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Southwick Motocross 338 Update 1/10/14

TheWick338

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Posts: 3

Joined: 8/11/2013

Location: Southwick, MA USA

1/10/2014 11:07 AM
Edited Date/Time: 1/10/2014 5:57 PM

Southwick, MA (January 10, 2014)

With the New Year brought the beginning of the new lease for Motocross 338 and the beginning of a new chapter in the long history of the legendary motocross track in Southwick Massachusetts. Michael Grondahl, the new lease holder, could finally begin moving forward on his quest to return the ‘Wick to its former glory as one of the premier motocross facilities in the country.

Mike began racing at the ‘Wick in 1979 with the NESC and earned his AMA Pro Motocross license in 1981. He has been passionately involved in the sport ever since. Mike was a talented motocross racer but it turns out he is a better businessman. He is the co-founder and former CEO of Planet Fitness, one of the partners of the GEICO Honda team as well as Alias MX and owns several businesses outside the motocross industry. His lifelong passion for motocross combined with his business success and acumen makes him a perfect steward to guide Motocross 338 into the future and develop it into a world-class facility.

With the change in lease holders, a number of minor issues were expected however it has also brought one unforeseen challenge. There have been a lot of rumors and speculation regarding the status of the track with many pronouncing Southwick DOA. That is simply not true. Near the end of 2013, it was discovered that about one acre of the pit area is on property owned by the school next door. That one acre completely blocks access to the pits.

The previous lease for Motocross 338 did not end until December 31st 2013, therefore Mike was unable to do any work on the track or facility, do anything to address the land issue or work with the NESC and NEMX to schedule races until after January 1st 2014. He has however, purchased several pieces of heavy equipment and has been working on putting together a team to reconfigure and rebuild the track, update the facilities and run the events.

On January 8th, Mike met with officials from the town of Southwick and the school. The meeting was generally positive and the school officials were very supportive of allowing Motocross 338 to lease the one acre of land to allow access to the pits.

In the past, due to the limited spectator parking available at the facility for the Southwick National, Motocross 338 partnered with the school which provided parking on school property for the event. It was a win-win for Motocross 338 and the school because there was plenty of temporary spectator parking for the National and it gave the school additional income for education. However the decision to enter into a long-term lease for the one acre of school property is ultimately up to the Southwick town officials.

The next meeting with town and school officials is set for January 27th. If the land issue is resolved at that meeting, work will begin as soon as the ink is dry on the land lease with the school.

The reality at this point is if an agreement is reached quickly, there will likely be time to hold a few races later in 2014. Since the scheduling of NESC and NEMX races could not wait for this issue to be resolved, it is hoped they will be able to fit at least one Southwick event into their 2014 schedules with a return to a normal schedule in 2015. If there are additional delays it is possible there won’t be any races until 2015.

Mike is optimistic an agreement will be reached with the town and is currently negotiating with another adjacent land owner to either enter into a long-term lease or to purchase 30 acres of land. If the deal comes to fruition there will be plenty of room for expansion of the facility. What this means for the future of Motocross 338 is with the additional 30 acres plus the continued partnership with the school for spectator parking, the sky is the limit. Among the goals Mike has set for 2015 and beyond is to restore Southwick to the NESC and NEMX schedules, bring the AMA National back to Southwick, host a round of the USGP and host the MXoN. In addition, he has many ideas to bring some big one-off motocross events to the iconic track.

Another status update will be released shortly after the January 27th meeting with Southwick officials.

Trav138

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Location: PA, USA

1/10/2014 11:26 AM

Hope it all works out,sounds like Mike is the right guy to get it done.

IWreckALot

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Location: Fort Worth, TX USA

1/10/2014 11:37 AM

The way DC has commented before, it seemed like he enjoyed the previous owners and felt a bit of loyalty towards them. And that is why he didn't put another national round there. I know Mike wants to have a national there. He seems to have good business skills and deep pockets. But he's only half of the equation. Southwick was the one track that I really looked forward to watching more than the rest all season. Even in the hurricane weather that was about to hit a couple of years ago. It's such a unique track on the circuit. It would be sweet to see it come back.

part-timer

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Location: CT, USA

1/10/2014 11:37 AM

Best news I've heard all day.

FreshTopEnd

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Location: Sacramento, CA USA

1/10/2014 11:40 AM

Very good to hear!

@ftemoto


motogrady

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Location: Terra Alta, WV USA

1/10/2014 11:44 AM

Effin' right.

Hat's off to this guy Mike, who looks to be saving one of the trademark tracks in the USA.

