AMA District 17 Off To Exciting Start


Kyle Russell

Joey Brewer of Ottawa washes out a berm on his Kawasaki KX125 while taking a high speed corner during practice at Fox Valley Off-Road on March 25, 2018. Brewer, a former top A class rider has been riding motocross since age ten.

The season has just opened for a special group of athletes who literally risk their necks and lives every weekend putting on a fantastic display of agility, strength, and precision for those willing to watch. There is no court, diamond, or ball in play. In fact, the surface that these athletes perform on is raw dirt, sand, and mud which they will use to become some of the fastest-and-highest-flying athletes in all sports. Gender, race, and religion plays no role here, because all that matters is who will be first to the checkered flag and glory. This is American Motorcyclist Association District 17 motocross. 

The American Motorcyclist Association, or AMA, is the national governing body behind all motocross events for both bikes and quads. District 17 contains the heart of Illinois all the way up to the Wisconsin border. Though the end game remains the same, to be atop the podium, there are many disciplines within the sport to be mastered. They range from the fast speeds, whoops, and sharp turns of the SX and MX tracks, to whizzing by trees at top speed by the enduro and hare scramble riders, and even specialty obstacle courses (trials), flat track, and hill climbs set up for the thrill seekers of the sport where big crashes are the name of the game.    

The best part of all of these disciplines is that they provide the audience with a viewer-friendly spectacle that is perfect for the whole family. It is a great day event with a low admission price tag ranging from zero to ten dollars for the day. You may be quite surprised to know that this area has a rich variety of highly renowned tracks.

 For of the Illinois Valley, the nearest tracks are the ones owned by the Ward Family and are known as Megatrax. This trio of tracks includes Fox Valley Off-Road, the ultimate rider’s playground with obstacles, hills, trail riding, and an Sx track and is located in Ottawa near Camp Tuckabatchee. You can also view their summer series, Megacross, at the Tri-County Fairgrounds in Mendota every other Saturday night through the end of September before they switch to their indoor arena located in Mendota.

Another local track that is worth a day trip is Sunset Ridge in Walnut. This track is home to a massive jump that is the biggest single jump in the Midwest and is named after the track’s owners, “Holy Pistole”. This unique track feature involves a 115-foot vertical jump to clear all three smaller step-ups to the top of the hill. It is an absolute thrill to watch the best of the best clear Holy Pistole in a single leap while novices take several jumps to clear the top of the mound. Other semi local tracks include Byron Motorsports Park, Joliet Motorsports Park, and Variety Riders. 

The season is still young and there are still plenty of races to catch this year. As previously mentioned, you can watch the Megatrax series every other Saturday night at the Mendota Fairgrounds, the nuclear series at Byron, Woods racing at Variety Riders, and several national events at Sunset Ridge such as the ATVMX National championship and the Loretta Lynn Youth Regional Championships.

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and watch an exciting weekend of mud shredding pursuit of the podium!

Kyle Russell
Motocross rider Justin Kelly demonstrates a technique called scrubbing, which involves riding his bike completely sideways midair to achieve the best possible aerodynamics. Kelly has been riding his whole life and now dedicates his time to training the youth of the sport.