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Canyon Motocross

Greetings from Peoria, Arizona

From the travels and adventures of the 

“World’s #1 Trackchaser”


Canyon Motocross – Track #1,942

 

HighlightsThe EventVideosPhotos

 

 

Just 17 hours

 

 

NGD all the way baby!

 

John Wayne Airport 

That’s a lot of rental car miles!

 

 

Talk about being late to the party!

 

 

What about gas prices?

 

desert off road racing 

I started out as a rookie in desert off-road racing

 

 

The official word was “not so fast” with desert off-road racing

 

follow the rules 

You gotta love the “Randy Rules”

 

 

Chiropractor ads?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just 17 hours.

I woke up this morning at home in San Clemente, California.  Somewhat incredibly I went to sleep at home in San Clemente, California.  This is how my 17-hours away from home went.

 

 

NGD all the way baby!

Today’s trackchasing effort was what I would call a pure “NGD play”.  Since most of you might not know what that means permit me to elaborate.

 

u.s. map 

NGD is an acronym for “National Geographic Diversity”.  The National Geographic Diversity rankings have been around for about ten years.  The NGD is a way of measuring trackchasing results in the United States, i.e. “National”.

 

 

The NGD scoring system measures how “diverse” a trackchaser’s body of work has been in the United States.  We have a large number of “regional” trackchasers.  These folks have seen literally hundreds of tracks in their home state and the states that border their homes.  However, in outlying states across the country there totals are most likely to be less than five tracks per state than anything else.

 

 

Then we have those trackchasers who felt it important to “dip their toe” into as many states as possible.  They may have seen a track in all or nearly all states.  However, their penetration within each state is limited.

 

marraige

The marriage of frequency and geography.

The NGD ranking “marries” up the idea of seeing a lot of tracks within a single state with seeing tracks in a lot of states.  For more information on the NGD scoring system check out this link:

 

 

NGD…the details

 

 

This helped with meeting my 2014 trackchasing goals.

There was another reason for going out of my way to see my 32nd track in Arizona.  One of my 2014 season trackchasing goals is to maintain my lead in 12 of the 13 Far Western states.  I’m so far behind in California it is unlikely I will ever catch up.  However, currently I do have a #1 ranking in the other 12 Far Western states.

 

 

Today I was seeing my 32nd lifetime Arizona track.  In late 2013 I temporarily lost the lead to the “Racing Eckels” in Arizona 30-29.  That was most disturbing.  However, I was able to “rally” and tie them at 30-all by the end of 2013.  I have now seen two Arizona tracks in 2014.  I may even see more Grand Canyon tracks before the quarter and the year wraps up.  I was partially asleep at the Arizona switch when the Eckels snuck up.  I’ve got my eye on them now!

 

Arizona dessert

The logistics are never easy.

The track in Arizona would create a minor logistical challenge.  My current airline sponsorships would prevent me from flying there easily.  On the other hand it would be a 753-mile round-trip drive.  I certainly wouldn’t want to drive MY car that far to see one track.

 

 

I am known as a “flying” trackchaser.  However, in point of fact, I will likely drive more miles myself that any other trackchaser since the days of Ed Esser.

 

 

“O.K., Randy where’s your data on that assertion?” the databased reader might likely ask.  O.K., since that question could have been asked….

 

 

That’s a lot of rental car miles!

For the past five years I have averaged 25,865 miles for trackchasing trips only.  That’s more than 125,000 rental car miles in 5 years.  During that same time period I have driven my own car just 864 miles per year in pursuit of the trackchasing hobby.

 

 

Talk about being late to the party!

About ten years ago I began promoting the idea of renting cars, in lieu of driving a chaser’s personal car when going after tracks.  Initially, those recommendations were debunked.  In the meantime, I’ve read about trackchaser after trackchaser wearing out their personal cars while trackchasing.

 

 

Just this year I noticed that some trackchasers are FINALLY picking up on the idea of renting a car to drive hundreds of miles rather than driving their own car on a trackchasing trip.  Talk about being late to the party.  Folks, some people are just plain stubborn.  It is these same folks that took forever to get going with cellphone technology, GPS and the like.  It is these failures to “adapt” that has literally cost them thousands of dollars and lessened their trackchasing productivity.  However, there’s a reason the saying, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink” is still around.

