INMAN – The screaming whine of engines, the haze of dust in the air and the taste dirt were all the sense could handle Sunday at the Inman Motocross Track.
As upwards of 30 racers flew around the track on motorcycles and quads, everyone was preparing for the upcoming racing season, which kicks off in Inman with a bike series race on March 29.
On May 31, a National Motosport Association qualifier will be held there, and on Sept. 27 an ATV race will take place.
Brad Thiessen, president of the Inman Motocross Track, said hosting three sanctioned races a year is pretty good, especially considering the track just got rejuvenated in 2007.
“We flattened what was there and started over,” he said.
Thiessen said the track has been a riding area since the 1970s, and in the mid-1990s, it became a real motocross track.
But the Inman raceway really came into its own in the past couple years, and riders from around the area recognized it recently by naming it the “Central Kansas Motocross Series 2008 Track of The Year.”
“It was a pretty big deal,” Thiessen said. “We tried to build a fun, safe track, and I think it turned out that way.”
Those casting votes in the award selection process had to have ridden at every track in the series, which includes a total of five tracks in the area.
The Inman Motocross Track is a not-for-profit corporation.
“All the money that comes in goes right back into the track,” Thiessen said.
Money is raised primarily through track memberships, which cost $100 a year and gets you a key to unlock the gate so you could ride any time.
That price drops significantly, however, if you are an Inman resident. Then it only costs $10 a year.
Thiessen said the price difference was implemented in an attempt to get more people to move to Inman.
“The track is open to members only,” he said.
Of course, members can bring guests in for $10 a day per guest rider.
“It’s popular to bring guests in,” Thiessen said. “Some guests turn into members.”
Thiessen said they have members for all over, but primarily members are from the area.
“It’s mainly central Kansas,” he said.
Thiessen said track riders must wear helmets and appropriate safety equipment. The rules are posted on the gate.
“No one has an excuse anymore for not knowing the rules,” he said.
On any given day, Thiessen said the number of riders enjoying the track could vary depending upon the weather and how soon the next race is going to take place.
On race days, though, Thiessen said the numbers grow a lot, especially considering that each racer can enter in multiple race classes.
“For the bike races, we usually have 300 entries,” he said. “We’ve had 500 to 600 through the gate. It’s a pretty big event for Inman.”
Races within the series don’t take place during the hottest months, Thiessen said.
“It’s mainly spring and then some in the fall,” he said. “Summer is slower.”
For riders wanting to get in a little extra time in a race format, Thiessen said they host prep-track practices for small entry fees.
“It’s an organized practice with a prepared track,” he said, “and we’ll probably do two or three of those this year. We feel three events, plus two or three practices a year, is enough to maintain the track adequately.”
Thiessen said one of the appeals of holding events at the Inman track is the park that it resides in, which allows for children to go play if they want during race days.
“It’s definitely a family atmosphere,” he said. “Everybody watches out or themselves. It’s worked out well.”
The City of Inman deserves the credit for keeping everything in good shape, Thiessen said.
“They do all the mowing and maintaining of the grounds, which is very helpful,” he said.
The future looks bright for the Inman Motocross Track, and Thiessen said plans are underway to install a circle track east of the motocross track that will allow for Sprint Kart races in the Outlaw series, as well as in the Micro and 3/4 Midget Sprint Cars. It would be a 1/5-mile track.
“We’ve already got approval from the city council to move forward with that,” he said.
Any new construction won’t interfere with the current track, Thiessen said.
Eventually, Thiessen said, he would like to implement permanent bathroom facilities and RV hookups.
“That will be our next major project,” he said.
The most noticeable change to be seen as of now, though, is the new logo and sign, which will be hung on the gate eventually.
Thiessen said the logo was designed after he contacted the Inman High School art class and asked the students to come up with a new design.
Haley Garst came through with the Inman Motocross logo.
Thiessen said he became involved with the track because he has been interested in riding and racing since he was 5 years old but didn’t have the opportunity to do much because there was not track in the Inman area.
“That’s what motivates me – giving the people the opportunity to learn it,” he said. “Growing up its something I always wanted to do but never had the resources to do it.”
Now his entire family rides.
Thiessen’s wife, Amy, rides bikes and ATVs, while 11-year-old Blaine and 5-year-old Brenton also ride.
“Since the kids were able to ride, we’ve been riding,” Brand Thiessen said.
Thiessen isn’t running the Inman track alone. Other board members include Vice President Lou Bate, of Inman; Secretary David Brunk, of Buhler; and Treasurer Dave Thiessen, of Inman.
Thiessen said the track as it is today wouldn’t have been possible without designer and fabricator Tim Holden. Josh Bohanan also contributed.
Foley Equipment also helped.
“That was definitely a big player,” Thiessen said.
Track sponsors include Louie’s Service Center, Foley Rental, Stream Line, Midwest Powersports, Piping Technology, Mid Kansas Machine, Diesel Pickup Specialists, Rickners Cycles and Outlaw Cycles.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story and photo package appeared in the Feb. 26, 2009 edition of The Ledger, during which time The Vogts held the title of editor.