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The Ridge Motorsports Park - The Real Deal
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  1. #1

    Default The Ridge Motorsports Park - The Real Deal

    Hi everyone,

    Yesterday, I attended a users group meeting held by the Ridge Motorsports Park owners for the future users of the facility.

    For those that don't know, this is the race track that has been rumored and talked about over the last couple of years in Shelton, WA. The reason they haven't had a website up because they didn't want to be selling something until they had made it through the major obstacles in building a track.

    I'll go into details below, but I will start by saying that this facility is the real deal. This will be fairly long winded as I want to encompass what I learned over the 4 hours I spent down there.

    First I'll share what I'm still laughing about this morning, and that is this facility is home to the largest pocket gopher habitat in the Pacific Northwest. They are a threated species in WA with supposedly only 500 of them in existance but there are 1300 of them on this property.

    The Business Model

    The target audience of The Ridge is to be just what Thunderhill Raceway is. A motorsports park that is designed for the club racing/club enthusiasts. This isn't a facililty meant to attract pro level users/events. 97% of users are club level and that's what they are designing around. They are also planning on modeling themselves after Thunderhill in their pricing model too. This is ensures that clubs and the facility are both to be successful. Rod is good friends with the owner of Thunderhill and I think this is great as it reflects in what he is trying to build in the Pacific Northwest.

    That said, he made it a quick (and good point IMO) that they are not dumping $25 million dollars into this facility before it even opens to make it a Field of Dreams facility. By doing this they would have to charge ridiculous amounts to stay above water. Don't be mistake that the Field of Dreams, or in this case Track of Dreams isn't their goal down the line. However they will be doing it smart and in phases, while the facility grows with use.

    Another note I think worth mentioning is that Rod and his partner have no intentions of taking any money out of the operation in its first 5 years of operation. They will re-investing it back into the facility. At least one new amentity each year is what he'd like to have happen.

    Rod formerly owned a successful small business before selling it and retiring. He is taking the small business approach to this facility and I think this will in large, make him very successful. He is also a HUGE motorsports enthusiast, road course racer.

    Track Design

    The race track design is still going under minor tweaks as they get safety/user feedback from the road course users. They want this to be a fun, fast, safe facility for ALL users, not just cars. The great new is that home of the facility has an incredible base foundation of soil/rock for having pavement laid down. For those that don't know, the problems that race tracks have with pavement coming apart and bumps is caused by not having a great base.

    It's hard to say what I was most impressed with, as there were so many things. I will say that myself, Bruce Lind, and Tyson Silva had several questions/concerns/suggestions that we gave Rod during the road course portion and he was very receptive. He didn't try and mitigate it away or downplay them. They made notes of them or told us how they were going to address them.

    The Timeline

    The Ridge Motorsports Park has one final milestone to reach and that is being issued their special use permit. Their is an upcoming council meeting to discuss this and once they clear this, they will be clear to move forward with building the facility.

    In preperation, they have already stumped out 1acre of the facility to see how fast they can clear it and they have a timeline associated with that now.

    IF things go as plan, they expect to have pavement for the road course laid down by middle of August. There intention is to have several exhibition days for future organizations that will be planning to host events there.
    If this happens, WMRRA will be planning to hold events at The Ridge Motorsports Park in the 2012 season.

    The Representation
    The motorcycle groups were represented well at this meeting. I want to thank the following people who made it to the meeting to help give feedback and show support from the organizations. There are hundreds of years of experience between these people, so you know there was great feedback provided.
    • Motorcycle Safety Council - Bruce Lind, Alan Schwen (WMRRA members)
    • WMRRA - Nico Tomacelli, Jeff Wieand, Russ Wieand, Katie Field
    • Sullivan Race Schools - Mike Sullivan
    • 2-Fast - Mark Degross
    • OMRRA - Don Schmidt
    • Tyson Silva - Airfence North America/Cascade Track Time
    • Rick Salmon - Trackside Vending

    In addition, there were representatives from all levels of road course and drag race users. SCCA, Rally, Drift, AutoX, Drag Race, and Karts.

    The Ridge Motorsports Park will have a website online around March 1st and once construction begins, they hope to have several wireless cameras on site for people to check and watch the progress of the facility being built.

    Thank you to Rod Powell, owner of The Ridge Motorsports Park for inviting us out and allowing us to participate in the feedback of the facility.

    Thank you,
    Nico Tomacelli
    WMRRA President

    PS - Bruce, Don, Jeff, Mark, Tyson, or Rick, if I forgot anything, feel free to post up.

  2. #2

    Default

    Keep in mind when you look at this pictures that this is not what things are going to look like. They still have a 1/3rd of the property to clear cut and to get all the stumping done. So don't get worried.

    Front gate coming into facility.


    The namesake - THE RIDGE


    Looking down from The Ridge to the lower part of the road course, paddock, drag strip.


    Looking down at East end of the paddock, road course, drag strip, and Mt. Rainier!


    Looking down @ future downhill section on West end of the road course.


    Stumped 1 acre area


    Stumped 1 acre area


    Just an idea at the elevation chage we'll see here.

  3. #3

    Default

    PS. Forgot to include one of the coolest things.

    While we were waiting for Rod to arrive at the facility for the tour, we had a blue chevy truck pull over to the side of the road and talked to Jeff, Russ, Don, Katie and myself.

    Them: "Are you guys part of the race track thing going on?"
    Yes: "Yeah, we are out here for a users group meeting."
    Them: "Awesome. We're gonna be your neighbors. We live a mile down the road and are super excited about the track going in. We're behind you guys! Good luck."

    Finally, neighbors that want a race track!

  4. #4
    I'mma go that way SlowStad's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Everett, WA
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    1,277

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    Woo Hoo It's finally Ok to get excitied abt having a new track up here! Thanks everyone involved for helping this along
    WMMRA #174
    Thanks to:
    Lynnwood Motoplex, HMC Racing and my wife

  5. #5
    OMRRA Volunteer Blinky's Avatar
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    May 2009
    Location
    Olympia WA USA
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    Nice report Nico. I am glad to see WMRRA involved and am sure you will get support.
    I'll leave the light on for ya!

  6. #6
    Senior Member piper907's Avatar
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    Aug 2005
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    Bellingham, WA
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    i just got a woody!

  7. #7

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    Nico - thanks for info, wow a track on our side of the water that doesn't want to be NASCAR!

    Quick question - were any inputs provided to address the needs for endurance racing (hot pit access, pit lane wires for AMB scoring...)?

    Thanks again for the update.
    Climb hard, ride fast...Always!

  8. #8
    i blame klemmer lonelyAngels's Avatar
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    Jul 2010
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    monroe
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    *passes out* this is going to be ridiculous cool...having a new track with new pavement...safe run off...wow. Thanks for the great report Nico, I am stoked. I need to start looking at property over there

  9. #9
    old, but not that old
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    seattle, wa usa
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    rick's in? this is awesome. can't keep a good man out. good to see tyson and all of the other interest. thanks nico, this is great news and i appreciate you participating in their development efforts.

  10. #10
    The other white meat El Cuervo's Avatar
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    Jun 2007
    Location
    Sammamish
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    196

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    Did you ask them to put a drag strip in?

    It would be great if NHRA event parking was at the braking zone into Turn 1.

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