On Tuesday, MX Sports Pro Racing and Alli Sports announced the 2012 schedule for the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship. The lineup includes 11 familiar tracks with one surprising TBA for the September 8 finale.
Pala Raceway has been clipped from the schedule after two years of being the final round of the series. MX Sports Pro Racing President Davey Coombs told ESPN that unresolved contractual matters with the event have caused the promotions company to seek an alternative location for 2012 and beyond. However, Coombs said that round 12 will remain in Southern California as it has nearly every year since 2004.
"We are close to finalizing a long-term deal with a facility that is thoroughly committed to growing the series and the sport," Coombs said. "This facility will give us the solid foundation that we need in a region that's vital to the motocross industry as a whole. Hopefully we can make the announcement about the new location in a matter of days; the name will be familiar to students of the sport."
The 2012 schedule will disappoint residents of the Southeast region, which hasn't had an AMA Motocross race since 1997 when the Gatorback National in Gainesville, Fla. was the opener. MX Sports has been long hinting at bringing the series back to the South, but Coombs now says it's one of their highest priorities.
"We have been touring potential facilities in Georgia, Alabama and the Carolinas in the hopes of finding a new base for Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship," Coombs said. "We are committed to hosting an event in the Southeast by 2013."
The 2012 series will begin on May 19 near Sacramento, Calif., at the 41st annual Hangtown Classic -- the longest-running event on the schedule -- and will conclude on September 8 at the new venue. The 12-round series will visit classic venues like High Point, Pa., Red Bud, Mich., Washougal, Wash., and New York's legendary Unadilla.
"We are very fortunate to have so many great, iconic motocross tracks as part of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship -- tracks that challenge the racers and have strong, loyal fan bases that come out to see these races," said Coombs.
The 450 class will feature defending champion, Ryan Villopoto along with three former champions; Chad Reed, Ryan Dungey and the return of James Stewart. In the 250 Class, Dean Wilson will face the two most recent MX2 World Champions, Frenchman Marvin Musquin and German sensation Ken Roczen, who will join forces at Red Bull KTM.
Additionally, the Women's Motocross Championship will be included at eight rounds. That series is led by defending champion, Team Honda's Ashley Fiolek, who claimed her third title in four years as a pro.
2012 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship Schedule
May 19 - Hangtown Motocross Classic* - Sacramento, Calif.
May 26 - Freestone Raceway* - Wortham, Texas
June 2 - Thunder Valley Motocross* - Lakewood, Colo.
June 9 - High Point Raceway - Mt. Morris, Pa.
June 16 - Budds Creek Motocross - Mechanicsville, Md.
July 7 - RedBud* - Buchanan, Mich.
July 14 - Spring Creek Motocross* - Millville, Minn.
July 21 - Washougal MX Park - Washougal, Wash.
August 11 - Moto-X 338* - Southwick, Mass.
August 18 - Unadilla - New Berlin, New York
September 1 - Steel City Raceway* - Delmont, Pa.
September 8 - TBA* - Southern California