January 11, 2021 4 min read

Qualifying for Motocross is a very exciting experience. It’s your chance to put your skills to the test. But how do you get into the National Championship, the Loretta Lynn’s Amatuer National? 

First, you need to qualify in your local area. There are eight geological regions across the United States. Then, you need to qualify for the Regional Championships. From there, the best riders will be able to compete at the National Championships. 

Racing at the National Championships is a great opportunity. But how do you get through each stage of qualifying? What are the competition rules you need to know?  In this article, we’ll answer all these questions and more, so you’ll be clear on your path to nationals. 

num 30 navigating a turn during a motocross race with num 34 close behind




How do the Area Qualifiers Work? 

The first step of the qualification process is to qualify in your area. 

The eight different geographical regions in the United States are:

  • Northeast
  • Southeast
  • Mid-East
  • North Central
  • South Central
  • Northwest
  • Mid-West
  • Southwest

Before you can even begin competing, you will need to get your AMA Racing license. This is a membership you can either pay for annually, or you can invest in a lifetime membership. You can become a member through the AMA site today!

Competitors attend an area qualifier. To make it to the next step, riders will need to qualify in an advancement position to move on to the regional championship.

There is a range of classes that you can compete in, in which the type of machine that you compete with changes. Generally, limited classes compete on Saturdays and modified classes on Sundays, so competitors often don’t need to be there for both days.

Competitors can attempt to qualify for as many Area Qualifiers as they chose to, but if they qualify, they must attend regionals in the area they qualify for. This rule can make traveling reasonably difficult and expensive for some competitors.

The criteria to qualify for the regional championship is to place in at least one moto. If you fail to qualify, you can enter as an alternate, which means that you will attend to fill gaps in the final roster. Anyone can register as an alternate except those who received a DNS, DNF, or DSQ for their overall finishing position.

 pit row at a motocross race




How do the Regional Championship Qualifications in Motocross Work? 

Regionals are the final step before the Loretta Lynn Dude Ranch. Riders who place in the Area Qualifier are now invited to compete in the regional championships. To compete, however, all riders must pre-register with MX Sports before the deadline.

The Regional championships in the Northeast, Southeast, Mid-East, North Central, South Central, and Mid-West regions hold both a Youth Regional and an Amateur Regional event to accommodate for the large number of competitors who qualify in this region. The Northwest and Southwest regions only hold one Regional competition each for every competitor.

The Regional Championships also feature a unique three moto system, which means that riders need to be in attendance for both the Saturday and Sunday events. Those who place in the regional championships are then invited to move on to the National Championships. If one person qualifies for Nationals at more than one Regional Championship, they will go on to compete as a representative from their home region.

Riders can also register to attend the National Championships as alternates, but to do this they must receive a finish position in one or more motos.

 motocross pit row featuring pit canopies from Risk Racing and STKR




How does the National Championship Operate in Motocross? 

If you’ve come this far and qualified for the national championship by finishing in a guaranteed qualifying position, then congratulations! You are almost there! The final thing that needs to be completed before competing in the biggest amateur motocross event in the world is to register for the National Championship. You can register and pay online, or by mail.


What Type of Competitors Might You Face at a Motocross Competition? 

The AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship is an amateur race designed for all kinds of competitors. Area qualifiers are held all over the country to encourage a broad and diverse range of racers. At AMA races, you will see a range of different riders competing at all levels of competition, from riders pitted out of their pickup trucks to riders pitted out of big factory semis with corporate backers.

womens motocross podium interview with Jordan Jarvis num 30

The two types of competitors, broadly, are those who are self-supported and pay their way through the competition, although they may get discounts on bikes, parts and equipment, and factory riders, who are paid a salary and often have a team of mechanics, transporters, and other people around them.


How do Motos Work? 

There are three motos, and each moto lasts 20 minutes. Motos are scored individually, and the scores from each moto are then combined to find out the winner. Points are awarded for each moto correlating with placement, all the way up to 40th place. If two competitors are tied with points, the rider who finished in a higher position in the third moto wins the tie.

 young boy holding number plate and championship bottle in front of his num 40 youth dirt bike

What are Some Other Rules of Motocross Events That You Need to Know? 

The starting gate is a metal barrier behind which riders line up to begin each moto. Riders are only allowed to take one person with them up to the starting gate. No one is then allowed past the starting gate to groom the ground or for any other reason. You can prep your area behind the gate though, so make sure you get it packed good!

If you need to fix your bike or make any kinds of repairs you will need to pull your bike back from the gate. You may also experience a bike failing to start. You are still allowed to race if you can get your bike going until the first person completes their first lap.

There is a rule in AMA racing known as the “production rule”, which requires the components of all bikes to be made from the same major components as those sold. This means that the major components of all racing bikes cannot be significantly customized. So long as your bike meets that requirement, the rest of the bike, however, is up to you. Top competitors can spend thousands on upgrades that are barely visible to the naked eye, but which can seriously enhance the speed and power of the bike.


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.