Stoppin In: Davey Coombs
Talkin Loretta Lynn's
Stoppin In: Davey Coombs
Story and photos by Shan Moore
This year’s running of Loretta Lynn’s just wrapped up last week, and without a doubt, the backbone of the Loretta Lynn Amateur National Motocross Championships is the Coombs family, which has organized the event for the past 31 years after it was conceived by the family patriarch, Dave Coombs Sr. Motocross.com spoke with Davey Coombs Jr. during this year’s event to get his take on the event and how it has progressed.
You have to be proud of how this event has grown over the years.
Yes, my dad and a friend of his named Paul Shlegel had an idea to improve on the amateur national format and it was such a good idea that we are still working directly off of that idea. It’s our mission to make this event better every time and I really think we are 31-0. Every year I find myself asking myself how we can make this event better. The industry counts on us, and the riders and their families count on us to make this stage the best it can be every time we are here.
This event has been responsible for launching so many pro careers. Talk about the importance of this event to professional motocross.
I believe that Loretta Lynn’s is also a combine. This is a very dynamic racetrack, with elements of supercross, elements of old-school motocross, sand sections, whoops, and long motos. It’s really easy to look at a kid here and know what you’re getting. And with the money that these teams are putting into these athletes, I think that we have a responsibility to make the stage as relevant to professional motocross as we can. I think it really serves as the ultimate talent show for motocross in America.
So you look at this as kind of a farm system?
Yes, and I think you can look at GEICO Honda as a good example. They have a farm system that works. They started with Trey Canard, signing him while he was still an amateur, then they went to Justin Barcia, Blake Wharton, Eli Tomac, and Justin Bogle. And now they have Zach Bell. They know what they are doing. And since they started doing that, it forced other teams to start doing it.
What does it tell you what someone like Ricky Carmichael comes back to race this year after he has retired?
To think that the “Greatest Of All Time” came back to race as an amateur speaks volumes about this event. There is a long list of Hall of Fame riders who have graduated from this event and then came back to race, like Tony DiStefano, Mark Barnett, Jeff Emig. This event would never work at High Point Raceway; it would never work at Lake Elsinore Motocross Park, because it is the Loretta Lynn’s Ranch itself that is the true platform for this; and these pros come back because they spent 10 years of their lives here growing up. Loretta Lynn’s is almost as much a big festival as it is a motocross race. And it is definitely the world’s greatest motocross summer vacation.
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