 

 

Today’s situation called for me to go to the airport even though I would not being flying on an airplane.  I would rent a car.  I chose the closest major airport, which is the John Wayne Airport (Orange County).  Why?  I have a full airport parking sponsorship there.  I could park my personal car, the Carol Lewis owned and MFunds sponsored Lexus RX 350 at no charge.

 

 

Buying good stuff cheap.

I was able to rent a full-sized car with satellite radio for just $29 for the one day I would need it.  Considering that the National Car Rental Company, as my car rental trackchasing sponsor, will give me more than half of that back in sponsorship funds it was a pretty good deal.

 

Arizona state line

I’m definitely on a Sonata kick.

I chose a Hyundai Sonata for two reasons.  First, it would give me excellent gas mileage.  Secondly, it came with Sirius/XM satellite radio.  Much of my driving would be in the California and Arizona deserts.  Radio reception is nearly non-existent out there.

 

 

Despite driving 75-80 M.P.H. with the air-conditioning running the entire trip, I still got 37.9 M.P.G.  Although I had asked for a “Hybrid” car, the regular model came through with outstanding mileage.

 

church van

The better alternative for a long driving trip.

My Lexus gets just 23 M.P.G.  The entire driving trip called for just 21 gallons of fuel with the Sonata.  Had I driven the Lexus 795 miles I would have needed 35 gallons to make the trip.  At four bucks a gallon the extra gas used from the Lexus would have cost more than the entire rental car price!

 

 

What about gas prices?

That brings me to gas prices.  I now that many of my European friends are smiling when I comment about $4 U.S. gas prices.  Their prices are twice that amount.

 

 

Today I would be driving in both California and Arizona.  Did you know there is a HUGE difference in gas prices from one American state to the next?

 

Arizona gas prices 

Currently, the average price of gas in California is $4.20 U.S. per gallon.  That is the second highest in the country behind Hawaii.  Their average price is $4.29.  I was surprised to see that California is THIRTY CENTS higher than the third highest state, Illinois ($3.90).

 

 

On the other hand gas prices in Arizona rank in the bottom ten of America’s 50 states.  Utah has the cheapest gas prices in the country at $3.33.  Arizona ranks 43rd at $3.44.

 

 

That meant some trackchasing gas buying strategy had to be implemented.  The rental car came with a full tank of gas.  I needed to return it with a full tank.

 

 

I would need gas twice in Arizona.  First, when the tank was nearing empty.  My second Arizona fill-up would be just before I crossed back into California on the return trip.  This strategy had me buying more than 15 gallons of gas at the lower Arizona prices and less than six gallons at the much higher California gas prices.

 

 

Amazing but true.

Just before I entered California I stopped for gas in Quartzsite, Arizona.  I paid $3.45 per gallon.  Then less than 10 miles away, after entering Blythe, California I noticed gas prices were 88 cents per gallon higher!  Where do you think the residents of Blythe buy their gas?

 

 

There was one other data point I was considering.  I’ve owned my (Carol’s) car for about 15 months.  I average driving it about 45 miles per day.  I was surprised at that number.  Why?  First, I’m retired I don’t have to drive anywhere to work.  Secondly, my car is parked at an airport about 180 days per year.  How in the heck do I manage to drive it an average of 45 miles per day.

 

Arizona desert 1 

On this trip I would be gone from home for about 17 hours.  During the time I would drive the car (fast) some 795 miles.  I certainly didn’t want to drive my own car the equivalent of 20 times the normal daily mileage in 17 hours.  Think how much depreciation, wear and tear and maintenance comes with driving a car that many extra miles over the course of a year just to see a few racetracks.  This is why I will rent some 40-50 cars every year rather than using my own.

 

Mark Virt Canyon motocross

This would be a family reunion.

I would be meeting my brother Mark for today’s evening of trackchasing.  He lives in Phoenix.  I find myself seeing about one-third of the tracks I visit with Carol, about one-third with family and friends and about one-third by myself.  I could not pick a better ratio for keeping my trips as diverse as possible.