Hut

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Location: ND, USA

1/10/2014 11:46 AM

That's great. I hope he is able to reach his every one of his goals at Southwick!

Joko

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Location: Cromwell, CT USA

1/10/2014 11:47 AM

Nice! Can't wait to see / use the new facilities!

TX24

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Location: San Antonio, TX USA

1/10/2014 11:55 AM

Some good news.

KTMShane699

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Location: Colchester, CT USA

1/10/2014 11:59 AM

IWreckALot wrote: The way DC has commented before, it seemed like he enjoyed the previous owners and felt a bit of loyalty towards them. And that is why he didn't put another national round there. I know Mike wants to have a national there. He seems to have good business skills and deep pockets. But he's only half of the equation. Southwick was the one track that I really looked forward to watching more than the rest all season. Even in the hurricane weather that was about to hit a couple of years ago. It's such a unique track on the circuit. It would be sweet to see it come back.

While DC may have felt loyalty to the previous owners, he also most definitely has a loyalty to money. He's a businessman, don't forget that. He has deep interest in the sport. But the way national tracks have gone away and new ones added, it really seems like they go to the highest bidders. The new lease holders for Southwick have the money to invest in the facility, and the sport. Having a top notch facility will go a long way towards securing another national at Southwick. Couple that with a strong sense of business and a sound financial sheet and you have little in the way of securing that national that we all desire.

Food for thought,
Shane

COAL-TRAIN

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Location: Harbor City, CA USA

1/10/2014 12:01 PM

Awesome...honestly the old managers misleading letters and actions have been annoying!
Glad to see someone like Mike realizes what an awesome track it can be and has the vision to get it back up to shape.

I expect to have a very short posting career.

GoonSquad250x

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Location: GA, USA

1/10/2014 1:38 PM

Great news!! Hope he brings in a lot of new sand!!!! Or cuts out a whole new track since the other track has been carried away after years of bikes coming & going

Show me someone without and ego, and I'll show you a loser.

andyplaysdrums

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1/10/2014 1:54 PM

part-timer wrote: Best news I've heard all day.

For sure!

Headshake

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Location: Hartford, CT USA

1/10/2014 4:47 PM
Edited Date/Time: 1/10/2014 4:48 PM

Very pleased to hear this. Thanks for letting us know what I going on with the track.

Sir Roostsalot

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Location: Meriden, CT USA

1/10/2014 5:44 PM

Great news!! A lot of people don't know how much mx-338 has given to the Southwick community. Proceeds have been donated to local charities and youth sports groups etc ever since it opened in 1972. Unless there has been a major change in town officials I can't imagine they wouldn't embrace the same thing for future generations. Not to mention the economic benefit of upwards of 1000 racers spending money in the town on Sundays.

Motoxtombo

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Location: Holyoke, MA USA

1/10/2014 5:44 PM

Very Cool, Thats great news

My photo gallery: www.pbase.com/thomasef

mtl

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1/10/2014 6:01 PM

Sir Roostsalot wrote: Great news!! A lot of people don't know how much mx-338 has given to the Southwick community. Proceeds have been donated to local charities and youth sports groups etc ever since it opened in 1972. Unless there has been a major change in town officials I can't imagine they wouldn't embrace the same thing for future generations. Not to mention the economic benefit of upwards of 1000 racers spending money in the town on Sundays.

1000 racers on Sundays? No NESC race in the past 5 years has had 1000 entries, much less 1000 different riders. Maybe 800 entries for the season opener or the last few races this year. (655 entries for the last Southwick on Oct 27)

Average number of entries was always around 300-500. Which is still a huge turnout compared to what happens in NorCal.

Sir Roostsalot

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1/10/2014 7:25 PM

Sir Roostsalot wrote: Great news!! A lot of people don't know how much mx-338 has given to the Southwick community. Proceeds have been donated to local charities and youth sports groups etc ever since it opened in 1972. Unless there has been a major change in town officials I can't imagine they wouldn't embrace the same thing for future generations. Not to mention the economic benefit of upwards of 1000 racers spending money in the town on Sundays.

mtl wrote: 1000 racers on Sundays? No NESC race in the past 5 years has had 1000 entries, much less 1000 different riders. Maybe 800 entries for the season opener or the last few races this year. (655 entries for the last Southwick on Oct 27)

Average number of entries was always around 300-500. Which is still a huge turnout compared to what happens in NorCal.

