Rockford’s Danielle Thompson just made her dream come true. The 12-year-old dirt bike racer has qualified for the largest amateur motocross race in the world, the 30th Annual AMA Amateur National Motocross Championships at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch. Thompson took on over 20,000 hopefuls from across America to earn one of just 1,386 qualifying positions.
“The Amateur Nationals at Loretta Lynn’s is the event every motocross racer in the country wants to compete in,” said Event Director Tim Cotter. “A win at the Amateur Nationals gives a rider instant national notoriety and can serve as a springboard to a lucrative professional motocross career.”
Most of America’s top professional motocrossers, including James Stewart, Ricky Carmichael, Travis Pastrana and Jeremy McGrath, have won AMA Amateur National Championships at Loretta Lynn’s. The race is so prestigious that last year, teenage stars Dean Wilson of California and Eli Tomac of Colorado were awarded premier professional contracts for the 2010 season.
Thompson, who attends North Rockford Middle School, has been riding since she was four years old. With the help of sponsors such as MichiganMotoX, Ashlee Sokalski Braap Fund and The Jant Group, who help pay her way to the races, Thompson has had the opportunity to pursue her dreams. She has won numerous races in the last eight years and competes nearly every weekend at tracks all across Michigan. She is currently ranked first in the state in the Great Lakes Motocross series, Women’s Junior class.
Thompson is just one of the over 20,000 who spent the last four months qualifying for the event. The top finishers in area and regional qualifiers earn a birth into the national championship race at Loretta Lynn’s. Racers may enter a wide variety of classes, from minicycle classes for children as young as four, all the way up to a senior division for riders over 50. There are also classes for women and classes for both stock and modified bikes.
The track is built on a section of Loretta Lynn’s Ranch and Campground in Hurricane Mills, Tenn. The course contains a variety of jumps, corners and other obstacles designed to test the skills and stamina of the racers. Thompson will make the long journey to Tennessee along with her parents and friends, which runs August 1-6, 2011.
Most riders attend the event with the help of their families, friends and other local businesses who will sponsor the rider. If you would like to help sponsor Thompson, please e-mail her dad John at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.