 

Wild west restaurant sign 

Mark and I would meet up at the Wild Horse West for a late lunch. I will tell you more about that in the “Attractions” section.  Then we would be going “desert racing”.  More on that in the “Race Review” area.

 

 

 

 

 

ONE CANNOT LIVE WELL OR SLEEP WELL IF ONE HAS NOT DINED WELL

restaurant interior 

Wild Horse West – Peoria, Arizona

 

 

chili size 

True!

“Where the burgers are the best” is this place’s slogan.  I would have to agree their burgers were great.  I had the “chili-size burger”.  It was huge and smothered in chili, onions and mustard.  If you go racing at Canyon this is a great place to stop.

 

 

 

 

The race! 

 

 

 

Canyon Motocross sign

Canyon Motocross – Peoria, Arizona

 

 

I started out as a rookie in desert off-road racing.

I guess I still am a rookie with this type of motorsports.  When I first started racechasing I didn’t know the first thing about desert off-road racing.  When I first started trackchasing I didn’t know the first thing about desert off-road racing.

 

 

The official word was “not so fast” with desert off-road racing.

For the most part desert off-road racing is unique to the Far West.  When I first encountered this format I saw a couple of tracks and submitted them to the trackchasing commissioner with a full explanation of what I had seen.  They were quickly added to my lifetime trackchasing list.

 

 

Then the trackchasing “political leaders” started thinking about the situation.  “Let’s see,” they said.  Almost all desert off-road racing comes from the Far West.  Which trackchaser dominates the Far West?  Which group dominates the rules making body for the hobby of trackchasing?  When you add up the answers to all of THOSE questions you get this result.

 

SXS machine

You gotta love the “Randy Rules”.

This simple analysis quickly spawned a new “rule”.  Despite desert off-road racing often times features 200-300 competitors on the track at the same time. Desert off-road racing often plays to nationally televised audiences.  Too bad.  Trackchasing was not going to allow desert off-road racing as a countable form.

 

 

Why?  Because many times the racers leave the starting line on a staggered start basis.  Yes, on an oval track two cars can start a race at the same time and the track will be countable as long as there are the only two racers.  However, if a desert off-road races starts two racers at the same time and MORE racers show up to race then that race won’t count.  Yep.  The desert road racing group is penalized in this example for bringing 200 racers to an event while a junk car race “skates” because only two junk cars showed up.  We’ll just chalk that up to the trackchasing “hierarchy” creating another “Randy” Rule.

 

 

I still play by the current trackchasing rules despite several being created just for me.  That makes the rules “kinda special” doesn’t it?

 

 

The trackchasing god’s are shining the sun down on me.

However, as their must be a trackchasing god looking out for me, desert off-road racing is now beginning to start more and more of their races with a mass (trackchasing countable) start.  Now the Far West is becoming a VERY attractive place to trackchase.  Can a “New” trackchasing rule be far off?  I wouldn’t put it past them.

 

Canyon starting line

SXS aka UTV.

Back in October 2013 I first discovered side-by-side aka SXS aka UTV racing.  This is a popular form of wheel to wheel racing that often uses mass starts.  This type of racing dominates Far Western venues and is becoming more and more popular.

 

 

During that first SXS race in Riverside, California I discovered a magazine for the off-road industry.  The 50+ page production describes all kinds of off-road events.  I might not ever have to leave the Far West!

 

driver's meeting

You’re crazy!

For this weekend’s racing I discovered a group racing out in Arizona.  I’m talking about the Arizona Off-Road Promotions group.  Their head honcho is a fella named Kyle.  I had never seen them race before.  However, after conferring with I was assured their SXS racing used mass starts.

 

 

By the way after Kyle heard about what I do as a trackchaser he had the normal reaction.  “You’re crazy”.  However, as promised I showed up like I said I would and it was a most productive day.

 

peoria logo

Peoria aka Peoria.

It didn’t take long (O.K. it too about six hours) to get myself over to Peoria, Arizona.  Did you know that town was named by a couple of guys who came from my hometown area of Peoria, Illinois?

 

 

Following a late afternoon lunch my brother Mark and I drove down a gravel road and found the Canyon Motocross track.  It is located next door to the Canyon Speedway Park.

 

This was not my first time to this most rural racing area.

