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Levi Kitchen seeks perfect weekend of racing at Washougal National motocross event

Saturday's race will be Washougal native's first on home course as a pro rider

By , Columbian Assistant Sports Editor
Published:
13 Photos
Levi Kitchen, from Washougal, does a practice run on Friday, July 21, 2023, in preparation of Saturday’s Washougal National Pro Motocross event at Washougal MX Park. Kitchen will race at Washougal for the first time since 2019 and for the first time as pro motocross rider in Saturday’s 250 Class event.
Levi Kitchen, from Washougal, does a practice run on Friday, July 21, 2023, in preparation of Saturday’s Washougal National Pro Motocross event at Washougal MX Park. Kitchen will race at Washougal for the first time since 2019 and for the first time as pro motocross rider in Saturday’s 250 Class event. (Tim Martinez/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

WASHOUGAL — When he was a kid growing up in Washougal, Levi Kitchen could take a back path through the woods from his home directly to Washougal MX Park.

On Saturday, he would like to be more front and center for his first running as a pro at Washougal National pro motocross event.

“Just get out of the gate good and win; that’s a perfect weekend,” Kitchen said Friday.

Kitchen makes his home in Florida these days, so he doesn’t get the opportunity to get home much.

When he arrived at the track Thursday, he was greeted by banners welcoming him home in downtown Washougal.

“I did see those coming in,” he said. “That was pretty cool.”

Kitchen is in his second season as a pro motocross rider in the 250 Class. He was the class rookie of the year last year, despite having his season cut short by a broken wrist suffered a week before last year’s Washougal National.

Saturday, he finally gets to make his return to Washougal MX Park as a pro.

“I’m excited about it, he said. “Obviously, it comes with some pressure and expectation, but I’m fine with that. For me, it’s just nice to see some familiar faces, see some friends. You know, I don’t get come home much. So it’s nice to be home. It feels good.”

A lot has changed since the last time Kitchen raced as an amateur at Washougal MX Park. For one, the back path from his parents’ house to the track has been blocked off, not that he was planning on using that path this weekend.

Also, the track itself at Washougal is different.

“The track is going to develop a lot different than a normal Saturday (at Washougal),” Kitchen said “You’ve got pros racing on it, whereas growing up here the level of competition wasn’t as big. The track is going to shape up a little different. They obviously put a lot of effort (to improve the track.  Track manager Ryan) Huffman and those guys, you know they do a good job. So, yeah, it won’t be the same track that I grew up racing on.”

Racing for Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing, Kitchen ranked third in the AMA Supercross series 250 Class. Those races are held early in the year, largely on stadium courses.

Kitchen sits in sixth place in the Pro Motocross series, which are run on outdoor courses, like Washougal, during the summer months.

“The year has been going pretty good,” Kitchen said. “It’s been up and down. Supercross went pretty well. And then going to outdoors, I started off pretty slow, but I’ve got on the podium a couple of times. I definitely haven’t met my expectations, but I still have four races to go, and I’m going to do my best to meet those expectations.”

“Looking forward to this race with the home crowd. It should be a good time.”

Regardless of how the racing goes Saturday, Kitchen is glad to be home again. He even gets to sleep in his old bed this weekend.

“I finish off the weekend golfing (on Sunday),” he said. “We get a couple-week break after this race, so I’m going to take a couple of days to hang out and rest, and then get back to the work.”

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