Wide Open Sports Arena

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Wide Open Sports Arena

Renton’s Indoor Dream Track

Imagine a 35 degree day in January, a motorcycle track in an open barn at a fairground, it’s cold out, the dilapidated toilets lift up from the floor in the restroom, food concessions are slim to none, blue smoke stands still in the stiff air… Not exactly the best conditions for track racing, but even today this is what you’ll find at a number of facilities in Washington State.

Mickey Faye operated a number of track series’ under those conditions during the 90’s and early 00’s until he sat down with Bob Lanphere Jr. and hatched a plan to create a world class indoor track.

Faye’s background goes back to the 70’s when he carved out winning positions for himself in flat track racing in the Northwest and on the national circuit. Even today Faye still has the stuff, placing 6th in the flat track nationals at Tacoma in 2002.

Lanphere Jr.’s life is filled with motorcycling. His family has owned and operated motorcycle dealerships since the 60’s. As soon as Lanphere Jr. learned to walk, he learned to ride. He’s known Faye for decades.

So when the Lanphere family decided to relocate Renton Motorcycles to East Valley Highway in the 70,000 square foot HomeBase facility, they knew what the market needed and they knew who to tap as general manager. An indoor track fit into the plans and Faye was tapped to manage it.

A $300,000 ventilation system is the crux of the 12 million dollar facility, changing the entire air content of the room every few minutes. Whether you’re a racer or a spectator, this is one room that won’t asphyxiate you.

For the surface Faye ordered several metric tons of high quality clay mixed with decomposed granite. The clay takes up water well and has no rocks in it. Two earthmovers are on hand to maintain and shape the track at a moments notice.

Often you’ll find the track setup in a scrambles format, but is has the potential to lead a double life. At noon it can be a scrambles track, but by 4pm it can be ready to go as a flat track. The initial scrambles track was designed by Faye and his son, Mickey Jr.

Unlike any other track in the state, this one is connected to a motorcycle store and restaurant (The Full Throttle café opens in spring 04). Renton Motorcycles is the next door neighbor of Wide Open Motorsports and comes in handy in a pinch when a rider needs tires, levers, oils and otherwise during a day at the track. And Renton is the only dealership in the state to carry all four major Japanese lines – Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki and Suzuki. A racers dream comes true.

There’s plenty of parking at the facility for trucks and trailers alike and the price to ride all day is under $30 (at the time of this writing). Overnight trailer camping is available for those who want to ride two or more days in a row.

Track configurations and hours vary by season. Practice racing goes in cycles by class as posted on their website. To find out the details visit www.wideopensportsarena.com SR!

PT/Winter 04

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