KINGMAN - When the temperatures get hot in Lake Havasu and Bullhead City, their race tracks go dark, creating a void for area race car drivers looking for a place to drive fast on a Saturday night.
It's a void that John Kirby and his partners with Route 66 Motor Sports would like to fill, and in the process make Kingman a regional destination for motor sports.
"We don't have that problem," Kirby said of the temperatures along the Colorado River. "We can continue to hold races because our climate is favorable in the summer time."
With dirt tracks like Manzanita Speedway and Firebird Raceway closing in the Phoenix area, along with the deep-rooted car culture in Kingman, Kirby sees great potential for a regional motor sports park.
"We believe the climate is a good and it's a good location," Kirby said. "We can draw on our location. We can draw from Flagstaff, Prescott and Vegas and get people from all of these locations. If you draw a circle around Kingman, there are big metropolitan areas that are a few hours away and these enthusiasts often travel far to participate in these types of events."
But in order for the goals to become a reality, the infrastructure needs to be improved. When Route 66 Motorsports Park opened in November, they had no electricity, no water and no sewer lines at the location west of the Kingman Airport. The same held true when the park held its grand opening a few weeks ago for a motocross event, with the sound of generators just as common as the sound motocross engines.
In order for the park to work, to get the necessary infrastructure improvements, it's going to cost Kirby.
"It takes money and it takes a lot of it," he said.
Because of the cost associated with the extension of the power, water and sewer lines, Kirby hopes that as word spreads and the park continues to hold large events, the city and county will see the potential and partner with the motor sports park to get the necessary infrastructure improvements.
"What we need to do is we need to have some additional big events. We need to have some big events and have the county see the benefits from it," Kirby said. "When we have a rally car race later on this year, I'm really hopeful that there will be more people in town to eat at the restaurants, stay in the hotels and the city will start to see the economic benefit and we can start to build a case for the project."
Currently the park has a track for motocross and an area for other events including sand drags.
The park has plans to develop a dirt oval track, an ATV track, along with a 4X4 off-road course. But with all these tracks, a big challenge for the park is dust and keeping it in control. That takes water.
Part of the master plan that was submitted to the county includes the building of two reservoirs. The stored water will be used for dust control.
As is the case with the rest of the infrastructure, the reservoirs are going to come at a cost. Kirby said grant money might be available if they were to stock the reservoirs with endangered fish species.
"We have to look into it further," he said. "We need to identify where we are going to put it and to strategically place them close to venues so we can get to the water quickly and control the dust."
In the meantime, Kirby is working with promoters to get more events out to the park, including a Rally Car race in September. A monster truck show in August is also a possibility.
Kirby said he's heard a lot of positive reviews and is excited at what the future holds.
"Everyone who comes out has been excited - the promoters the participants and the fans," Kirby said. "Everyone is really excited. We are exited about it."