NOVAK: MXoN is finally here and I’m excited

have spent a lot of the summer looking forward to one single event.

And finally, the Motocross of Nations at RedBud MX is here. The final countdown is under way to the biggest live sporting event ever to be held in southwest Michigan.

When I first heard about MXoN coming to Buchanan, I have to be honest, I had no idea the scope of this motocross event, but as I started to look into the race that could feature up to 40 nations from around the world competing in our own backyards, I started to get goosebumps.

I have covered some pretty large events in my more than 30 years with Leader Publications.

But I am not sure I will truly understand just how big MXoN is until I arrive on Friday for media events, and they show up early Saturday morning for the first of two days of motocross racing with the world’s best riders.

I have to admit, I was a little taken back when I heard that it had only been held in the United States three previous years.

I was even more shocked to find out it had never been held in the Midwest.

As I begin doing interviews for stories you will read throughout this week, I learned from Amy Ritchie that they were expecting to have an entire year to prepare for MXoN.

But what they found out back in February was that it was coming this year and they only had a few months to get the track ready for hundreds of riders and thousands of fans.

I would say if I had learned that fact about any other racing venue in the United States, I would have been skeptical about whether or not they could pull it off.

But I have no doubt that Tim and Amy Ritchie, along with their staff, will not only pull this off, but it will be one of the best races that MXoN has ever seen.

It makes total sense to me to hold this at RedBud. I am not sure why it has taken so long to bring it to one of the world’s best-known motocross tracks and the best racing fans in all the world.

In between all the local high school events, including homecoming football games at five of the six schools we cover, I am trying to learn as much as I can about MXoN so I look like I have some clue when I arrive there this weekend.

I can tell you that as the week goes along, I plan on having stories about Team Puerto Rico, which consists of Ryan Sipes, Kevin Windham and Travis Pastrana, who have banded together to help raise money and awareness for those still struggling after the hurricanes; a story on some of the differences between a MXoN race and the regular motocross races fans are used to seeing at RedBud; and a look at the changes Tim Ritchie made to RedBud so that it could host the race.

I also want to stress to area fans that the event is not sold out. Tickets will still be available at the gates on race day. So if you have not purchased one online, but still want to be a part of a once-in-a-lifetime event, you will be able to do so.

Scott Novak is sports editor for Leader Publications. He can be reached at scott.novak@leaderpub.com

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