|Construction crews prepare the local motocross facility for a national competition which will take place this April.|
At first, the site resembled two little boys playing with caterpillars in a giant sand box. They were pushing large mounds of dirt, making roadways, creating hills and widening existing paths. Almost in slow motion, the cats went back and forth forming and molding the natural terrain.
Standing by the CEMA (Carbon Emery Motorcycle Association) clubhouse and looking over the motocross track at the Carbon County fairgrounds, the track began to take a different shape and enhanced the terrain that was already filled with dips and hills, gullies and jumps.
So who were these guys and what exactly were they doing to the motocross track?
The two professional motocross developers spent five days in Price this past week, hired by Carbon County and the CEMA organization. Their company is Dirt Wurx USA, based out of Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif. and the two men were Rick Winkler, and one of his operators, Norm Bickley.
Dirt Wurx is a national renowned company and the exclusive contractor that provides the design for 18 of the domes that house the national super cross races.
Supercross is 100 percent man-made. It started off as an effort to recreate natural terrain in a stadium, but it has evolved to a point where there is absolutely nothing about it that is comparable to natural terrain motocross whatsoever.
It's an artificial creation of jumps and rhythm sections with a very uniform, measured look and feel.
"Supercross, on the other hand, cannot be done correctly or safely without a real blueprint or scale drawing to work from. The distances and shapes and trueness of the track is what makes or breaks it," says Winkler.
However, their work in Carbon County was much different in many respects from their routine construction of the temporary tracks in these large stadiums.
The biggest difference is that the Carbon County motocross is 30 years old and has provided years of entertainment and recreation to local riders.
Winkler, who has been a motocross enthusiast since the early 70s, says, "doing tracks like this is fun for us because the domes are routine and created from a blueprint but out here we don't have to worry about seats, the floor, or walls. Here there is no bottom, and this desert area is great because it has a lot of natural terrain."
Winkler explained that motocross is a French word meaning moto for motorcycles and cross meaning natural terrain.
Ken Kirkwood, spokesman of the upcoming World Off Course Race, said that this was the first track in the state with a pressurized water system (for dust control) and concrete starting gate, built back in the mid-1970s. Just last year the county expanded the track with a 40-man starting gate.
The two men spent long days changing the width, building several new obstacle choices and enhancing the track. They also rerouted several of the runs, making the flow much different in this, the first major upgrade since the track was built over 30 years ago. The banks tend to push out after years of racing and it was hard to pass when there was only one line.
"It was too narrow, and we made it more raceable," explained Winkler. After the two contractors arrived they had a meeting with several local riders from the CEMA organization and laid out the basic changes of the course. Levi Rich serves as president of CEMA.
"Once we reviewed their guidelines, we were able to use our creativity," Winkler stated
Comparing this type of construction to building the super- crosses, Winkler explained that motocross is best done without a strict plan or blueprint. It's better to feel out the terrain and work from the gut.
The two designers were taken on a tour of the rodeo stables and the new event center. Winkler was complementary with the wide variety of features that are part of the county fairgrounds. "Where I live in California public facilities are limited and we just don't have places like this to expand and upgrade."
"I have been a motocross enthusiast since the 1970s and most of the tracks like this are gone, covered by subdivisions and houses," he explained. "It is great to see the original track and fun to come to a place where they have natural terrain to work."
Kirkwood is the spokesman for the major race scheduled this year in Price. This off road race is part of the World Off Road Championship Series and is scheduled for April 5 and 6.
Kirkwood is expected to bring between 600 and 700 racers to the area as well as upwards to 2000 spectators.
There are 13 rounds in the series, set in 12 states and Price is hosting round six.
The riders will start at the gates of the newly remodeled track and make a lap around the track before heading out for the duration of the 11 mile off road race.