Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Local Racer Lukas Strickler is Loretta Lynn Bound

Local Racer Competes for National Spotlight in Monster Energy AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship 

Stewartstown, PA (July 19, 2021)Stewartstown’s Lukas Strickler just made his dream come true. The 6-year-old dirt bike racer has qualified for the largest amateur motocross race in the world, the 40th Annual Monster Energy AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship, to be held August 2 – August 7 at the historic Loretta Lynn Ranch. This year’s AMA Amateur National


“The Amateur National at Loretta Lynn’s is the best of the best motocrossers in America and around the world,” said Tim Cotter, Director of MX Sports. “Just being here 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. 

Strickler, who attends Fawn Area Elementary in the second grade, has been riding a balance bike since the time he could walk. He received his first dirt bike at the age of 3 and started racing when he turned 4 years old. Strickler looks up to his old brother, Kyle, who also races in motocross.


With the help of sponsors such as Central PA Technologies, Motor Technology Inc., Keller Williams Realty, 3 Seventeen Moto, Fred’s Garage, Mane Street Station, FXR, Leatt, ODI, Limited Decal, Egg Man, Wolfe Mottola & Sons Construction, and Kynect who help pay his way to the races, Strickler has had the opportunity to pursue his dreams. He has won 6 races in the last year and competes nearly every weekend with the MDRA and Doublin Gap race series.

Strickler will make the long journey to Hurricane Mills, Tennessee along with his father (Jacob), mother (Jennifer), and older brother (Kyle). The race runs August 2 - 7. Strickler and his family will be camping onsite for the week-long event and will participate in many non-racing evening activities.

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. Strickler will compete in the highly competitive 51 (4-6) Jr. Limited class.

 The race action will be broadcast live daily at, August 2 – August 7, for a total of 40 hours of live coverage. In addition, highlight shows featuring the event will air on MAVTV in the fall.

For more information on the Monster Energy AMA Amateur National, visit the official series website at or call (304) 284-0101. Join the conversation on the event’s social media channels, along with receiving the most up-to-date news and exclusive content.

About the Monster Energy AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship

The Monster Energy AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship is the world's largest and most prestigious amateur motocross racing program. The national qualifying program will consist of 51 Area Qualifiers (February through May) and 18 Regional Championships (May through June), hosted at select motocross facilities across the country. The qualifying system culminates in the National Final (first week in August) hosted annually since 1982 at the home of country music star Loretta Lynn in Hurricane Mills, Tenn. Christened "The World's Greatest Motocross Vacation", the National event serves as a launch pad for some of the biggest names in professional motocross and supercross, including Ricky Carmichael, James Stewart, Ryan Villopoto, and Ryan Dungey. The national program is produced by MX Sports, Inc., a West Virginia-based race production company and is sanctioned by the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA). For more information, visit

About the American Motorcyclist Association

Founded in 1924, the AMA is a not-for-profit member-based association whose mission is to promote the motorcycle lifestyle and protect the future of motorcycling. As the world's largest motorcycling rights and event sanctioning organization, the AMA advocates for riders' interests at all levels of government and sanctions thousands of competition and recreational events every year. The AMA also provides money-saving discounts on products and services for its members. Through the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in Pickerington, Ohio, the AMA honors the heroes and heritage of motorcycling. For more information, visit

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Sunday, July 18, 2021

AHRMA National Cross Country: Reynlow Park, June 12 & 13, 2021

 AHRMA National Cross Country: 

Reynlow Park, June 12 & 13, 2021

Author: Joshua Schucker

Photos: Becky Schreckengost

Once again, the town of Reynoldsville, PA warmly welcomed the AHRMA gang to enjoy its Reynlow Park for a fantastic weekend of racing. While the park contains the typical amenities that you would expect in a community park, such as pavilions, picnic areas, and playgrounds, the large area in the northern part of the park is what makes it unique. This area is reserved almost exclusively for hiking, hunting, and use by off-road motorcycles and ATVs. As has been the case in the past, the yearly vintage events at Reynlow Park are a tremendous fund raiser for the park’s operating and upkeep expenses. It is wonderful to see a community embrace the cultural and economic benefit that comes from catering to off-road enthusiasts. In fact, the Reynlow Park Board of Directors has recently formalized the area as a membership-based off-road riding area known as “Reynlow Riders” to further embrace the off-road community and provide additional resources to maintain and improve the experience in Reynlow.

