Kurtz qualifies for motocross championships

ARISS – On July 28, Kiana Kurtz qualified for the 42nd annual Monster Energy AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship. 

The event was held from July 31 to Aug. 5 at the historic Loretta Lynn Ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee. 

It is the largest amateur motocross race in the world, according to officials, and amateur racers have been competing since February to qualify for the event.

“The Amateur National at Loretta Lynn’s is the best of the best motocrossers in America and around the world,” stated Tim Cotter, Director of MX Sports in a media release. 

“Just being [there] makes you an elite racer and a top athlete. A solid finish at Loretta’s would you give you instant national recognition and a possible professional career.”

Most of America’s top professional motocross racers, including James Stewart, Ricky Carmichael, Travis Pastrana and Ryan Dungey, have won AMA Amateur National titles at Loretta Lynn’s. 

Kurtz, 16, is a Grade 11 student at Centre Wellington District High School. The Ariss resident has been riding dirt bikes since she was four years old.

“My older brother got me into motocross at a young age,” Kurtz explained to the Advertiser via email during a break at the motocross championships in Tennessee. 

“He used to ride with his friends and I would always go to watch. One day I told my dad that I wanted a bike too and have stayed riding ever since.”

With the help of sponsors such as Zdeno Cycle, Brian Kurtz trucking, HMX MOTO CO., Alpinestar and Husqvarna Canada, who help pay her way to the races, Kurtz  had the opportunity to attend Loretta Lynn Ranch for the championships. 

“I’m feeling pretty pumped coming into Loretta’s,” Kurtz began. “It’s my first time so I’m just hoping to have fun and hopefully be able to end up top 10.” 

Kurtz added it is difficult to get a Canadian down to this type of race, so a top-10 finish would be quite an accomplishment. 

The motocross athlete told the Advertiser on Aug. 8 she had a rocky start as she was nervous being at such a big event. She said she finished 25th in her first race. 

“My second moto I got 10th and my third moto I got seventh. Overall, I got 12th out of 42 at the biggest amateur motocross event, and that is considered my ranking in the world,” she said.

She has won many races in the last 12 years and competes nearly every weekend at tracks all across Ontario and the U.S.

In order to qualify for Loretta’s, organizers split up different areas of the U.S. and participants need to go to an area qualifier and place top nine, according to Kurtz. 

Then participants go to a regional qualifier, which is all the top nine people coming together at one race, and then placing in the top six would be the next step. 

From there, Kurtz explained, that is how one qualifies for the national event.

“Many people end up going to all different areas and regionals just to be able to make it to the event,” she said. 

This week, Kurtz will be in Walton, Ontario to compete in the Canadian Amateur Motocross Nationals. 

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 machines. In total, there are 36 different classes of competition. 

Kurtz will compete in the highly competitive Girls nine to 16 and WMX (women’s only) classes.