Listen here Mr Know it all: I was racing Southwick when you were still wet behind the ears. I was off the coast of Baghdad when you were still in your Dads bag. Everyone knows turnouts at the races are down. Whose side are you on anyways? I'm sure everyone is super impressed with your knowledge of sign up numbers but I hate to tell you any idiot knows there down because of a bad economy. I think you missed the point of my post. And when the day comes that your second 250 expert moto leaves the gate at 7:30pm and it's almost dark, you can spout off all your experience!!

mtl

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1/10/2014 7:43 PM

Sorry Gramps.

Your sales pitch to the town officials has numbers that are false and I simply pointed that out. You go in front of a town board and start quoting inflated statistics and they ask you for proof, your ship has sunk.

I'm on the side of accurately representing what the track does for the town and not creating a set of false expectations that will lead to disappointment and long term problems with the town board you misled..

Sir Roostsalot

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1/10/2014 7:54 PM

The town officials in Sourhwick obviously know a hell of a lot more about the history of the track and what it has done for the town than you ever will.

PressPassP

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Location: Ipswich, GBR

1/11/2014 2:59 AM

Good news,a crying shame if that place didn't run,personally I think the AMA circuit could do with more of the diverse venues

I thought the new track in the series last year was great and offered something a little different, I can't remember the name of it off the top of my head anyone?

(I also regret my username,funny at the time "you had to be there..")

Vet57

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Location: WEST MASS, MA USA

1/11/2014 4:43 AM

Right On! This iconic place needs to keep keeping on for so many reasons. Let's hope the people that can make it happen get it done smoothly! Magical place if you grew up racing there....

"A rule is a rule and without rules, there is Chaos"....Cosmo Kramer

DC

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1/11/2014 6:20 AM
Edited Date/Time: 1/11/2014 6:21 AM

KTMShane699, no national has ever been "up for bid." The entire series was up for bid and DMG won. Now MX Sports is running the series and we had a longterm business relationship with the previous promoters and when they retired, that was the end of our business relationship with MX338. We will watch and wait and see what happens with Southwick, it appears to be in good hands and sounds like a rebuild is soon to be underway. That's great news for both local racing and the potential to return some day.

I wish Mike all the luck and success in the world and hope to see some big races down the road there. Everyone in New England should be pumped that Mike is now responsible and has a vision for the future.

DC
MX Sports

Wahtash

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Location: Avon, CT USA

1/11/2014 6:55 AM

This is good news. It seems to contradict rumors that have been circulating. As this is my new "local" track it would be great to have it active. If nothing else this area of the country just needs more places to ride.

Mickolobe7

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1/11/2014 7:05 AM

That is awesome news!

I think they should call it Newick!

Stewart is always going to be the champ!

08 CRF450R and my sons 06 PW50

Fast Orange

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1/11/2014 8:33 AM

Mike is one of the many folks in New England that has considered Southwick as their "backyard", as the track means more to us than most. Yes, we have many excellent tracks like Hemonds, Jolly, and Central, but Southwick taught all of us how to be fast on those tracks, not to mention how many positive things it's produced for the sport (Bernie's falling starting gate). To watch them turn the lights out was heartbreaking, and even more troubling was to NOT see any dates on the schedule for NESC.

But when I heard Mike was going to be involved, I knew things were about to change, and although Ralph & Dianne did an awesome job for so many years and we certainly appreciate those efforts, but, well, it was time. Mike will be successful in his goals because that's the kind of guy he is. He also has the capital & resources to make it happen. And hopefully he will not overlook some of those resources, like the fans & racers that can help him.

It is my hope that any town meetings, or petitions that are floating around will be announced so we can help out in that area. Fundraisers should also be considered at the reunions, and big races. And don't forget all the manpower, and equipment that local racers use for their daily bread & butter. I personally have some equipment that I wouldn't hesitate to use.
I look forward to watching the progression of a "World Class Facility", and would gladly help in any way I could.

Talk aint shit unless you back it up.

dedi684

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Location: Ravena, NY USA

1/11/2014 8:56 AM
Edited Date/Time: 1/11/2014 9:07 AM

Out with the old in with the new. The only reason they ruined the joint in the first place was to satisfy the requirements for parking etc. At the nationals. And while were at it lets cut down all the shade trees so the track no longer retains any moisture and then subsequently blows. The promoters retire and nationals pull out and we're left with shit. Hopefully mike can turn things around.

hellion

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Location: Westfield, MA USA

1/11/2014 10:13 AM

That is great news. Thank you Mike for saving the dream for so many kids who have fewer and fewer places to ride and race!

watson

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1/11/2014 12:58 PM

Southwick is in great hands; Mike obviously has some great business sense given his past success. Hopefully a return to the series is due in 2016!

