Last week we reported on a shake-up with racing on the East Coast, as long-time club and organizer AMCRA decided it couldn’t run its usual schedule and passed off responsibility for motorcycle racing at Shubenacadie to the Atlantic Roadracing League Inc.
Terry Steeves, one of the principals of ARL, tells CMG that he and his partners Andrew Murray and Malcolm Mackay have all been involved with Shubie and AMCRA as racers, club directors, track school instructors, you name it, and hope that they’ll be able "to contribute to the long-term sustainable future of safe roadracing in Atlantic Canada."
Meanwhile, out west an even more upsetting scenario is arising in Calgary, where Race City, which exists on land leased from the city, is going to be booted out of its location when its current lease expires October 20, 2009.
The track, which consists of a paved oval, a drag strip, and a road
race course, is the only professional-level facility in Canada west of
Mosport. While there are still races held at Gimli airport near
Winnipeg and Mission near Vancouver, neither venue is suitable for
Race City is in the south-east corner of Calgary in a rather dismal
industrial area dominated by the petro-chemical industry; in fact, it’s
overshadowed by the city dump (or landfill, if you prefer – but I’ve
been there, it’s a dump).
The original agreement with the city provided for Race City’s lease to
extend as far as 2025, but Calgary’s authorities have decided
(depending on which story you hear) to either expand the dump or build
a storm water management system for same.
Needless to say, two years isn’t a lot of time to find a piece of
land and build a new race track. At least one alderman, Ric McIver, is
pushing the city administration to work with the track owners: "I want
the city to have a race facility available for tourists and Calgarians
alike for years ongoing," he said, adding the business brings plenty of
money into the city from racing enthusiasts.
"The time to start looking for new sites for them is now, and I
would like administration to look and see if there are any city sites
where it could go."
Race City general manager Rome Awde said, "We would look at all three levels of government to help us with funding and move that forward, as well as raising private funding as well. It’s an expensive venture to build a motor sport facility, and we wouldn’t want to leave anything out, drag racing, oval racing, and road course racing as we have at Race City."
Awde says all they know at this point is that they can operate as usual until October 2009.
Brad Gavey has operated BGPR Schools Inc. for the past seven years, running motorcycle racing schools and track days, and has been involved with Race City and the CMRA (Calgary Motorcycle Racing Association) for much longer than that.
He has a busy schedule – 15 track days and five or six schools for 2008 – and worries about what will happen once the track is gone. "My business is pretty steady," he says. "Where are all these people who like racing going to end up when the track shuts down?"
The general feeling among Race City staff and customers is that other than Counsellor McIvor, so far the city hasn’t seemed interested in finding a new location for the facility.