ROAD TO THE RANCH: GAGE DUNHAM
The 2016 Loretta Lynn Amateur National Motocross Championship was the first time that Gage Dunham competed at the Ranch, registering to compete in the 51cc (4-6) Special Limited class. The young rider from Colorado demonstrated a lot of composure racing for the first time in Hurricane Mills, earning a moto finish inside of the top ten and staying consistent throughout the entire week which led him to an 11th place overall finish. Dunham returned in 2017 in the 51cc (4-6) Limited class and showed immediate improvements, battling with Wyatt Thurman for the title. Dunham finished in 2nd position in the first two motos and was battling for the lead in the second moto when he made a mistake, recovering from dead last position to an eventual 10th place finish. His charge through the field allowed him to salvage 4th place overall and he proved that he clearly had what it takes to contend for titles at the Ranch. After a year of learning the ropes in the 51cc (7-8) Limited in 2018, Dunham was one of the standout performers in the division last year at Loretta’s. He finished two out of three motos on the podium and captured his career-best finish in Hurricane Mills with a 3rd place overall finish while simultaneously mixing it up just outside the top ten in the 65cc (7-9) Limited class. Dunham earned some valuable experience last year at Loretta’s on the slightly bigger bike and has been using that knowledge to his advantage this season, racking up a handful of podiums and wins on the 65.
How’d the Regionals go for you?
Well, it started out at Baja when I went 1-1-1 in the 65cc (7-9) class and won the overall but in my other class, it didn’t go so well. One of my bolts in my motor got loose and started bouncing around and grinding in the motor, so in that class I didn’t make it and I had to go to Lincoln Trail. I probably wouldn’t have made it without the help of a friend of mine, Christopher Harris. He picked up my dirt bike which was on top of me in the middle of the race.
What’s a typical day of training been like for you getting ready for Loretta’s?
A day of training for Loretta’s starts with waking up and eating breakfast, then I get my gear on, and meet everyone at 9:30 am to train. After that, we get a break and have lunch and then we train out on the track again. Then I get in my workout clothes and workout at 2:00 pm. Then I get back into my normal clothes and go fishing with my friends.
Do you have a pre-race routine?
Before we go race, me and my mom and dad look at my dirt bike to check if everything is good. I give my mom and dad a kiss and tell them I love them and they give me a kiss and say “I love you.”
How do you recover after a twenty-minute moto in the brutal heat and humidity?
I recover from a twenty-minute moto by sitting in the shade and drinking a lot of water, maybe taking a dip in the river.
Is there one specific year at Loretta’s that has been the most memorable for you?
In 2017, on the last moto of the weekend I was in the lead but the corner before the ten commandments I made a mistake and crashed with my friend Wyatt Thurman. His bike started before I could get mine started and when I did I ended up crashing again. I picked up my bike in dead last place and finished in 10th!
What do you think is the key to success at the Ranch?
I think the key to success at the Ranch is being the person who never gives up and fights with their heart.