On Saturday, May 19, Sacramento, California kicks off twelve grueling rounds of the 2018 AMA Outdoor National Pro Motocross Champion series with the long-standing Hangtown Classic. Coming just two weeks after the Supercross finale in Las Vegas, riders have a short turn around to adjust to the different challenges of the longer, faster, open tracks of the outdoor events. Motocross racing is one of the most physically demanding sporting events in the world. Racer's heart-rates consistently hover above 200 beats per minute for the full 30-minute duration of each of two Motos.

Compared to the smaller, tighter tracks seen in Supercross, the outdoor series runs across natural terrain at very high speeds (racers frequently hitting fourth and fifth gears) on often gnarly, torn up and rough terrain.

Racers also face towering obstacles in the form of hills and jumps (LaRocco’s Leap at Redbud is the equivalent of jumping over a five-story building). This makes for thrilling racing as riders navigate a narrow line between speed and disaster. The 2018 season is set to be one of the most entertaining and competitive ever. There are many riders in both classes capable of winning each round. You don’t want to miss it!

Eli Tomac looks to defend his title in the 450 class [VIDEO], while Zach Osborne will defend his 250 crown [VIDEO].

Hangtown history

Hangtown is the longest running event in American Motocross and even predates the Pro Motocross Championship with its debut in 1969 before becoming a cornerstone of the current series in 1974. This is the 22nd time Hangtown has opened the championship, and the 40th time the race has been run at Prairie City SVRA, carrying the unique distinction of being a California State Park dedicated to off-road vehicle recreation.

Last season’s 450 podium finishing order was Eli Tomac first, Marvin Musquin second, and Josh Grant third (unfortunately, absent this week due to a leg fracture suffered in February).

Ken Roczen, who will return to racing this Saturday, despite a broken hand suffered in February, has alternated wins with Eli Tomac for the past four seasons at Hangtown.

Interestingly, the four wins by the two riders have come on different motorcycles (Honda, Kawasaki, KTM, and Suzuki).

Hangtown has proven to be a critical stage-setter. The winner of Hangtown over the past five seasons has gone on to win the championship four times.

Hangtown remains the only track in motocross where all six competing motorcycle manufacturers have won a 450 class victory.

  • Honda - seventeen
  • Kawasaki - ten
  • Suzuki - eight
  • Yamaha - six
  • KTM - one
  • Husqvarna - one

Ricky Carmichael has the most wins of any rider in Hangtown with five. Of active riders participating in this Saturday’s race, Tomac and Roczen are tied at two wins apiece.

Where to watch

If you can’t make it out to Sacramento for the live event, no need to worry, you have several options to make sure you don’t miss a single heart-pounding lap.

Live, On-Demand, Commercial-free streaming will be available via an NBC Sports Gold Pass. It costs $54.99 for the season and also allows you to go back and watch the 2016 and 2017 seasons, on demand. According to the NBC website, “NBC Sports Gold is available to residents of the following countries: the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden, Canada, Ireland, Denmark, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Austria, Spain, Italy, Luxembourg, and Japan.”

If you prefer to catch all the action via television, you’ll need access to two separate channels from your television provider:

Moto 1 can be seen on Saturday, May 19 on MAVTV Live 4:00-6:00 PM ET.

Moto 2 can be seen on Saturday, May 19 on NBCSN 8:30-10:30 PM ET.