KINGMAN – The operator of a BMX bicycle racing track on county-leased land in Bullhead City has been directed by Mohave County Board of Supervisors to provide quarterly reports on maintenance and safety issues.
Supervisors voted 5-0 at Monday’s regular board meeting to allow Turnell Henry of Las Vegas-based Custom Opts BMX to continue with the development, operation and maintenance of the track on 2.7 acres that the county leases from the Bureau of Land Management.
The board approved a four-year lease with Custom Opts BMX in December. At an Aug. 6 meeting, supervisors heard complaints from Michael Nesbit, a BMX racer who wanted the track lease, about broken windows, overgrown weeds and unsafe bleachers, among other issues.
At Monday’s meeting, Nesbit asked the board to terminate Henry’s lease for failure to provide a safe and clean facility. He said it took Henry five months to reopen the track, which had sat vacant for about 10 years, and that’s using the same dirt he promised to replace.
“Preposterous. Untrue,” Henry responded. “It comes down to exaggerated claims.”
Henry said he had an allocation for new dirt from the Bullhead City Kiwanis, but it was sold from underneath him and he had to “start from scratch.” He spent $10,000 of his own money to improve the facility.
The fire department inspected and signed off on the bleachers, and Henry said he would not have been issued a business license if anything was unsafe.
One woman from Bullhead City said her 8-year-old daughter races at the track, and it’s the safest it has ever been. “It’s clean, no rocks. I never worry about my daughter’s safety at that track,” she said.
Supervisor Hildy Angius of Bullhead City said she placed the item on the agenda because of the safety allegations, and she expects County Parks to oversee the track and make sure it’s safe.
“I’ve personally been to the site three times,” County Parks Director Hal Barton said. “It is Parks’ opinion that Mr. Henry has made progress to make the facility safer.”
Barton pointed out that the time from the lease approval to the track’s opening in March was lengthened due to quite a bit of “back and forth” on insurance issues.
Supervisor Buster Johnson questioned Henry about the number of kids who’ve used the track, the number of races that have been held there and availability for practice days.
About 140 riders have used the facility, and racing is once a week on Fridays, with 18 races and six cancellations due to rain or heat and one time when Henry was out of town, he said. There are no practice days; they practice before the race.
About 70 riders showed up for Olympic Day and six new riders signed up on the most recent Friday race, Turnell added.
“We have people trying to regain our trust before they ever come back to the facility,” he said. “I’ve had sponsors leave on me. I just keep plugging along because I’m in it for the right reasons. You’ll see more development of this track.”