PHOTOS OF THE GLEN HELEN GRAND PRIX MOTOCROSS TRACK:
Brit Justin Barclay celebrating his newly found American roots.
It is no secret that Glen Helen was working on the AMA 250/450 National track, when the contract talks with the Nationals hit a snag. That snag was that MX Sports refused to give Glen Helen more than a one-year contract, meanwhile they had visited Pala Raceway (about 80 miles south of Glen Helen) several times. It seemed obvious to Glen Helen that MX Sports was just okey-doking them so that Pala would have another year to get ready to take Glen Helen’s date in 2011. There were other issues of accountability, but, in essence, Glen Helen didn’t want to be pawn in MX Sports business moves. If MX Sports didn’t want to race at Glen Helen, they didn’t have to?because somebody else wanted to race there. Glen Helen dropped off the AMA schedule at the exact moment that the British Grand Prix had troubles with the horse racing facility in Chepstow that they planned to use on the exact same day (May 30). Thus, Glen Helen took England’s date on the World Championship schedule. So, this weekend’s USGP is really the British GP also.
For Glen Helen, the USGP track wasn’t a major issue, MXA‘s Jody Weisel had already designed the track, started on the fencing and had moved all the dirt into place (in fact, a track map had been submitted to MX Sports back in January for the National layout). No changes were made to the Glen Helen USGP map or layout (apart from removing the word “National” and putting “FIM USGP” at the top of the drawing).
This was the original AMA National map. Only the name has been changed to protect the innocent.
With three days to go before the USGP, the finishing touches are being put on every aspect of the track by Karl Scanlon, Greg Atkins and Justin Barclay. And Glen Helen’s new two-story mechanic’s area (which they will ship to Lakewood, Colorado, after the USGP for the MXDN) is the biggest motocross track structure in the USA. It will be shipped back to Glen Helen after the MXDN for the next USGP and eventually used at the 2013 Glen Helen Motocross des Nations. For more info go to www.glenhelen.com.
JGR’s Josh Grant came out to Glen Helen Friday to test some track obstacles before the Grand Prix. Josh’s test was a success and the track is now officially race-ready. This is Josh hitting the take-off of the Triple Step-Up.
This is Josh coming out of the sky on the landing of the Triple Step-Up.
Red Bull brought in sod and grass for their hospitality area. There is a pool on whether or not the 95-degree SoCal weather will kill it before the end of the GP.
The small piles of dirt on the sides of the track are to support the Red Bull arch, which goes over the finish line jump. Glen Helen’s two-story scoring tower is in the background.
The Red Bull arch goes up at the finish line.
This is the first turn from the top of Talladega. The two-story mechanic’s signaling area is on the right with the pit area behind it. The banking on Talladega is 45 degrees. It is very steep and almost impossible to walk up.
The victory podium is on the left and the Red Bull hospitality center is being constructed in the foreground.
From the second turn you can see the banking on Talladega and the camelback jump right out of the wide open first turn.
1970 Trans-AMA Champion Dave Nicoll is the track director for the FIM. Dave was at the last USGP at Glen Helen back in 1992 (and it is the 40th anniversary of his Trans-AMA victory on a BSA).
The triple step-up is on the left. It leads to a right-hand uphill turn that goes to the top of Mt. Whitney (where dirt is piled up to make the riders visible from the other side of the track). The riders come down the right side of Whitney (not the downhill that is visible in the photo). The big step-down jump back to the floor of Glen Helen is on the right.
This pulled back view shows the Mt. Whitney downhill in the background (right side).
The Grand Prix promoters couldn’t bring their two-story mechanic’s area to the USA, so Glen Helen and Lakewood went in on replicating it for the USGP and the MXDN. It will be used at those two races and then stored until next year. It is 180 feet long. You don’t want to know how much it cost.
The finished product.
Karl Scanlon is the King of the Cats.
The red, white and blue starting gate is in honor of the American riders, but the French will feel right at home behind it.
Instead of repeater banners with sponsors logos on them (that block the spectator’s view of the action), Glen Helen is using see-through nylon fence to delineate the track’s neutral zone.
Glen Helen from above. The pits are on the bottom left, with the National track on the left side of the photo and the REM track on the right. For the USGP, parts of both tracks will be used.