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mac66 04-28-2011 03:18 PM

Thunderdrome
 
No not thunder DOME, Thunder DROME.

Last year a guy decided that he wanted to cut the grass in some of the run down parks in the City of Detroit. He had a riding lawn mower and just wanted a place to do it. He started a group called the Mower Gang. In one of the parks he discovered an old abandoned velodrome (bike racing track). It is about an 1/8 mile cement oval.

He and some of his friends cleaned it up and some others decided to ride motorcycles on it. One thing led to another and now there are a whole series of underground moped, scooter, pit bike, minibike, go cart and even bicycle races on it. I've ridden on it myself on both my moped and Honda CT90 though I have not raced. It is a bit scary but a lot of fun. The big race is coming up this weekend.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v489/mac66/UXtml.jpg

Here is the link.

http://thunderdrome.com/flicks-and-vids/

JerseyBiker 04-28-2011 03:49 PM

Looks like a blast!

If I were closer.....no.....I wouldn't come. Isn't Detroit dangerous?

But, this does look like a lot of fun.

Photos - post photos if you go!

Hammerspur 04-28-2011 05:09 PM

There was about 40 years ago an old abandoned motodrome nearby my haunts that had been used for midget car racing in the '30's and early post war years I think.

About 20% of the bowl had been demolished, to discourage people from racing on it I suppose, but a pretty well compacted dirt path lead onto the inside lane of one side.

Aboard a '67 HD 250 Sprint I used to love fast thumping in 2nd into that gap at a tangent which allowed entering the lower rim of the oval at some speed and accelerating counter clockwise up and round the banking through the gears!

Of course, once up to speed one had to start braking and downshifting madly to avoid flying over the brink at the far end of the remaining 80%! :eek1

It was great fun though to even briefly experience the thrill of riding the banking at speed!

MODNROD 04-29-2011 04:08 AM

Isn't it strange how things like that fade out of public consciousness after only a few decades? I would have thought it would be nigh on impossible to hide/forget the existance of that much concrete, even in a city!

A few years ago here in Fremantle, a developer brought in the big earthmovers to create a light industrial/ shopping precinct on the edge of the Fremantle suburbs. Checked with the local council, pored over maps, records, etc, then promptly brought one of his massive blade machines to a dead halt (broke the blade......) against a concrete gun emplacement that had been there to guard the harbour since WW2. There were 3 of them, bloody huge, around 6m high and about 20m in diameter. Over the years the scrub and bush had grown over it, and everyone simply FORGOT they were there !?!?!?!

mac66 04-29-2011 07:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MODNROD (Post 15787480)
Isn't it strange how things like that fade out of public consciousness after only a few decades? I would have thought it would be nigh on impossible to hide/forget the existance of that much concrete, even in a city!

!

This track is in a large city park in a bad neighborhood across the road from a large factory complex. It had pretty much turned into a dump (like most of Detroit itself) The brush and trees had grown up and pretty much obscured most of it. At the other end of the park was a hill and a soap box derby track that was completely grown over. Imagine a soap box derby in Detroit!

While the City of Detroit can be a dangerous place if you go to certain areas, you sort of need to understand the demographics. Area wise the city is larger than Boston, San Francisco and the island of Manhattan put together. Now imagine those three cities and then take out 2/3s of the population. At one time Detroit was the forth largest city in the US with a population of 1.8 million. It now has about 700,000 residents. Large parts of the city are abandoned. There are something like 30,000 abandoned buildings in the city. (I am talking abandoned not just empty or unoccupied) That includes houses, commercial buildings and old factories. After the riots in 1967, most of the whites moved out. After the last 40 years of corruption and mismanagement by the city officials, most of the blacks who could moved out. Unfortunately, it is still the most racially segregated city in America. While the rest of the US has moved on, Detroit continues to have a 3rd world mentality in terms of race. They continue to resist any outside influences.

While most of the past city officials are now in jail, there is a new administration that is trying to restore the city. That will take several generations if it is even possible.

In the mean time there is a whole generation of suburbanites who are discovering that the city is one big wide open playground. Lots of underground stuff going on. While that leaves the door open for lots of nefarious stuff, it also opens the door for entrepreneurial stuff as well. As long as you are not murdering someone, Detroit cops don't have the time to deal with you and pretty much don't care. Heck, even if you do kill someone you only have a 30% chance of being caught, let alone being convicted.

So yeah, Detroit it dangerous if you are stupid. On the other hand, Michigan has a concealed weapons law and about 1/3 of the people carry, and that may be higher in Detroit. The crime rate has actually been going down in Detroit since that law was passed. So if you are hanging out in Detroit with a group of people, chances are more than a couple of them are legally armed. The thug culture in Detroit pretty much knows that. If you are white and are hanging out in Detroit, you are either stupid or armed.

Bronco638 04-29-2011 11:58 AM

Since it's in a city park doesn't that mean it's open to all? Are there any repercussions to racing there? Looks like blast but it would suck to see it shut down just because you guys are using it.

mac66 04-30-2011 10:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bronco638 (Post 15790146)
Since it's in a city park doesn't that mean it's open to all? Are there any repercussions to racing there? Looks like blast but it would suck to see it shut down just because you guys are using it.

