MILLER MOTORSPORTS PARK DESIGNED WITH MOTORCYCLE RACING IN MIND PICKERINGTON, Ohio (January 12, 2006) -- The AMA Superbike Championship will visit a new venue in 2006 - Miller Motorsports Park in Utah. The all-new racing facility, which sits...
MILLER MOTORSPORTS PARK DESIGNED WITH MOTORCYCLE RACING IN MIND
PICKERINGTON, Ohio (January 12, 2006) -- The AMA Superbike Championship will visit a new venue in 2006 - Miller Motorsports Park in Utah. The all-new racing facility, which sits about a half-hour from Salt Lake City, has gone from planning to near completion in record time. The track was built with motorcycle racing in mind and the AMA Superbike community has had the opportunity to be involved with its design from the onset.
Veteran track designer Alan Wilson says this design is the granddaddy of the 25 tracks he's done during his career. Wilson is the CEO and General Manager of Miller Motorsports Park and is highly regarded for his work as a track designer. Additional Wilson-designed tracks include Gingerman Raceway, Carolina Motorsports Park, Mid-America Motorplex, Beaver Run Motorsports Park, Arizona Motorsports Park, as well as the infield road course at Las Vegas International Speedway and the former Pikes Peak International Raceway. He was also called in to help with the re-design at Daytona International Speedway, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and Moroso Motorsports Park.
"This track is like Barber [Motorsports Park] on steroids," joked Wilson, who also designed the scenic Alabama circuit. "I'm not comparing it to Barber necessarily. Barber is a totally different kind of track. It's beautiful, very complex-- well I don't have to continue; everyone who has visited Barber knows how great that circuit is.
"Miller Motorsports Park can be configured to be the longest road course in the country. The AMA is using the three-mile outer course. I'd be surprised if it doesn't turn out to be the fastest true road course in America. Plus the circuit has various elevation changes purposely built into it. We started with a flat piece of land and we put in elevation to give the track more character and make it better for spectators."
Wilson confirmed that motorcycle racing was of prime concern for Miller Motorsports Park management from the beginning.
"I'd say 80 percent of the design was done specifically for motorcycle racing," Wilson explained. "If a track is safe for bikes, it's safe for cars. I also wanted a track that has a good flow to it. I wanted a rider to have a big grin on his face and then have that grin wiped off when he gets to the kink and realizes how much that corner tightens up. The esses have a lot of elevation change and many of the corners are much faster than the rider originally thinks they will be on first viewing."
Miller Motorsports Park is also building spectator berms around the perimeter of the track. "In some areas fans will be able to see 85 to 100 percent of the track," Wilson noted.
AMA Pro Racing and its riders have had input from the design to the construction process.
"We gave Ron [Ron Barrick, AMA Pro Racing's road racing series manager] the initial designs almost immediately," Wilson explained. "Ron took the drawings to the teams and riders and got solid contributions and we implemented those suggestions into the design."
Barrick pointed out that he facilitated input and served as a conduit between the riders and the track.
"If you ask five different riders for suggestions you often get five different points of view on how something should be done," Barrick says. "I went to key riders with the initial Miller designs and got great feedback. Mat Mladin had some very good suggestions and I concurred with what Mat thought would work. The Miller folks have been very good about directly turning that feedback into real-world track design."
Barrick made a return visit to Utah mid-December to check on the progress of the track, verify barrier placements, and to monitor any additional areas that may need to be addressed. Barrick was pleased with what he saw and how the facility had considered the suggestions of the riders.
Riders will get their first laps on Miller during factory testing in April. There will also be a WERA road racing event the weekend before the AMA Superbike comes to town. On June 16-18 the inaugural Thunder Run AMA Superbike Championship Weekend will come to Miller. The AMA Superbike weekend will be the first major spectator event for the circuit.
Wilson acknowledges that it will take time for the facility to mature.
"We have grass planted, but in the Salt Lake basin environment they are saying it will be up to three years before it comes in fully," he says. "At first the venue will not have a lot of natural beauty because the lack of grass, but the mountains will serve as an attractive backdrop."
The track is receiving solid support from local racing enthusiasts and it will run its own series with some unique incentives, such as paying back riders for each spectator they get to come to the races.
"Our goal is to have 22,000 spectators for the weekend in the first year," Wilson said. "We'll have a 4000 seat grandstand in addition to the berms. Ultimately we could hold 50,000 without any problem. We'll have camping and ample parking, 24 acres of paved paddock, grand prix garages, an excellent medical center run by local doctors and we'll have a medical helicopter at all the events."
With Pikes Peak no longer on the schedule, Miller will fill an important role of giving Rocky Mountain region fans an opportunity to continue to watch AMA Superbikes in person.
For additional information on Miller Motorsports Park and June's Thunder Run AMA Superbike Championship doubleheader visit www.millermotorsportspark.com.
About AMA Pro Racing
AMA Pro Racing is the leading sanctioning body for motorcycle sport in the United States. Its properties include the Amp'd Mobile AMA Supercross Series, the AMA Toyota Motocross Championship presented by FMF, the AMA Superbike Championship presented by Parts Unlimited, the AMA Ford Quality Checked Flat Track Championship and the AMA Supermoto Championship. For more information about AMA Pro Racing, visit www.amaproracing.com.