The weather is changing, and the leaves are starting to Fall. The traditional lowering of temperatures and the drive into October signals a that it’s time to go indoors. For motorsports enthusiasts living in the Pacific Northwest that limits the options you have to race. Fortunately, in Puyallup, WA racers have options to continue to race deep into the winter months.
Puyallup Flat track has been around for the past 5 years, and is excited to start their 6th season racing indoors during the late Fall and Winter months. We were able to chat with the man behind the project Jim to get some insights into his passion project.
Q: How did this get started?
A: When we started off, we took over from Mickey Fay, and ran the first few races his way to not stir the pot too much. Then over time changed our approach to managing the track times and event to be what it is today. My biggest thing is people know what they’re getting for what they’re paying for. Riders can get a morning and afternoon practice, and then an evening of racing. Riders know exactly when they’re racing, and when they’re done. We have a hard stop at the end of the night of 10pm so riders know they won’t be waiting around until 1am on Sunday to race. That matters in the overall experience of what we’re putting together.
Q: How many riders do you usually seen each race?
A: Normally we see around 240 entiries, which is about 100-150 riders that do multiple classes each. For morning practice we’ll see around 50+ riders. For the afternoon we’ll see about 25 for the afternoon. So riders get a lot of laps in throughout the day. For races we see about 50-60 heats, and another 45-50 main events, and the races are stacked on top of each other or we wouldn’t get done on time.
Q: What is the impact of being organised for this event?
A: It works for us because the people who work for me are the best at what they do in the industry. From the time they enter the gate, put their bike on the track, the staff who put on the program, to the track workers. Everyone knows their position, and they’re the best in the industry. The riders appreciate that because we function efficiently, which allows riders to get home at a reasonable hour than having to add an extra night stay, or a lengthy drive home.
Q: What type of surface do Flat Track Racers ride on?
A: We’re unique in the surface that we use. It’s a clay based soil and we prep the track the day after the last race. This allow us to create a race ready surface as soon as riders are ready to go. This minimizes our downtime in reparing the track to keep races going. That’s an advantage for us over other tracks. We rarely stop races to repair the surface, and when we do it’s a minimal downtime. The goal is keep the races going while providing a top notch surface for our racers.
Q: Can you talk about how you’re building the sport?
A: We brough in the Stcyc and Strider bikes, and this allows kids as young as 2 the opporunity to give it a try and see if it’s something they want to try. It becomes a lifelong commitment for some. They get a feel for the track, staging, the concrete walls, and how to race. Our goal is to get them to move up through the ranks of riding (50cc, 85, 125, and 450). Give kids a place to ride in the winter in a more controlled environment. For me it’s a family affair. My son and daughter started young and worked their way up to where they’re racing at a high level.
Q: Riders aren’t just out here racing. They can also win money?
A: Correct! We do 100% pay back in the Pro Class, and 75% payback in the ProAM class, and we’re able to do that because we have some really loyal sponsors. We’re thankful to have some really solid sponsors come on board. This helps us keep the event going, and make it possible. Without them we wouldn’t be here.
Q: How does someone sign up and get involved?
A: Our Facebook and Instagram page Puyallup Flat Track, are the main social media for information about the season, and general information. Just come on down to the Puyallup Fair Green Gate. Pay the fee, drop the bike(s) off and get ready to race.
Q: What are your expectations for the upcoming season?
A: I’m hoping we have some really good turnouts. There’s been some growing competition in the region and dates can conflict. I hope that people realize that we put a lot of effort into this, and that they want to come down and race and have some fun. That they know what they’re going to get. A streamlined race program, and we tend to have some really nice awards. We really make sure to put the effort in for our riders, and feel that they see that in the end. Having some pretty key sponsors who help fund this allows us to get a little more, and in-turn spend a little more.
Puyallup Flat Track is a event. Whether you’re a racer or a fan you can come out to watch, enjoy, and cheer on these racers. Check out their season schedule of races for the upcoming season.