Kingman resident works to build Kingman motocross track
It's been a learning process for Steve O'Mara, who never in his wildest dreams thought of building a professional motocross track until he moved to Kingman little more than a year ago.
"It is something that has evolved out of a need," O'Mara said.
"A need that has expanded and grown since the project began."
O'Mara's track proposal moved closer to reality when the Kingman City Council recently amended the zoning ordinance to allow for a track at a suitable site.
The Kingman Planning and Zoning Commission is considering 10 acres in east Kingman at Rattlesnake Wash north of Interstate 40.
Once an avid motorcycle rider, O'Mara learned about motorcycle safety the hard way when he was riding his motorcycle one day and crashed.
"Nothing was organized back then.
Safety wasn't a consideration," O'Mara said.
"I tore up my arm pretty bad.
I stayed off a bike for 14 years."
But after the married father of three moved to Kingman, the desire to get back on a motorcycle took over.
He also wanted to teach his daughters, Becky, 14, and "Gabbie," 12, (son Jake is just 3) how to ride safely.
So he took them to the back roads to practice.
"I was surprised to find little kids riding motorcycles with no supervision.
One 9-year-old was riding with someone that looked about 4 years old on the back.
Neither one had helmets," O'Mara said.
"I saw little kids on quads with no helmets.
I could imagine them falling off and hurting themselves and no one even knowing."
O'Mara, the service manager at a local car dealership, said people who think the desert is a safe place to ride are mistaken.
"You think it is safe terrain, but the terrain changes," he said.
"Just a couple of weeks ago a 14-year-old boy was injured after crashing his all-terrain vehicle.
He was flown to Las Vegas with head injuries."
O'Mara perceived a need for an off-road track where adults and children could safely ride, and race, their motorcycles and dirt bikes.
"Off-road riding is a family-oriented sport," he said.
"I builds confidence and self esteem when kids learn to ride.
If they have the right equipment, safety gear and supervision, it is an extremely pleasurable sport."
O'Mara garnered public support and found 5 acres at the corner of Western Road and Airway for the project.
A local business donated a trailer that will be used for the spectator admission booth, he said.
He hit a slight snag, however, when he approached the planning and zoning commission in October with his request for zoning.
"I was told that my proposal for a motocross racetrack was not defined and regulated in the Kingman Zoning Ordinance, and an amendment would have to be written," he said.
O'Mara said the planning and zoning department staff went to work researching and surveying 10 other jurisdictions of similar size and population about track ordinances.
6, the City Council unanimously approved Ordinance No.
1362, an amendment to the Kingman Zoning Ordinance allowing a motocross racetrack by conditional use permit.
O'Mara has since changed the site of the 10 acres at Rattlesnake Wash.
Leased from real estate developer Jay Shritter, the parcel has more room for expansion, O'Mara said.
"The new site is a better location, not as urbanized," said city planner Joe James.
"But he still hasn't received approval.
All we have done is amend the Kingman ordinance.
It permits the use of a track within certain zones."
James said O'Mara will be heard by the planning commission Feb.
If the commissioners approve the conditional use permit they will make a recommendation to the City Council.
"They will vote on it March 3," James said.
"They have the final approval.
It depends on whether the site is suitable, if it is not going to produce a negative impact on surrounding property owners."
O'Mara must address concerns such as dust and noise control and traffic patterns, he said.
The amended ordinance creates specific development standards for "Outdoor Recreational Use/Motorized, which include: no outdoor lighting after 11 p.m.; lighting that meets standards required in the outdoor lighting code to minimize 'light pollution;' a traffic plan; and dust control at the track and in the parking lot," James said.
Classified as "light industry" the motocross track would be a plus for Kingman, he added.
"Something like this could add another recreational opportunity to the Kingman area."
Motocross racer Phil Racjak said he is excited about the possibility of a professional-size track in Kingman.
"We have a track about 10 miles north of Kingman now," Racjak, 31, said.
"But it is not adequate.
There is talk that the AMA will sanction racing at the new track, and people from Las Vegas and Phoenix have been interested.
"With the closing of SARA Park in Lake Havasu City this will be the largest track around."
Racjak said he and other motorcyclists have volunteered to help build the track.
Tammie Millard said she now takes her two boys, Chance, 14, and Travis, 17, out to Moto Park, "about 10 miles north of Kingman and then two miles on a single dirt road," to race.
"This location is a lot better," she said.
"It will bring in a lot of revenue for the city, too, because a lot of people from out of town will come.
There has been a lot of interest."
In addition to a 7.5-acre motocross track the MX/Supercross Motoross Track would have a separate section for BMX bicycles, a mini-track for children ages 4-8, a concession stand and a parking lot.
"It will be for everyday riding and practicing, as well as racing," O'Mara said.