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Old 04-28-2011, 02:18 PM   #1
mac66 OP
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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.



Here is the link.

http://thunderdrome.com/flicks-and-vids/
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mac66 screwed with this post 04-28-2011 at 02:30 PM
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Old 04-28-2011, 02:49 PM   #2
JerseyBiker
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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!
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Old 04-28-2011, 04:09 PM   #3
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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%!

It was great fun though to even briefly experience the thrill of riding the banking at speed!
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Old 04-29-2011, 03:08 AM   #4
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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 !?!?!?!
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Old 04-29-2011, 06:39 AM   #5
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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.
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Old 04-29-2011, 10:58 AM   #6
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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.
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Old 09-03-2012, 04:06 AM   #7
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More action coming up at the Thunderdrome!

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Old 09-15-2012, 07:42 PM   #8
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More action coming up at the Thunderdrome!

Streaming live on Ustream right now.
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