I was facing another frigid winter in the Midwest and it was time to put my bike into winter storage when I got a call from a buddy of mine who asked me if I would like to come along and check out a new indoor motocross track in Racine, Wisconsin. “New indoor track?” I asked.
He told me that there is a new indoor track that was still being built, but that we could ride and test a few of the sections that had been finished. A few days later we headed out on a cold, grey afternoon. It looked like it was going to snow and I was having a hard time believing that I would be riding in an hour as the sun was going down and the weather got worse.
We arrived at Racine Indoor Motocross (RIMX), a 104,000 square foot retired book factory. We parked and met up with Scott Hansen, the facility General Manager, and Brad Lorenz the head designer and builder. Scott and Brad are Midwest natives and both have a lifelong interest and commitment to the sport of motocross. Scott has worked in many motorcycle shops in the area prior to running his own and Brad Lorenz designs and builds private tracks locally. In fact, one of the best and most fun summer tracks in the area zigzags around the front yard of their house. Brad takes a lot of pride in his work and there is an artistic quality to every track he builds.
Walking into the facility we were confronted with a huge U-shaped building. I was told the deal to use the old book factory came together in the spring of 2010. The track is planning to open to the public this Winter and there was talk of hosting races as soon as early Spring. The main track was about one third finished when we visited and I noticed they had already built a separate pee wee track ready for the little guys to shred on too. The old book building itself is massive and allows building a wide track with plenty of passing. The quad-wide track will also allow sessions for 4 wheelers. The creative layout also includes some built-in, forced split lane situations making the wide track feel even roomier. Another big surprise was the inclusion of elevation changes on the track. By building on top of the original factory layout and taking advantage of the arena-height ceilings, they were able to build the track over interior walls to create high and low areas. The dirt is truly first-class, great Midwestern soil that is pulverized and worked to make it the best track surface possible. The finished main track will have a real-deal starting gate and full first turn along with a sixty-five foot triple jump, tabletops, and some fun doubles too. Along with various rhythm sections, the track has a serious set of whoops, a mix of different berms, and one off camber turn. The Pro lap times will be about one minute long.
The track has a great flow and is exciting and challenging to ride, but perhaps more importantly, it also feels safe. Some small tracks can become tight and dangerous in racing situations. The RIMX staff has fully addressed the safety factors and designed a full-size indoor track that is uncompromised. The location in Racine puts the track in a historic small town on the shores of Lake Michigan in southern Wisconsin, with a population of about 85,000. The downtown area and hotels are on the waterfront and within walking distance of the track for those tempted to stay overnight and ride a couple of days. If you only have an afternoon, RIMX is an easy drive from most major Midwest cities. From Racine, it is thirty miles to Milwaukee and only about sixty miles to Chicago.
For more info you can reach RIMX at (262) 237-2921, or online at www.RacineIMX.com. Racine Indoor Motocross is located at 1130 Water St., Racine, WI. 53407.
I am already thinking I will miss riding this indoor track when the sun finally does come back out here in the Midwest. For now though, there are a few months of winter still ahead and I’ll see you in Racine! – Justin Vandenberg