KDOIAK — Established back in the ’70s the 1/4 mile dirt track at the Kodiak State Fairgrounds is ready for summer racing to begin, with the first scheduled event set for May 18.
Organized by the Kodiak Island Racing Association, a nonprofit established in 1983, the track has evolved as a place for many types of motorsport racing from motorcross and stock car to 4-wheelers and pit bikes. It currently offers a safe and structured environment where competitive motorsports can take place throughout the summer months on The Rock.
“The racing community in Kodiak is pretty diverse and changes year to year. This is due to the fact of transitioning Coast Guard folks and the general transient nature of our community,” KIRA President Jeremy Stewart says. “We really don’t know who will show up on race day. But once new people come out and race they quickly become part of the racing family. Personally, I have developed several friendships with new people that came out to race and that is because we all have at least one thing in common, we love to race!”
The field at the track is dominated by the motorcross scene, with racers taking advantage of a enduro-style wooded section and a motorcross inside track boasting doubles, bermed corners and a big tabletop finish front and center for the crowd to fully enjoy.
The track is getting some upgrades this year with the motorcross starting gate being moved from the side of the track to right in front of the stands.
“This is really wonderful because it will allow the spectators to actually see the start, which is one of the most exciting parts of motocross,” Stewart says. “The other thing that is really cool is that the labor and materials for the concrete slab were donated by some generous local businesses.”
A wide range of ages and skill levels take part in the events every year, depending on who shows up ready to race. Though motorcross is the main attraction, most races also see at least a couple heats of stock car racing.
“As far as tips for people who have not ridden or raced on our track, I have a couple of those,” Stewart says. “First, in order to ride and race on the track you have to be a member. You can get a membership at 58°, KSS or at the track on race day before a race begins.
“The second tip is to make sure you have your protective gear. Safety is very important to us and there are a lot of rocks that get kicked up.
“The last tip is to come out and race even if you haven’t before. Our community is really neat in that we don’t make people feel inferior because they haven’t raced before. We are all about teaching people new things, encouraging others and having fun.”
Stewart said that people who don’t want to race, but are still interested in getting involved, can reach out the KIRA with ideas on how they can help via Facebook or come to a board meeting. Dates and times of meetings are posted on the group’s Facebook page.
Admission on race day are free for kids 10 years old and younger, $7 for adults and $5 for military personnel, students and seniors.
“Be sure and stop by our Snack Shack for fresh hot dogs and burgers off the grill, and each admission ticket earns you a chance to win one of several great prizes we raffle off during each race,” states a message on the KIRA Facebook group.