Each year the famous RedBud National is hosted over the Fourth of July holiday weekend, and this season is no different as the Honda Red Riders head to Buchanan, MI, this Saturday for round seven of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship series.
This motocross facility is the centerpiece of the series with claimed largest attendance of any U.S. motocross race year after year. The track is home to the biggest jump on the tour, LaRocco’s Leap, named after local legend and current GEICO Honda team manager Mike LaRocco. The first National held here was in 1974 and since then Honda has claimed a total of 12 victories in the premiere (now 450) class, nine in the support (now 250) class, and five in the 500cc class. TwoTwo Motorsports’ Chad Reed was the last Honda rider to top the 450 podium in 2011, while Team Honda Muscle Milk’s Trey Canard was the last to win in the 250 class in 2010.
Last weekend a massive crowd watched the Honda Red Riders take on the demanding conditions of the Southwick National one final time as the facility ends its run as an AMA National Championship venue. In the 450 class, Team Honda Muscle Milk’s Justin Barcia nailed down his third podium appearance of the season with two solid rides that left him third overall for the day. WMX rider Sayaka Kaneshiro finished fourth overall in the final round of the Triple Crown series, giving her second overall in the final Championship standings. Muscle Milk-sponsored GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac logged 1-2 finishes to notch his second overall win of the season in the 250 class. Teammate Zach Osborne posted two solid results to round out the 250 podium in third.
“RedBud is so awesome and probably one of my favorites throughout the whole series,” said Barcia. “The dirt is so good, kind of like a brownie mix. It’s loamy, tacky and gets rough with super-deep ruts. It has big jumps too. One year I cased LaRocco’s Leap in practice and crashed really hard, so that wasn’t fun. Now I have that 450 power though so I am stoked I won’t have to worry about that. The fans at RedBud are nuts and definitely make for an exciting atmosphere. They are so passionate about the races—everyone just gets crazy.”
To add to the festive air at RedBud, this year Team Honda Muscle Milk will showcase its CRF450R race bikes and riders in patriotic-themed Red, White and Blue designs to celebrate the Fourth of July Holiday weekend. “What better way to celebrate our country’s birthday than with special graphics on our race bike?” said American Honda’s Manager of Motorcycle Sports, Gary Martini. “Red Bud has a rich tradition with motocross fans throughout the entire country. Like our original Red, White and Blue team jerseys we first wore 40 years ago, the design was inspired by the colors of our nation’s flag.”