Of course I had been to both the oval (track #406) and figure 8 (track #801) tracks at the Canyon Speedway Park in Peoria, Arizona before.  At the time the place went by slightly different names.  I will tell you this.  You won’t find a much more rustic location that where these folks race.

 

sxs racing in desert

Today would be a “night” race.

When we arrived the motorcycle group was in the midst of their two-hour race.  The SXS group would be having a “night” race.  The race started at 6 p.m. and would wrap up at 8 p.m. after the sun had gone down over the Arizona desert.

 

 

Today’s track was a full desert layout.  We were told it was seven miles long.  On a course like that the competitors frequently “disappear” for somewhat long periods of time.  It was taking the motorcycles about 15 minutes to make a lap.  I never got around to timing the SXS racers.

 

 

Since I had never seen this Arizona group race I didn’t know what to expect with “car” counts.  The competitors call SXS racers “cars”.  I guess it’s about like calling a sprint car a “car”.  These are all four wheeled machines with roll cages, steering wheels and more suspension than you are likely to see on any racecar.

 

 

Chiropractor ads?

Much of the dirt road race course is marked so the racers know which way to go.  However, I did see a couple of people make a wrong turn today and end up “off-course”.  There is a good deal of elevation change in most desert courses.  That are lots of “jumps and bumps”.  One of the primary sponsors listed on track billboards is a chiropractor!

 

 

How they raced.

Today there were two classes racing.  Each had 5-7 competitors.  They were on the track at the same time the ATVs were racing.  Each class left the starting line in a group.  It’s very similar to when the SCCA races more than one class on the track at the same time.  In those races one group gets the green flag and sometime later another group takes THEIR green flag.

 

 

Today’s racers began their race from a standing start.  That was different than the Milestone MX event of a few weeks ago when the SXS race began with a rolling start.

 

 

I won’t tell you much more.  The video and photos will do that.  I would ask you to do this.  Keep reading your email for a new trackchasing rule to be proposed.  What could it possibly be about?

 

 

 

State COMPARISONS

 

Arizona

 

The Grand Canyon state

This evening I saw my 32nd lifetime track in the Grand Canyon state yes the Grand Canyon state.  Some thirty-two tracks is about what I average for all fifty states.  I guess my Arizona trackchasing penetration is about average!

 

 

Thanks for reading about my trackchasing,

 

Randy Lewis

World’s #1 Trackchaser

Peoria Old Timers Racing Club (P.O.R.C.) Hall of Fame Member

Arizona sayings:  The show me your papers state

 

 

 

QUICK FACTS

 

 

AIRPLANE

No airplanes!

 

 

RENTAL CAR #1

John Wayne Airport – trip begins

Peoria, AZ

John Wayne Airport – trip ends – 795 miles

 

 

Total rental car miles – 795 (1 car)

 

Total miles traveled on this trip – 795 miles 

 

 

 

TRACK ADMISSION PRICES:

Canyon Motocross – $10 (included admission to the pits)

 

Total racetrack admissions for the trip – $10

 

 

 

 

LIFETIME TRACKCHASER COMPARISONS 

The three most important trackchasing comparisons to me are:

 

Total lifetime tracks seen

Total “trackchasing countries” seen

Lifetime National Geographic Diversity results

 

 

Total Lifetime Tracks

There are no trackchasers currently within 350 tracks of my lifetime total.  Don’t blame me.

1.  Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 1,942

 

 

Total Trackchasing Countries

There are no trackchasers currently within 10 countries of my lifetime total.

1.  Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 68

 

 

Current lifetime National Geographic Diversity results

1.  Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 4.96 (and improving)

 

 

 

That’s all folks!  Official end of the RLR – Randy Lewis Racing Trackchaser Report

 

 

 

 

 


Comments

  1. Regular grade gasoline in Pennsylvania is currently at about $3.05 (that is the cheapest I’ve seen in this state) and premium grade is about $3.23 per gallon. However, diesel fuel is still somewhat expensive at $3.78 per gallon. When fuel prices were much higher there was virtually no difference in price between premium gasoline and diesel fuel. In New Jersey and Delaware fuel prices are lower and diesel fuel in both states is a few pennies less expensive than premium gasoline. It all has to do with state fuel taxes.

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