 450cc championship standings and will be one of the riders to beat at the 41st annual RedBud National Satruday in Buchanan. (Leader photo/AMELIO RODRIGUEZ)

Ken Roczen, of Germany, is currently second in the 450cc championship standings and will be one of the riders to beat at the 41st annual RedBud National Satruday in Buchanan. (Leader photo/AMELIO RODRIGUEZ)

The centerpiece of the Lucas Oil Motorcross Championship will also be the beginning of the second half of the season for the top motocross riders.

The 41st annual RedBud Nationals in Buchanan is the seventh round of the season and falls on the Fourth of July for only the sixth time.

Riders in the 250cc and 450cc classes will put it all on the line in front of thousands of screaming fans Saturday and a world-wide audience on NBC and MAVTV.

Opening ceremonies are scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Saturday with the first moto in the 250cc class set for 1 p.m. Those races can be seen on MAVTV, while 450cc motos will begin at 4 p.m. nationally on NBC.

A tape-delay broadcast of the second 250 moto will be carried on NBC Sports Network at 11 p.m.

Ryan Dungey, of Belle Plaine, Minnesota, leads the 450 class championship standings heading to Buchanan Saturday.

Ken Roczen, of Germany, is second and Justin Barcia, of Monroe, New York, third.

Barcia is coming of a victory last weekend at Budds Creek MX Park in Mechanicsville, Maryland.

Marvin Musquin leads the 250 class. Musquin, from France, was the winner last week in Maryland and leads Jeremy Martin of Millville, Minnesota by a mere 10 points.

Adam Cianciarulo, of Port Orange, Florida, is a distance third.

The return of Husqvarna to RedBud has drawn the attention of everyone.

The last time a rider took Husqvarna to the victory podium in Buchanan was 1977.

Zach Obsorne, who rides for Rockstar Energy Husqvarna, is hoping to change that on Saturday.

“It is great to be part of the revitalization of the Husqvarna brand,” Osborne said during Thursday’s media day. “We have had some good results recently and we want to build some good momentum here for the last have of the season. We are hoping to make a run up through the championship standings a bit.”

And what would it mean to put Husqvarna on the podium at RedBud?

“It would be huge,” Osborne said. “We are sort of making history each week we are able to get on the podium. But here at RedBud, this is one of the marquee events for the entire series. It would be awesome to get up on the podium or to get a win.”

Amy Ritchie, who along with her brother Tim, have taken over ownership of RedBud from her father Gene, continues to be amazed as the turnout each year.

She credits Tim Ritchie for keeping the track fresh and new for the riders.

“He is the architect of the track,” she said. “He tries to mix up the soil mixture. Guys that raced here in the 70s and 80s would tell you it was a hard-packed clay track. Year-after-year he freshens it up. He keeps the right moisture so that it doesn’t get too soft or too dusty and hard. He changes up the layout a little bit every year.”

And the fans?

“I am amazed,” Amy Ritchie said. “We here from a lot of them. They tell us they haven’t missed one in in 26 years except for the year my daughter got married. I think part of that is those old racers. We have been so long a lot of them raced in the 70s and races in the 80s. There are a lot of people who are in the 40s, 50s and 60s who still enjoy coming here.”

Amy Ritchie is also thrilled with the forecast of near perfect temperatures for the weekend, which should mean another huge crowd Saturday.

“I wouldn’t watch the forecast for about a week,” she said. “It rained every day. It is so pretty and green, but we couldn’t keep up with the mowing. I was just dreading a mud race. Last weekend’s race in Maryland was a torrential downpour. I was just sick for them. So I was terrified. This is a blessing.”

There will be racing all weekend at RedBud beginning today with amateur day and night races.

Local racers entered so far in today’s races are Samuel Fish of Edwardsburg, Randy C. Frye of Buchanan, Logan Swigart of Eau Claire, Brett Wagner of Niles and Mikayla Inman of Niles.

The Lucas Oil series will take over RedBud for much of Saturday with amateur races scheduled for the evening.

There will also be amateur racing on the full pro course Sunday.

Tickets are available at RedBud or at