Future of Short Course Racing
THE HISTORY OF SHORT COURSE RACING
Where Do We Go From Here?
Back in the 1970’s the future of all off-road racing looked rather dim as more and more open land was being closed off due to environmentalist pressuring Washington DC with their unproven scientific facts. In fact things looked so bad that a statement made in The Off-Road Racer (1976) by Norman R Johnson and Gordon Grimmis predicted, “We feel by 1979 that 95 percent of the off-road races will be held on short-courses or the more confining closed-course circuits. Its the only course left open.” Fortunately for desert racers that prediction did not totally come about. The part of the prediction that is good for off-roaders is this new form of motor sport was on the rise to ensure off-road racings future.
Back when Mickey Thompson first opened his Riverside event he felt all the sport needed was a place to display “the greatest show in the desert” to the general public. His gut feeling was that if fans only had to travel a few miles and have some of the necessary amenities that they wouldn’t mind paying a few dollars for the entertainment. Today’s events are a far cry from the original concepts where fans mostly brought their lawn chairs and provided their own refreshments. Today’s specialty built venues provide fans with grandstand seating and a manufacturer’s midway offering ready made off-road products as well as concession stands serving food and drinks. For those not able to attend the events they can take in all the racing action from the comfort of their own living room via professional TV productions.
History shows that Chuchua’s Riverside event proved fans would pay to watch this unique form of off-road racing. Like all evolutionary things it has grown from a figure-eight track into a well organized format that thrills fans at major venues, at local events across America, and around the globe. There were many others that contributed to its growth. One might say Chuchua planted the seed that Mickey Thompson watered and nurtured into a unique form of motorsports. And once the sport’s roots took hold others like, Vic Wilson, Rolly Yocum, Marty Reid, Jim Baldwin, Forest Lucas, Robby Gordon and many, many more like them were able to see the fruit of this endeavor and nurtured the sport’s growth into an international phenomenon. See you at the races.