SOUTHWICK IS SAVED, BUT THE AMA NATIONAL IS LONG GONE
After the highly publicize negotiations to keep Southwick open between the former race promoters and the American Legion Post that owns the land failed, MX Sports started looking for a new place to hold the Southwick National date in the future. Rumors say that it will end up in Indiana, but a new powerhouse owner has taken control of Southwick and will keep it open. But, MX Sports says that the National will not return there. No matter what happens with the AMA Nationals, this is good news for New England racers whether the Nationals ever comes back to Southwick or not.
Press release from American Legion Post 338: We have some great news! The legendary sand motocross track at the Southwick American Legion Post 338 is not closing. After months of working overtime, the Legion has finally selected a new partner to help bring our historic facility to a whole new level of performance. After considering 6-7 very qualified potential offers, one offer clearly stood above the rest. The Legion’s board has unanimously selected the offer from Michael Grondahl. Mr. Grondahl has many ties throughout the business world and most importantly he has direct ties to the motocross industry both as an avid past motocross racer and a current partner of the Geico Honda race team. In addition, Mr Grondahl has brought Gary Yellin along as a consultant to his team. Gary is the son of Southwick legend Bernie Yellin, the original founder and successful operator of MX338 for many decades. Our expectations for MX338 are sky high!
Michael Grondahl is the co-founder and former CEO of Planet Fitness, a fitness club chain which he grew from one gym in New Hampshire to the largest fitness chain in the world. Planet Fitness currently has over 675 locations and serves 4.6 million members. This business experience will prove invaluable to support his plans for MX338. But we believe the key to Mike’s future success with MX338 lies in his passion for the sport of motocross. Mike raced his first NESC moto at Southwick in 1979 and earned his AMA professional motocross license in 1981. His grass roots knowledge of motocross and love for the sport made our decision an easy one.
Luckily for MX338, Mr. Grondahl became a better businessman than rider, and over the last 5 years he has proudly been a partner in the Geico Honda race team which boasts numerous AMA 250 championships. This year the Geico team will take a big jump by filling departing 450 rider Kevin Windham’s boots with Eli Tomac, who will race both SX and MX in the 2014 season. In addition to the Geico partnership, Mike recently started the Alias clothing line with longtime industry veteran Jeff Surwall, Jeff Makrzak, and the legendary Factory Connection suspension guru Rick Zielfelder.
Mike Grondahl is obviously a very busy guy and when we asked him what drew him to want to get directly involved in the success of MX338, Mike responded, “The thought of Southwick closing was just not an option that I could sit back and do nothing about. I remember when I was only 15 standing at the fence at the old finish line jump screaming for my hero JoJo Keller. So many motocross legends like Bob Hannah, Doug Henry and John Dowd have graced the sand whoops at Southwick. For me, getting involved was an obvious step for the luckiest guy alive!”
Mike continued, “Very soon we will negotiate Southwick’s 2014 schedule and there are some new ideas that we need to agree upon with the Legion. I want to express my sincere thanks to the Southwick American Legion Post 338 for choosing me and for being absolutely fair and very open-minded to all of the various issues that have surfaced. At the recent Amateur Nationals held at Loretta Lynn’s ranch in Tennessee, Carrie Coombs told me in no uncertain terms there will be no 2014 National held at Southwick and there probably will never be one in the future. American Legion Southwick Post 338 has saved Southwick and it is now my job to bring some big races to this legendary sand track!”