Washougal MX Park 'home' to many riders

Motocross athletes don't have to be from Clark County

By Paul Valencia, Columbian high school sports reporter

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WASHOUGAL — The home track.

Those three words can mean different things to different motocross riders.

For a 20-year-old from Estacada, Ore., the Washougal MX Park is the "home" course for him and his dreams of becoming a full-time motocross rider.

Or, for a guy from Idaho with a factory ride, Washougal is as close to home as it gets on the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship series.

Then there is Ryan Dungey from Bell Plaine, Minn. It might not seem like Washougal is close to home, but he certainly owns this place. Dungey got his first AMA victory in Washougal in 2008 as a 250 rider, and he has won every year since then, including the last three as a 450 rider.

This is just Austin Ullrich's second national of the season. The rider from Estacada cannot afford to ride the series full time. He said he is hoping for a top-20 finish and one day get a deal to travel the country for the entire outdoor series.

Ullrich started racing when he was 6 years old.

"This was the second track I ever rode on," Ullrich said. "Good people, good families, and a great track."

Jake Weimer of Rupert, Idaho, made the trip to Washougal a couple times a year when he was an amateur.

"The coolest thing about it is the scenery," said Weimer, a member of the Monster Energy Kawasaki team who rides in the prestigious 450 class. "That's the same reason it makes it a bit challenging. With all the trees, it makes it hard to see."

Riders going fast up and down hills and over and around obstacles, plus riding from sunshine to shade, is not easy.

Of course, Dungey has been making it look easy the past five years.

With his three overalls this season, Dungey now has won 34 times in his career. Win No. 1 was in Washougal, on July 27, 2008. He also notched victories No. 7, 14, 20, and 27 in Clark County.

If he wins here again Saturday, someone might want to sell him some property next to the Washougal River.