As remarkable as it sounds, former 125cc National Champion Ron Lechien is set to return to AMA Professional Motocross competition when the 250cc National Championship series gets underway at Glen Helen Raceway Park on May 11 in San Bernardino, CA. Even more amazing is the style in which Lechien will return to the track. Thanks, in part, to the recent injury suffered by Ezra Lusk, Lechien will enjoy full factory support from Team Chevy Trucks Kawasaki.
“I couldn’t be more excited,” said Lechien, who has secretly been training like a madman since Thanksgiving of 2002. “I have always known that if I gave it 100%, I could probably still go out there and run with the kids today, and having a works Kawasaki KX250 to make my return on is like a dream come true.”
In early December, Lechien contracted MX Trainer Alan Gerkey to help whip him into race shape, and has been on a strict training regimen for over four months now. “The progress Ronnie has made has been astounding,” said Gerkey, who also trains Stephane Roncada and Travis Preston. “He had some weight to lose, but we’ve got him down to 200 lbs. of near solid muscle. If anything, endurance will not be a problem for him come Glen Helen.”
For the past several months, Lechien has been training and practicing aboard a test bike supplied by TransWorld Motocross, as his comeback was the subject of an upcoming cover story in the magazine. When Kawasaki race team members, however, spotted the Dogger in action during a test session at Cahuilla Creek MX Park, the wheels began to turn. “We couldn’t believe the speed Ronnie had,” said Craig Decker’s mechanic Dan Worley. “When I got back to the shop I told Bruce that he had to take a look at Lechien.”
Though the deal with Chevy Trucks Kawasaki is only for Glen Helen and Hangtown, there is a possibility of Lechien staying with the squad if he sits inside the top 10 in the series points. Thanks to the AMA’s past champion rule, Lechien, the 1985 125cc National Champion, will transfer straight into the 40-rider National without having to qualify. The Dogger will also take advantage of the AMA’s semi-permanent numbering system and as a former National Champion, he has selected number 9 as his permanent digit.
“It’s going to be a blast from the past,” said Lechien. “I’ll be back on a Kawi running my old number nine. I know that there are people who don’t think I can do it, but I think they will be surprised come the checkered flag at Glen Helen.”
When we asked the Dogger if we could count on seeing some of those big no-leggers he made famous back in the day, he replied, “Shit, think you wouldn’t?”