Ryan Villopoto captured his first ever RedBud Motocross Championship as the historic track in Buchanan celebrated 40 years of racing in front of more than 28,700 fans Saturday.
The RedBud National pro race, started by Gene Ritchie in 1973, has become the biggest motocross race in the country.
Ritchie, now in his mid 70s, was honored during opening ceremonies as he was inducted into the RedBud Hall of Fame. Gene and his wife Nancy get a huge ovation from the crowd as they stood above the track on a scissor lift.
"I got kind of choked up, I gotta tell ya," Gene's daughter Amy, who now runs RedBud along with her brother Tim, said after the ceremony. "He accomplished a lot. He built something pretty cool. I'm pretty proud of him."
Michigan Congressman Fred Upton was also a part of the opening ceremonies and belted out a couple of classic "Redddddd Budddddd" chants to the crowd.
"Who would have thought 40 years ago that we would be here today," Upton explained. "This gets better and better and you couldn't ask for a better crowd."
That crowd chanted "redddd Buuudddd" thoughout the day themselves, especially when they saw 7-time RedBud Champion Ricky Carmichael make a special appearance before moving into the broadcast booth to call the action nationwide on NBC.
"It's always cool to see the fans here at RedBud," Carmichael explained. "A great day out here and this place just has the best vibe for any race that we go to."
Carmichael is returning to action at RedBud in August. Not in motocross but he'll be competing in a trucks race August 10th and 11th.
As for the motocross on Saturday---Villopoto won both Moto #1 and Moto #2 to capture his first ever RedBud Championship.
Villopoto moves into first place in the AMA Points Standings, passing 2-time RedBud Champion Ryan Dungey.
Dungey, the defending RedBud champion, had a horrific day. His bike stalled in race number one with two laps to go cause him not to finish. Then he crashed in race number two causing him again not to finish.
2008 RedBud champion James Stewart finished 2nd overall with 2009 champion Josh Grant finishing 3rd.