Rest In Peace, Nancy Ritchie (1940-2024)

Wednesday, January 31, 2024 | 12:00 PM

The American motocross community bid farewell to one of its most important and influential figures this past Sunday as a celebration of life ceremony was held for Nancy Ritchie, matriarch of Michigan’s iconic RedBud MX, with a large gathering of family, friends, and other loved ones from every decade of her incredible life.

Alongside her husband, Gene, the Ritchie’s founded RedBud MX in 1972 and over the past 50 years this hallowed ground in the rural township of Buchanan has become arguably the most renowned motocross track on the planet. Throughout its existence RedBud has hosted local racing events, in addition to Trans-AMA Championships and both AMA Amateur National and Regional Championships. It earned global recognition through its infamous annual Independence Day celebration that is the RedBud National, which has been a centerpiece of the Pro Motocross Championship since 1974, while also serving as the host venue of the spectacle of the FIM Motocross of Nations, the “Olympics of Motocross,” on two occasions, which included an anticipated return to the top of the podium for Team USA on home soil during the 2022 event.

“Nancy Ritchie was one of those unheralded champions of the motorcycle industry, a person who probably didn’t know much about the sport until her husband, Gene, decided to go all-in on his passion for motocross racing,” stated Davey Coombs, President, MX Sports Pro Racing. “From there she became his partner, managing their shared endeavor by doing all of the behind-the-scenes work that every successful business requires. Together, they built RedBud into one of the world’s premier motocross facilities, allowing countless racing families to enjoy their chosen sport for more than five decades. Even after their children, Tim and Amy, took over day-to-day aspects of the business, and even after Gene passed in 2016, Nancy remained close to the track she co-founded way back in 1972. As her children posted following her passing last week, ‘RedBud was Gene’s dream; it worked because he convinced Nancy to come along.’

Gene and Nancy Ritchie
Gene and Nancy Ritchie Ritchie Family

“Thanks to the unwavering commitment of Gene and Nancy, and now Amy and Tim, to make RedBud the best motocross track in the world, the venue has served multiple generations of American motocross enthusiasts. RedBud MX has been an indelible part of the lives of thousands of passionate racers and fans, and for that Gene and Nancy Ritchie will always be remembered.”

Nancy Ritchie with her children, Angie (top left), Amy (top right), and Tim.
Nancy Ritchie with her children, Angie (top left), Amy (top right), and Tim. Ritchie Family

This weekend, during the annual visit of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship to Detroit’s Ford Field, Gene and Nancy Ritchie will be on the minds of those in attendance, many of whom were fortunate to be part of the indelible legacy of RedBud MX over the past 50 years. The race will be a fitting way for the racing community to further celebrate the life of Nancy and the contributions of the Ritchie family to the sport of off-road motorcycle racing.
Nancy Ritchie was 83 years old.
Godspeed, Nancy.