Travis707

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1/11/2014 1:10 PM

DC wrote: KTMShane699, no national has ever been "up for bid." The entire series was up for bid and DMG won. Now MX Sports is running the series and we had a longterm business relationship with the previous promoters and when they retired, that was the end of our business relationship with MX338. We will watch and wait and see what happens with Southwick, it appears to be in good hands and sounds like a rebuild is soon to be underway. That's great news for both local racing and the potential to return some day.

I wish Mike all the luck and success in the world and hope to see some big races down the road there. Everyone in New England should be pumped that Mike is now responsible and has a vision for the future.

DC
MX Sports

DC, I don’t claim to know anything about the inner workings of MX Sports, business or otherwise, so I can only go upon what I read, see and hear then form an opinion based upon that information.

I really didn’t want to get involved in this discussion but, with all due respect, I really have to take issue with what you continue to publicly repeat: “…we had a longterm business relationship with the previous promoters and when they retired, that was the end of our business relationship with MX338.”

MX338, as a business entity, still exists. The American Legion Post 338 still exists. The Southwick motocross facility still exists. Beside Ralph and Diane, the people who helped run the local and National events are still around. Just because the temporary promoters, Ralph and Diane, decided to retire, that should have nothing to do with ending the business relationship with MX338, yet you continue to link the two together. That is analogous to saying after 10 years you stopped doing business with the local Honda dealership simply because the General Manager, whom you had a good business relationship with, decided to retire. Most reasonable people would give the new GM a chance to prove themselves and then, at a later date, make a rational business decision based upon the performance of the new GM and the dealership as a whole.

Mike Grondahl is the new temporary (10 + years) promoter of MX338. I don’t understand why you didn’t make any effort to work with him and give him a fair shot at proving himself. Surely with what he brings to the table combined with guidelines for promoting a National from you and MX Sports, the Southwick National would go on without most people even realizing there was a change in promoters. If you had given him, for example, a 2 year deal to prove himself and he failed then you have a valid argument for ending the business relationship with him, but NOT MX338. Are you saying Elsinore, Pala and MMP were better events than Southwick or Glen Helen? I put forth that within a short period of time, people would actually notice an improvement at Southwick based upon what Mike brings to the table.

The way it appears to me is with Ralph and Diane retiring, that was a convenient excuse to move the National to another venue. You say no national has ever been “up for bid” but that statement appears to be a way to divert attention away from the fact that you have a controlling interest in the Indiana National whereas you had none at Southwick. To that point, of all the “new” national tracks, how many do you and MX Sports have control over?

I suspect you would point to Glen Helen as an example of having no control over a track. However, it appears from the outside, you put Glen Helen back on the National schedule as a PR move after the fiasco Nationals to take the heat off of you and MX Sports.

From what I understand, one of your issues was that Southwick lacked adequate land and parking. If Mike makes the deal to acquire the 30 acres on the back side of the pits, land-wise, that would certainly match any other National track on the circuit, would it not? But again, you never gave Mike a chance to make it happen. Even if it didn’t happen, how is it that the Southwick National has been a success for so many years with a facility that is not large enough? Could it have anything to do with the fact that the money for spectator parking went to the school and none went to MX Sports?

A lot of people don’t seem to realize that MX Sports does not own the rights to AMA Pro Racing; Daytona Motorsport Group (DMG) does. MX Sports has the lease for the next 3 years so no matter how great of a track and facility Mike creates, it is solely up to you if Southwick gets the National back that in my opinion should never have been taken away in the first place. I believe it was your sister who stated Southwick will never have a National again. You have since said, we’ll see how it goes. That’s a convenient way to side-step the issue. It appears it’s just all about money and control.

A benevolent dictator is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact it can be very good for the people under the dictators rule. However, when that benevolence turns to greed it can be nothing but bad. I see you as being in the role of “motocross dictator”.

A few years ago, Steve “TFS” Bruhn (rest in peace, brother) began to publicly refer to you as “The Octopus” because you had your tentacles in everything. Frankly, at the time, I thought he was losing it because everything you were doing at the time appeared to be great for the sport. I was a fan and supported what you were doing. However, it did make me think. Since that time, however, many changes have been made to motocross and many of them were simply bad for the sport.

The bottom line, as I see it, is you and MX Sports are the temporary manager of OUR National Motocross Series. You do not own it… you lease it temporarily… and when your tenancy is up, it should be better than when you took over. Therefore you should be held accountable when you make decisions which appear to be based upon what is best for MX Sports financial bottom line and not what is best for the sport of motocross. It’s up to you if you choose to be benevolent or greedy. By all appearances, Steve Bruhn was right.

I look forward to your reply.

Travis
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