The dirt on Washougal MX National

What you need to know about this year's event

By Paul Valencia, Columbian high school sports reporter

Published:

 

A ton of new dirt.

That's how Brian Barnes described the surface of the Washougal Motocross Park as it prepares to host the Washougal MX National on Saturday.

A ton of new dirt. That is about the most beautiful thing a motocross fan will ever see.

"It looks the best that it ever has," said Barnes, a spokesman for the track who has been with the track for more than three decades.

There is a new camping area for those fans who stick around for days at a time. There is a temporary cell tower for better reception.

And there are improvements to the pit area for easier access for the big trucks.

The park is ready to host the national.

Saturday will mark the 32nd Washougal MX National, the eighth round of the 2012 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship.

Ryan Dungey, who has won four consecutive events in Washougal -- 2008 and 2009 in the 250cc class and the last two years as a 450cc rider -- is dominating the field this season. He will ride into Washougal on a 10-moto win streak this summer and a huge lead in the 450 series.

State favorite Ryan Villopoto will not be racing this week, recovering from a knee injury he sustained in the Supercross season. He is expected to be in Washougal, though, supporting his teammates and the sport. Villopoto, from Poulsbo, was at the peak of his powers before suffering the injury. In 2011, he won the Supercross and Motocross championships, then clinched the 2012 Supercross title.

Blake Baggett, who won the 250 title at Washougal a year ago, is in first place in the 250 points standings.

The Women's Motocross Championship will return to Washougal this week. Jessica Patterson is the points leader this season. Northwest fans will recall Patterson won in Washougal in 2009, the last time the series was in the Northwest.

Close to 1,000 amateur racers will compete Thursday and Friday as part of the event.

Saturday's racing annually attracts more than 20,000 spectators to the facility located about seven miles north of Washougal. This year, many of those fans will have to take a detour.

Construction crews closed a section of Washougal River Road in a project to replace the Cougar Creek Bridge. The county has posted detours that will eventually lead spectators back to Washougal River Road past the closure.

Barnes said he does not think it is going to be a problem.

"It's five minutes later going the alternate route," he said.

He said it will be helpful if fans will follow all the signage through Washougal, detailing the detour.

Ticket packages vary depending on how long of a stay at the campground or for those who just want to attend Saturday's racing.

Barnes said tickets are cheaper if purchased online rather than at the track.

Go to washougalmxpk.com and click on the link for 2012 Lucas Oil MX National Tickets.