BLOUNTVILLE — Racing hadn’t even begun last year at Muddy Creek Raceway when Victory Sports president Sam Gammon learned the AMA Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship would be coming back again this season.
The day before the actual race, series officials could tell the Red Bull Tennessee Nationals would be a huge event. It was proven to be true the next day when over 22,000 people showed up for the inaugural race, making it one of the three most attended races on the entire tour.
A year later, Gammon and the rest of the Muddy Creek staff are ready to go full steam ahead with the second annual event which has the decisive 450 moto broadcast live on NBC Sports.
“Everyone was overwhelmed with the number of people who came out last year,” Gammon said Thursday at the event’s media day. “It exceeded the numbers the people who run the series projected. It gave us some insurance for bringing the event back again.”
Since that big crowd came out last year, Gammon worked with Sullivan County for road improvements. The project was helped along by a nearby property owner who donated land to widen one spot on a dangerous corner.
While Gammon admitted his major concern was making things better for race traffic, it ended up being a major improvement for the community.
“Of course, it did help with our event,” Gammon said. “But, it also helps the locals who live on the road. There are the schoolbus drivers who have a problem with safety issues. It was good all the way around for everybody.”
The county employees haven’t been the only ones working to make improvements. Gammon is no stranger to 12-14 hour work days, often getting in a tractor himself to change the track from a year ago. The biggest complaint from the racers last season were the ruts in it and it being a one-groove track. Gammon and his staff have moved tons of dirt and added tons of mulch to make the track better than it has ever been.
“There have been a ton of projects being done,” Gammon said. “We’ve added fencing and have seeded to grow grass and make the place a little more attractive for tv. After the national last year, we made some changes then to make it more an amateur-friendly track. Now that these guys are back, we’ve added some stuff back in and added some new challenges. We wanted to make them excited about coming back.”
Gammon tried to weigh opinions of both the fans and the competitors to try to make both the track and event better. He also valued the comments from the team managers, whom he pointed out have a lot of worldwide experience.
There have been a staff of seven Victory Sports employees working five days a week at the facility, while Gammon has used other local companies to help with the fencing and other construction.
The national event has helped increased overall interest in the local motocross scene. While the big amateur races like the Suzuki Top Gun Showdown and Tennessee State Championships have long been established, Gammon saw the benefits earlier this year at the season-opening race for the local Mega Series.
“It gives the track a national name and moves it up the ladder another rung or two,” Gammon said. “It makes everyone look a little more when we are having other events. The events we had earlier this year, they were really, really strong.”comments powered by Disqus