_SOU6913By John Basher

The big news this week is the arrival of the European stars to Charlotte Motor Speedway for round 17 of the MXGP series. Tim Gajser and crew will be up against a strong contingent of U.S. stars in the likes of Eli Tomac and other boys of Uncle Sam. Justin Barclay and his staff are in the process of completing the one-mile long “SuperCourse” at The Dirt Track, which is on the Charlotte Motor Speedway grounds. Today, I made the ten-minute drive over to the Speedway to watch former NASCAR driver, Scott Riggs, break in the track. I walked the entire course, and while I’ll hold any strong opinions until the track is complete and the racing has finished, I can offer up a few thoughts.

For starters, the first turn is going to be intense. “But John, every first turn is intense,” you’ll say. You’re right, but the one at Charlotte has a slight downhill, a fairly long straight, and then a sweeping 90-degree left bank turn that follows the concrete wall for quite a ways. It’s going to be fast for the racers and exhilarating for the spectators. The track surface is somewhat varied, with red clay and dirt. I can’t in good faith say that the soil is great, but the crew has been sifting through to pull rocks and dump truckloads of water. As for the layout, parts of the track are a bit narrow, but there’s a nice variety of obstacles that should wow crowds and be fun for racers. Instead of going on and on about the track, form your own opinions with the pictures I took Tuesday afternoon at The Dirt Track.

_SOU6872Mark (far right) from North Carolina Motorsports Park offered up his 40-man starting gate to Charlotte Motor Speedway. They were busy getting it laid down and ready for Friday afternoon.

_SOU6874The soil is a mixture, with good clay and some not so good soil.

_SOU6894Former NASCAR driver, Scott Riggs, powered through the exit of the first turn. The start is going to be very fast.

_SOU6898This picture shows the long first turn sweeper, which goes to a two-pack of rollers.

_SOU6868You can see the two rollers on the left side in this picture. Then there’s a left-hand turn, followed by a big double with a steep face.

_SOU6902There’s a unique stair step section that could be tricky once it ruts up.

_SOU6917The dozer is sitting at the bottom of the slope, with the start gate up on a terrace. In the foreground is a set of whoops that begin after the track crosses perpendicular to the start straight.

_SOU6948Scott Riggs used to race Amateur motocross and did Loretta Lynn’s. Then he turned his attention to four wheelers, where he did well. Scott’s dad figured that he should put Scott in a car. Riggs went on to have a lucrative career. These days he continues to ride motocross for fun.

_SOU6937There’s a sizable step-up jump that will shoot riders from the Dirt Track to the upper terrace.

_SOU6934The track crew has been putting down enough water on the track to fill up Lake Norman. Yes, that’s an exaggeration, but you get the point.

_SOU6909A look down from the step-up jump.

_SOU6905The mechanic’s structure on the left is still being set up. This is one of the few sections of track that spectators won’t get to see much of if sitting in the 15,000-seat grandstands.

_SOU6919This jump is situated after the riders drop back down into the lower level.   _SOU6932Scott Riggs styles.

_SOU6967This tabletop is located in front of the grandstands. It has a good lip, meaning that quite a few riders should get sideways over it. 

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