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All eyes on Atmore

By By Matthew Nascone
Big changes are in the winds for the Atmore Motocross Park in 2007. The first big change is the seven-track Gulf Coast MX Championship Series spanning the state of Alabama and into Florida and Louisiana. But the major change that will have Atmore in the national spotlight will occur sometime in May.
The Atmore Motocross Park has been chosen as a host site for a qualifying race of the National Motocross Association's National Motocross Championship, which will take place in Ponca City, Okla. in July.
"I am sure the hotels, motels, local stores, restaurants, casinos and fuel stations in the Atmore area will benefit from the additional spectators at the park," said track promoter Steve Hicks.
Hicks said any local business that would like to advertise at the track could contact track owner Bobby Hadley at (251) 295-0057.
Hadley said it is a great honor to host the qualifier.
"It is excellent recognition for our track and we are excited to host the event," Hadley said.
The Atmore park will be one of four sites in Alabama to host a qualifier. Hicks was notified by the Alabama representative for the NMA and relayed the information on to Hadley.
"Steve called me up and his first word was 'Congratulations,'" Hadley said. "I said 'It is not my birthday, what are you talking about?' And when he told me about the event I told him that he is the one who deserves the congratulations because he is the one who has spread the word about our track."
Hicks and Hadley have been spreading the word about the Atmore Motocross Park since its first race in November. The pair, along with Hadley's son Shane, and many other individuals have worked diligently every week to make the park experience better each race.
Hadley said he is in it for the spectators and he knows he needs to raise the quality of the experience for the riders and spectators. In place are plans to have the showers and restrooms completed and ready for operation for the opening weekend of the 2007 Gulf Coast MX Championship Series Feb. 10-11 in Atmore.
As far as the Gulf Coast series goes, it opens in Atmore and comes back three more times. The dates in the future are May 26-27, August 25-26 and Oct. 20-21. Hicks said the qualifying round of the NMA championship is tentatively set for the race in Atmore May 26-27.
Hicks said the qualifier is coming to Atmore and Hadley and the Alabama NMA representative have to sit down and iron out the details of the event.
"We are still going through some growing pains," Hicks said. "Because we need to work on making more room for pit row and spectator parking and we will have to increase the staff we have out there to accommodate all the different aspects of the event. But we will get it done. I think '07 will be a good year and if last weekend was any indication of how good, then we are definitely in for some good times."
Mill Creek MX in Pell City, LAMX in Wagarville and Monster Mountain will also host a NMA qualifier in the state of Alabama.