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Tennessee National back for second year at Muddy Creek

June 27th, 2014 9:34 pm by Jeff Birchfield

Tennessee National back for second year at Muddy Creek

BLOUNTVILLE — The pairing of the top outdoor motocross series in the country with a legendary track was a no-brainer for the competitors. To come back for a second year made even more sense.

The AMA Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Series returns to Muddy Creek Raceway today for the second annual Tennessee National. For Eli Tomac, the runner-up in the 250 class a season ago, Muddy Creek was the perfect venue to bring an AMA national pro event back to Tennessee for the first time since 1977.

“It was a really good crowd last year, cool to see,” said Tomac, a Honda rider. “It’s good to come to a new area for our circuit. When there are that many people around, it’s good for the sport and it’s cool how they enjoy watching motocross.”

Justin Brayton, the rider of the No. 10 Yamaha for Joe Gibbs Racing, had never been to Muddy Creek before last year. He had heard the stories about the Blountville track, which more than lived up to his expectations.

“It’s super cool,” he said. “I’ve always heard about Muddy Creek growing up. Coming here now, I understand why I’ve heard about it. The facility is awesome and last year, how they jammed that many people in here, it was pretty cool.”

The racing was pretty cool as well.

It was a sweep for KTM Factory riders with Ryan Dungey winning the 450 class and Frenchman Marvin Musquin taking the 250 class. Musquin placed second in each of the two motos to capture the overall win.

While he comes into today’s race with the title of defending champion, it’s hard to call him a pre-race favorite since the Tennessee National will be his first race of the season after overcoming a knee injury. While he would love to win again, a top-three finish is the primary goal.

“I love to do well and to be on the podium,” Musquin said. “That’s the goal right now. I’ve been injured since the beginning of the season. I tore my ACL for a second time and had to have surgery. It’s been tough to come back, but now I’m doing better. I’ve been able to train a little more, so I guess I will see on Saturday.”

It is also the first race of the season for Tomac, who is recovering from a collarbone injury.

There are some notable riders absent including defending 450 national champion Ryan Villopoto, who won nine races last season.

With Villopoto out, the KTM duo of Ken Roczen and Dungey have ridden to the top two positions in the points. Roczen won the season-opening race in California, and has stayed up front since then.

“I won at Glen Helen and have just kept it going from there,” Roczen said. “I’ve been pretty consistent and want to keep it that way. It was my dream to ride up here, ride up front and that’s what I’m doing. It’s all about keeping it up.”

Roczen finished third in the 250 class at Muddy Creek a year ago. While the bigger bikes offer some challenges, the German rider has been quick to adapt to the changes.

“Obviously, the bikes are a lot heavier and much faster,” he said. “You have to be stronger. You have the veterans in this class who know what they’re doing. They’ve done this for many years. But, I adapt quick. It’s definitely not easy to ride against those other guys and they go super fast, but I’m trying my best out there.”

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