Thunderdome Indoor Race 1 Report
Marshalltown, IA Novermber 3, 2012
After only a couple of weeks off since the last district 23 flat track race of the season, I was itching to get back on the seat. Brian Kauffman's Thunderdome in Marshalltown, Iowa would provide the racing fix I was after. Upon arrival I was happy to see that the track was loaded with water and fully prepped for the upcoming racing action. The track is VERY small at 320 ft. in the racing groove, which makes it about 1/16 of a mile. You can just barely fit squeeze 4 bikes wide on the starting line. What the track lacks for in size is made up with the racing surface. The surface is dark Iowa dirt that holds every ounce of moisture put into it. The track is housed in a fairgrounds barn with a small concession stand, and some grandstands. It's basically an open air barn that they enclose the sides with poly, so it does get pretty cold in there during the winter months. The pits are located in another metal building just steps away from the track. The pit area has a concrete floor and is heated, which will be very nice when the Iowa winter hits.
They keep the class structure simple offering pro bikes, amateur bikes, mad dog (150cc and smaller), and small bikes. They also offered pro quad, amateur quad, and jr. quad. Along with a boat load of kart classes. The amateur entry fee was $25, plus a $10 draw fee. I think the pro class was around $45. They also offer the participants plenty of laps. On most days everyone gets 2 practices consisting of 8 laps each, 2 heat races at 8 laps each, and the mains at 12 to 15 laps. The lineups for the first heat race are determined through a pill draw, which you do during sign-in. They then completely invert draws for the second heat, so if you drew poorly you still have a shot at getting a decent gate pick for the main if you capitalize in the second heat. This might not seem like a big deal, but when they only have enough room to start 4 wide you appreciate the 2 heat race system.
On this day they drew 7 pro bikes, 6 amateur bikes, 6 mad dog bikes, and only 1 jr. bike. I believe they had about 6 each in the pro, amateur, and jr. quad classes as well. During practice the track was a bit greasy, which I expected as they put down plenty of water. During the first round of heat races, the track was awesome. For the first time in my VERY short flat track career I had too much traction. You could ride the bike deep into the corner and push the bars into the dirt. Coming out of the corners you could pour on the throttle and the thing wanted to ride a wheelie all the way down the straightaway. The pros were having a blast passing high and low. As the day wore on, the track would slick up a bit, but still produced multiple groove racing. Duke Erickson put on a clinic in the pro main, winning by a little less than half a lap. The race for second was exciting with the two guys leaning on each other for the last 5 laps and crossing the finish line at nearly the same time. All in all everyone seemed very pleased with the track. I would suggest anyone looking to turn left a few times over the winter make plans to visit our neighbors to the south and support the great sport of dirt track racing!
For information on the remaining 7 races check out our Racing tab above.