After many years as a regional event, 2021 marks the second consecutive year that Reynlow has stepped up to hosting a Hagerty National Cross-Country Series event. Key to the event’s continued success on the regional and national level is the cooperation and dedication of Reynlow board member Tim Doan, who has consistently been the point man in facilitating the event and is always looking to provide the best experience for the series. After working in a trials course at last year’s event, Tim was hard at work in the months prior to this year’s event to build a motocross track that allowed the inclusion of National Motocross in the 2021 event schedule. Built adjacent to the ample parking/camping area, the motocross track was a winding one-mile beauty planted with fresh grass and incorporating natural terrain with only minor manipulation to jump faces to increase the safety and vintage-friendly nature of the course. There was a tremendous amount of cross-over participation between the cross-country and motocross races, and there was quite a positive buzz vibrating throughout the pits on the MX portion of the event.

Craig Lowery and Joe Cole above helped lay out this years course.

But, Tim and trial-bosses Mike Zdybak and Randy Marshall were not about to let the motocross track outshine the cross-country trail, after all, this location has a reputation of top-notch terrain and layout. With additional support from Craig and Anthony Lowery, Connie Zdybak, Joe Cole, and Becky Schreckenost, the pair of trail bosses set a plan of action that would create two wholly separate and unique courses for each day. Being a site of a former coal mining operation, the level of terrain variety and elevation change present on this site is breath-taking. Mike and Randy took full advantage of the ample acreage to push the courses into new areas for this year with only a sparse amount of trail re-used from the previous year. While both courses incorporated the fan-favorite hill climb shortly after the starting area, they diverged shortly thereafter. Mike’s Saturday course focused on the western section of the property where long-ago piled mining spoils provide some extreme and entertaining elevation changes. Navigating the peaks and valleys of these piles and incorporating some tight pines, fresh single track, and a grass track, the course measured out at slightly less than four miles. Randy’s trail was laid out to the east for Sunday’s races in a similar area as last year’s day-two course. This area consists of more reclaimed mining areas with a bit less elevation change, but plenty of younger growth vegetation used to install some fresh single track. A couple grass track sections were interspersed among the single track, and in general the course, at over four miles, was a bit more open and faster than Saturday. Reactions to each day’s contest was very enthusiastic with near universal praise of the layout and competitiveness of the courses. Concerns earlier in the week, due to frequent rain showers leading up to the weekend, were relatively unwarranted as the course drained rather well with only minor sections showing significant evidence of the recent rainfall, and dust was of little to no concern. Excellent weather throughout the weekend further showcased the beauty and joy of Reynlow Park.


Thirty-nine riders hit the track on Saturday morning, but none was faster than overall winner Josh Zerance. Once out front on his Can-Am, Josh settled into rock-solid consistency with nearly identical lap times throughout the last three laps to pull away for the win. Mid-Atlantic region head honcho Dave Kutskel piloted his Honda to the second overall position and class win in Vintage 50+ Expert over Chris Gillespie, also on a Can-Am, who rounded out the podium in the overall standings. Josh Horvath pushed the envelope of his Intermediate classification with a very strong ride into fifth place overall while taking the victory in Sportsman 200 Intermediate on his rare Yamaha YZ175. Horvath made the move past early leader Grant Reichart for the win while Reichart settled into second followed across the finish line by Suzuki-mounted Ken Cichy. Reichart and Cichy turned the tables on Horvath during Sunday’s race by finishing one-two and shuffling Josh’s YZ back to third. Ed Stagel found himself nearly a full minute ahead of Fred Walker’s Yamaha after lap one on Saturday, but Fred was on the hunt for Stagel’s Husqvarna as he staged a come from behind win with a last lap pass to claim the win. Dave Lyle was right behind Ed in the overall standings to lay claim to the top novice rider just ahead of fellow novice Dave Leibgold. Each Dave was in command of their class by winning Post Vintage 60+ Novice and Post Vintage 200 Novice respectively. Leibgold would push himself in day two to claim Sunday’s unofficial top novice distinction. Jenn Smith topped the Women’s Vintage Intermediate class on her way to a weekend sweep on her familiar “3R” Suzuki.


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Brian Grove exited Saturday’s race too early for his liking and entered day two determined to salvage a strong finish for the weekend, thereby setting the stage for an epic duel with Zerance for Sunday’s overall. Both riders would take a turn in the lead with never more than two seconds separating them at each appearance through the scoring area. Grove’s Husqvarna charged to the lead on the last lap and he made it stick leaving Zerance and twenty-seven others behind him. Zerance followed closely behind for the runner-up spot with John Fischer third. Fischer, although never quite close enough to the top two to witness the duel, was flying and took the victory in Vintage 60+ Expert over runner-up Charlie Walker and his MX360. Several riders used strong runs in Sunday’s event to wrap up weekend sweeps including Mike Stivason piloting a Triumph to the Classic Intermediate sweep, Pam Leibgold (Post Vintage Women’s Novice), and Dennis Brown (Premier Expert) on a Greeves. Steve Harouff spent most of Saturday’s race following eventual runner-up Ed Weger until making a last lap pass for the win. But Sunday, Harouff pushed his Yamaha to the front right off the start and never looked back in a dominating performance to win the Vintage 50+ Intermediate class. Lynn Parkins supplanted Weger for Sunday’s runner-up position.

