September 11, 2010

This trip wasn't much planned, but it didn't seem all that far to go to the Minnesota Mile in Minneapolis. This is a night race, which means I would have time to get there on Saturday if I left early.


Canterbury Park is a horse track not far south of Minneapolis. Horses apparently like to run on a sandy surface, but flat track motorcycles prefer something more substantial. So, several inches of the track were scraped off to reveal something more suitable underneath--at least, that was the idea.

It's a very nice facility. The grounds are spacious and clean and they've planted grass instead of laying asphalt everywhere. Much of the grandstands are enclosed, which might be ideal for horseracing, but it's not ideal for motorcycle races.

I've got to think the idea for this rolling flag stand started in a garage with a bunch of guys drinking beer. It wouldn't work in a Kansas breeze.


The pits are on pavement and were generally clustered around one side of the grandstands. The entry to the track was along a narrow track through an opening in the track-side fence. The normal entry used by the horses wouldn't have worked with this setup.


The Lloyd Brothers Ducati had some reinforcement to the swing arm since Springfield. The Aprilia would not be racing today.


I hadn't had time for food on the way up, but the track had that covered.  There were more food vendors here than I can remember at any other track.  And, much more than pronto dogs, too.


There was seating inside, but few people chose to use that. Most everybody was outside either in the seats or standing at the rail up front. Some seats were reserved, but there was no consistency with that and enforcement was spotty. In the end, it seemed you could sit wherever you wanted and you could ignore whatever sheet of paper was taped to the seat-back.


The speed and (lack of) lighting would limit any on-track photography (for me).


I tried the inside seating and didn't much like it. You only heard the sounds of the motorcycles through the public address system--might as well just watch it on TV.


Outside along the rail is the best place, even though you can't really see the back stretch too well.


This track allows you to get quite close to the action at the first turn.  If the idea was to get rid of the sand; it didn't fully work. These guys were putting up huge rooster-tails. For all the sliding and contact at turns 1 and 2, there weren't any crashed the entire night. You cannot help but be impressed by the confidence they have in each other.


Take a look at the dirt on Jake Johnson's leathers. Even though they have tear-offs to keep their face shields clean, I can't imagine how they were able to see much of anything in front of them, let alone the various bumps and holes in the track as the night continued.



1 Kenny Coolbeth
2 Jake Johnson
3 Jared Mees
4 Henry Wiles
5 Matt Weidman
6 Bryan Smith
7 Chris Carr
8 Johnny Lewis



last edit: 9/11/2010