Changes for the Glen Helen AMA National MX in September: new tower, new hill, new track layout
Glen Helen Raceway unveiled its plans for the 2006 Glen Helen AMA
National track. Glen Helen will invest over $300,000 on track
improvements before the September 10, 2006, race. These changes include:
NEW TOWER: A totally new three-story scoring tower will replace the old
wooden tower. The new tower will include observation decks, bathrooms,
announcer’s booth (with tilted glass windows) and a TV platform on the
NEW HILL: Glen Helen is the hilliest track on the AMA National circuit
and that reputation will only be reinforced by the addition of Mt.
Whitney, named after the late Whitney Murphy. For those unfamiliar with
Glen Helen’s four tracks (two outdoor and two Supercross), Mt. Whitney
is located on the REM track – which means that for the first-time ever
the AMA National track will cross over the hill behind the scoring
tower and go up to the top of the farthest ridge before coming back
down, via a very steep drop-off, onto the infamous muddy straight. Mt.
Whitney will join Shoei Hill, Mt. Saint Helen and Yamaha Hill. The best
thing is that the track will flow up and over the two valleys that
composed Glen Helen’s natural terrain.
NEW LAYOUT: The addition of Mt. Whitney into the track means that
spectators will have more choices of things to watch–as the old Budds
Creek section, and its scary whoop section, has been retired (for the
time being), but in its place is a new super step-up jump that will
launch the riders from the ground floor of the National track up onto
the REM pits. The Budds Creek section and the 110-foot-long tabletop
will be used for RV parking on the National weekend.
FENCING: Track designer Jody Weisel has met with the AMA’s Steve
Whitelock (and John Ayers) several times in the past couple months to
work out the details of the track fencing, which will incorporate the
AMA’s new plastic track barriers (much like the yellow plastic poles
used at freeway gore points). The use of these special plastic track
markers (2500 of them will be used at Glen Helen this year) will make
it possible to cut down on the number of hay bales and provide for an
special access road completely around the track for the Asterisk Mobile
Medical Mule. Glen Helen spends $30,000 on track fencing every year.
MEDICAL UNITS: Not only will Asterisk be providing a medical unit at
the National (as they do at every AMA race), but Glen Helen will have
its own mobile medical unit (located by the tower) and four separate
EMT crews station strategically around the track. In addition, Glen
Helen is in the planning stages of outfitting their own “Emergency Care
Center” with X-ray machines, oxygen, doctors and nurses to stabilize
and care for both riders and spectators. The Glen Helen care center
will be located in a permanent building and staffed by emergency trauma
TEST RACES: The 2006 National track will have four test races before
the National. The first was the World Four-Stroke Championship–which
was the first race to blend the National and REM tracks together. The
second test race was the Prequel–which not only put all the hills into
play, but was used to test the new fencing plan and ambulance road.
Jody and Steve Whitelock worked on track details right up until the day
before the race. The Yamaha Dealer Series will use a modified version
of the National track–with the jumps toned down. And, one race (to be
named at a later date) will be run just before the September National
to finalize all the changes.
RACE TRACK SCHEDULE: It should be noted that unlike most East Coast
National tracks Glen Helen Raceway holds 100 races a year (two weeks
ago Glen Helen raced on Saturday and Sunday, Monday and Tuesday (Police
and Fire Olympics), had practice on Thursday and raced again on
Saturday and Sunday (an ATV race). That is six races in nine days.
Plus, Glen Helen is open year round – since San Bernardino, California,
only has two seasons, Summer and Windy, it is open over 150 days a year
(and when it isn’t open it is rented by the factories for pre-pro
testing of the factory teams).
Info courtesy Glen Helen Raceway