Since Glen Helen jumped ship or was removed from the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, MX Sports has taken a lot of scrutiny from the moto public. First, there was the drama over who left who between MX Sports and Glen Helen along with two failed attempts by Glen Helen to put on the US MX Grand Prix. Then to add even more controversy to the mix, there was the entrance and quick exit of the Pala National after just two years on the schedule. Now enters the new facility and the newest location of the finale, Lake Elsinore Motosports Park in Lake Elsinore, California.
The park has been around for over a decade, but after a brief closure, the facility re-opened under new management in December of 2011. Since opening, the track has undergone an incredible transformation and in my opinion has shown everyone what the future of motocross might just look like. There is white fencing around the track, man-made lakes, concrete pads, concrete walkways for the fans all around the track and—probably the coolest feature for the fans—huge grandstands. Now that I see the finished product, I think the benefits might outweigh anything negative as far as the future of the sport is concerned.
The track at Lake Elsinore was probably the biggest concern for moto fans. The facility is built over some of the flattest, hardest ground in all of California. The biggest source of complaint over the years at the facility has been the blue-grooved, hard as concrete soil, the dust that goes with that and the lack of any elevation changes. To alleviate those problems, tons of new dirt was brought into the facility when they opened in December, and for the national this weekend, 150 truckloads of mulch were brought in. There is also an endless supply of water from the man-made lakes to keep the soil moist. As far as elevation and natural terrain goes, there's not a whole lot the facility can do, but with the help of renowned track builder Marc Peters and a lot of dirt moving, they managed to create an awesome circuit with 200-300 feet elevation changes on it. After seeing the facility and what Marc Peters carved out of the soil, I have to say, I'm impressed. The place looks worthy of hosting a National.
Don't get me wrong; I have been going to Nationals for over thirty-years now and am a lover of everything that makes motocross great, but to get motocross going to the next level of popularity, we need casual fans. The casual fan does not want to spend 6-8 hours baking in the sun, sitting on dirt and walking up and down giant dirt hills in order to maybe see two sections of the track, all while trying to not lose their children in the crowd. The casual fan wants to grab their family, head to the races, find a comfortable spot and watch racing. This is the major benefit of a facility like Lake Elsinore, and in my opinion, it should be the model for other facilities on the schedule.
Racer X Online interviewed track builder Marc Peters about the new Lake Elsinore circuit. You can read "5 minutes With..Marc Peters" by clicking here. Below you can also view MX Sports Tim Cotter talking about the birth of the new National and riders on the track for press day.