Josh Zerance grabs the overall Vintage win.

Post Vintage:

Kurtis Palmer, Brian Grove, and Russ Dixon swapped the overall lead several times throughout Saturday’s afternoon race with sixty other competitors navigating the course behind them. Palmer’s turn in the lead was the most effective, as he pushed himself up front for the initial time on the last lap and remained there to be the first to see the checkered flag. Grove was on his rear tire pressuring Palmer right to the flag only three seconds shy of the win himself. Mike Blackwell would make his way past Dixon to take third with Dixon falling to fourth, which was a remarkable finish considering Dixon was running in an intermediate class. Grove and Blackwell would take the first two spots respectively in the very competitive Post Vintage Open Expert class, with Dane Brownawell (YAM) and Mark Hummell (HUSQ) as third and fourth in class also locking down a spot in the top-ten overall. It has been a number of years since former Indiana Pacers star Rik Smits joined in the fun at an AHRMA National, so it was great to see him sitting on the starting line with his trusty Maico. With a solid eighth overall and a Post Vintage 50+ Expert win over 2020 National Champ Joe Cole’s Husqvarna and third place Joe Wallace, Rik made his return a resounding success. While a repeat win and top-ten overall on Sunday wrapped up a weekend sweep, the cooler story was seeing Rik joined on the line by his son Derrik, who is also a speedster and ended up just seconds behind the elder Smits in the day-two overall standing. Josh Horvath was poised to take a win in the morning and afternoon Saturday until Jeremey Peace made a last-minute pass on lap five to take the Post Vintage Open win. Josh held position for the runner-up with Aaron Walker and Eric Bolin following. Emily Reichart’s lap two pass for the lead was enough to take the Post Vintage Women’s Intermediate win over Kelley Pearce, but typical of the relentless battle between these two, Pearce flipped the script Sunday by leading wire-to-wire for the win.

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Brian Grove put the disappointment of losing the lead on the last lap Saturday behind him quickly on Sunday, as well as the rest of the field of fifty-seven. Grove led every lap on his Husqvarna with Saturday’s hero Palmer holding close by turning nearly identical lap times throughout. However, a lap one sprint to the front by Grove was enough to carry him to the checkered flag for the victory. John Ashcraft was right in the mix as well with a third overall. Cameron Pennington’s seventh overall finish was an example of another top-notch performance by an intermediate rider as he also took home the win in Early Modern Open Intermediate action over the Suzuki RMX of Timothy Brendlinger and Wally Naletko’s Yamaha in second and third. Jacob Ritorto hustled his KDX by early leader Grant Reichart’s CR250 to stand atop the Pre-Modern Open Intermediate podium on Sunday with Josh Folmar rounding out the top three, also on a Honda. Larry Miller had his XR200 out front early in the Post Vintage 60+ Intermediate until Saturday’s victor Fred Walker made a successful challenge for the lead on lap three. Walker’s lead was short lived however as he was unable to complete the white flag lap thus handing the win back to Miller. Fred would fall back to third as Mike Zdybak also took advantage of his early exit to jump into the second spot. Kevin Thomas wound up in fourth behind the freight train of XR200s on his Yamaha IT.

The 50 and 60 + year old experts leave the line.

Reynlow is always a highlight of the schedule in my book, and this year was no disappointment. The panache that the National status has brought to the atmosphere, as well as the additional competitions that are available for spectating and/or participating (trials and motocross) just add to the overall experience. The event just keeps improving and intends to do so again in 2022. If you can make it to Reynoldsville on Father’s Day weekend next year, do so, it is worth the trip! Many thanks to the town of Reynoldsville, Tim Doan, and the rest of the Reynlow Park Authority board for providing access to their slice of off-road heaven. Thanks to Cross-Country Coordinator Becky Hayes for leading the National series efforts, regional coordinator Dave Kutskel for lending his talents, crew, and trail bosses to manage the event, and the participants for making the event a hit. Also, thanks to Hagerty Insurance for stepping up as the primary sponsor for the 2021 AHRMA National Cross-Country Series. Full results and national series point standings can be found at

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