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BUCHANAN, Mich. – Each year, the RedBud National draws the eyes of motocross fans throughout the country.
And though it’s one of the crown races of the Lucas Oil Championship series, there are some riders a little more familiar than others.
“I’ve definitely rode it quite a bit. I’d say I’m up there with the most of people who’ve rode the track,” said Niles native Austin Wagner, who is taking part in this weekend’s action. “I’m hoping for a Top-15. That would be my all-time dream right there, especially at my home town track in front of my family and friends.”
And he’s not alone.
Several riders call RedBud home, and from years watching these races as kids, they know what makes it special.
“The track is amazing but it’s the big crowd,” said DJ Christie from Flat Rock. “This is the biggest crowd you’ll see at any pro national, so everyone wants to come here.”
Bad Axe, Michigan’s Eric Montreuil added, “It’s an honor for us to know that our track is the biggest attended and the biggest event of the year. It makes you feel special for people here in Michigan.”
With the attention RedBud gets every summer, several groups have the task of making sure the event lives up to the hype.
Over the past 45 years, collaboration between the RedBud property owners and the series staff has formed a strong bond.
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“The good people seem to always do it right,” said John Ayers, the director of operations for MX Sports. “[RedBud does] a fantastic job. They are well-prepared, they have the right staff. It takes the stress away and it’s not really a big deal. We can do what we do and send everyone home happy.”
And to make that happen, the folks at RedBud begin preparations well before the week of the races.
“When they come here, we pride ourselves on having everything ready for them and make their job easier too,” said event coordinator Amy Ritchie. “All of those things that make the event what it is don’t happen in a day. It doesn’t happen overnight. Everything’s sort of being put together today, so hopefully when everyone pulls in it’s all together and looks like it’s supposed to.”