Yeah, city park. Yeah they could shut it down. Does the city care, probably not. The city abandoned most of the city parks decades ago. It is in an area of the city that nobody goes to and no one cares about. Think giant abandoned lot overgrown and full of junk mostly obscured from the street. Think of the TV show 'After People.'

The city of Detroit is not like most cities. You only go to the parks to buy drugs or get robbed. It is also the most dysfunctional city in America. The only way they will care if someone in administration can make a buck off it, or it makes them look bad. Eventually someone will get hurt or killed screwing around on the track. Or it will attract the neighborhood thugs and someone will get shot and they will shut it down. In the mean time it is the hip place to ride.

Bronco638 04-30-2011 03:48 PM

:D Have a good time! Post more (racin') pics (in the future).

MaineScoot 05-01-2011 02:00 PM

I have a friend who lives in Hell, Michigan, and I told him about Thunderdrome II after reading about it on this thread. He and his Automotive Engineer wife thought it sounded like fun and sent me these pics:

"So K. and I went to the Thunderdrome yesterday. Its was cool, very cool because it was in that state of newness and not too over-organized but, I don't see how it can last, which is a shame.

First let me tell you about the crowd, because aside from the 'racing' this is the best part. It was the most eclectic group I've seen together in Detroit. there were cyclist, mountain bikers, hipsters, Hell's Angels types, the local alternative rock station was there, one black guy - one, college students, journalists. I'd say it was about 1000 strong.

I don't know if you've been to a velodrome, this one's an eight mile with banking easily 15' tall. The moped class bikes, over geared as such, with dropped bars and no front brake were going easily 50mph That's why it can't last there's no crowd protection, eventually one of these bikes is gonna go off track. There were also no cops and no EMT's there. To see what I mean look at the next two pics. See where I'm standing taking the pic and see where the crowd is in the second pic. . ."


http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/g...s/IMG_1490.jpg


http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/g...s/IMG_1494.jpg


http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/g...s/IMG_1479.jpg


http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/g...s/IMG_1481.jpg


http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/g...s/IMG_1497.jpg


http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/g...s/IMG_1499.jpg


http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/g...s/IMG_1501.jpg


http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/g...s/IMG_1502.jpg


http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/g...s/IMG_1500.jpg


He said this, too:

"What I don't have any pics of is the defunct skate park on the hill, where guys were pulling mega air on 250 and 450 cc dirtbikes! Is there any other city in the U.S where a bunch of white dudes could gather in the heart of it and do this kinda stuff without being runoff, or arrested, by the cops?!"

And this:

"We got there late, just as a biker club of harley's was leaving. . . but i'm pretty sure they limit the cc's for racing to about 100.

It was funny, at one point Steven there was a club pulling out of the park of about 25 Harleys, and they stopped and yielded for about 20 Vespas!http://forum.woodenboat.com/images/smilies/icon10.png"


For any one interested, TD II and TD IV are coming up later this year:

Thunderdrome! III


June 12, 2011
Gilmore Car Museum
Kalamazoo, MI.
9:00 AM.to Dusk
Rain or shine


Thunderdrome! IV


September 10, 2011
Dorais Park Velodrome
Mound Road and Outer Drive
Detroit, MI.
9:00 AM. to dusk
Rain date: September 11th

btcn 05-01-2011 02:47 PM

Damn that looks cool! It is a shame that it probably won't last though. You know some asshole will see all the fun and ruin it.

hexnut 05-01-2011 03:51 PM

Yeah, thats probably true. I wonder why azzholes hate to see people having fun.

That reminds me..Why do women close their eyes when they are making love...Thay just hate to see you having a good time..:evil

YZman 05-02-2011 01:48 PM

here is a cool vid from the weekend

http://vimeo.com/23126738

They have a facebook page if you want to follow along..


http://www.facebook.com/#!/thethunderdrome

MaineScoot 09-03-2012 05:06 AM

More action coming up at the Thunderdrome!

http://i146.photobucket.com/albums/r...b1b3679ac6.jpg

klaviator 09-03-2012 07:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mac66 (Post 15796802)
Yeah, city park. Yeah they could shut it down. Does the city care, probably not. The city abandoned most of the city parks decades ago. It is in an area of the city that nobody goes to and no one cares about. Think giant abandoned lot overgrown and full of junk mostly obscured from the street. Think of the TV show 'After People.'

The city of Detroit is not like most cities. You only go to the parks to buy drugs or get robbed. It is also the most dysfunctional city in America. The only way they will care if someone in administration can make a buck off it, or it makes them look bad. Eventually someone will get hurt or killed screwing around on the track. Or it will attract the neighborhood thugs and someone will get shot and they will shut it down. In the mean time it is the hip place to ride.

I have been following a ride report where the author went to Detroit during his trip. He had a very interesting perspective and took a lot of pics of the abandoned parts of the city. The link is here for anyone ineterested. Start at post #335
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showt...808437&page=23

I knew Detroit was bad but this report still surprised me.

MaineScoot 09-15-2012 08:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MaineScoot (Post 19507419)
More action coming up at the Thunderdrome!

http://i146.photobucket.com/albums/r...b1b3679ac6.jpg

Streaming live on Ustream right now.


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