The Search for Speed: Jackson International Raceway

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by backwoodsKLR, Oct 6, 2010.

  1. backwoodsKLR

    backwoodsKLR Ride more, Post Less.

    Joined:
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    Central Mississippi
    A couple of fellow inmates and myself set out to grab a local tag back in early December of last year. I had an idea in my head on where I wanted to move it. And I just got copies of pictures taken on that trip last night... And looking through the info, I decided this might make an interesting RR (DeBandi style!) :lol3 I am a big fan of DeBandi's RR and figured imitation is the purest form of flattery!!

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    It was rather chilly when we headed out on December 5, 2009. Fresh snow on ground and 3 cold riders...
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    Our first stop, was to pick up the current tag, which was located here:
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    So we left the cactus plantation in search of what was once the fastest track in the world, Jackson International Speedway.

    Taken from an old 1973 race program found online:
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    As best I can remember, the track closed in the 1980's. I never saw a race there, but I remember hearing about it when I first moved to Jackson in 1988. I heard others say it was still out there, but getting to it was not always easy, as nature is slowly reclaiming it...

    More research came up with approximate location, given on the cover of an old race program.
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    #1
  2. backwoodsKLR

    backwoodsKLR Ride more, Post Less.

    Joined:
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    Could there really be something as cool as an old abandoned race track close by?

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    EDIT: Found this on You Tube
    <object width="480" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/CYycProFc60?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/CYycProFc60?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="480" height="385"></embed></object>

    In my research, I found several well known NASCAR stars raced here:
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    It appears to have been a popular place.
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    Packed stands:
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    Fast cars
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    Banked turns... Can a KLR run on a track?
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    #2
  3. backwoodsKLR

    backwoodsKLR Ride more, Post Less.

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    This car is a super star in Mississippi racing history. It was driven by legendary drivers like Ival Cooper, Bobby Harrell and Armand Holley. The car was built by Bobby Harrell and owned by Charles, Nathan, and Emile Saik. It was sponsored by the Butcher Shop and Carpetland. The mechanics were Bobby Day, Billy Tucker, and Bobby Harrell. One race day in 1970, Ival Cooper was late getting to the track and missed time trials. Bobby Harrell stepped in and not only put the car on the pole, but set the new WORLD RECORD for a 1.2 mile track that stood for 7 years!! That day he made a lap around Jackson International Speedway in 16.78 seconds!

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    Found another YOU TUBE, from the 1970's at Jackson international Speedway:
    <object width="480" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/U_wHNYh3O3w?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/U_wHNYh3O3w?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="480" height="385"></embed></object>
    #3
  4. backwoodsKLR

    backwoodsKLR Ride more, Post Less.

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    Continued research led to finding what looked like a oval shape on Google maps. But could we get to it?

    I found more pics of it, from shortly after it was abandoned.
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    Would there be anything left? After neglect, local hooligans, etc?
    #4
  5. backwoodsKLR

    backwoodsKLR Ride more, Post Less.

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    I had marked what was the approximate location on my GPS and as we were traveling down the frontage road of the Interstate highway, I neared the waypoint. I turned and saw a small dirt road with no marking leading off into the woods. Could this be it?

    There was miscellaneous trash dumped along the trail... (I hate trashy people!) I see a concrete pad up ahead and hop up on the curb and continue on... All of a sudden I find myself on the edge of a concrete wall that drops several feet onto the track!! :eek1 NO warning, no barrier, just a drop over the track wall. I manage to stop and signal the riders behind me. We look around to see if there is a way to actually get on the track. To the west of the track we get Jeep ruts. Someone has been in here!
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    I remember seeing a side trail to the east of the track, so I peal off and try the other side. I eventually make my way down other trails and end up on the track.
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    #5
  6. backwoodsKLR

    backwoodsKLR Ride more, Post Less.

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    Hey, we're on a racetrack? What's a ADV hooligan to do?
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    Why make a few hotlaps of course!
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    The front straight and turns were still in decent shape (for an adventure bike) but the back straight was crumbling asphalt and potholes. The trees were encroaching on the back straight. There were signs of parties, bonfires, trash, dumped washing machines, etc.

    But we were there and wanted to race!!
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    Ready? Set? GO!
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    #6
  7. East Coast Rider

    East Coast Rider Just Me...

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    :lol3 Cool.
    #7
  8. backwoodsKLR

    backwoodsKLR Ride more, Post Less.

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    Coming out of turn 4:
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    #8
  9. backwoodsKLR

    backwoodsKLR Ride more, Post Less.

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    I would comment on the FASTER BLACK KLR, but they are both black!
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    Almost at the start / finish line:
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    #9
  10. backwoodsKLR

    backwoodsKLR Ride more, Post Less.

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    I got a little braver after a few warm ups:
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    but there was some serious braking before the troubled back straight...
    #10
  11. the darth peach

    the darth peach eats crackers in bed

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    Very cool idea.. Like the old pics leading in to the ride on the old track!
    #11
  12. backwoodsKLR

    backwoodsKLR Ride more, Post Less.

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    My friend EALP's has been nice enough to photograph us and I know he is waiting to take some laps, so we swap places and off he goes on the DrZ!

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    As I hear his exhaust note (he has a loud pipe) echo off the concrete retaining walls, and the roar of knobbies on asphalt, I try to imagine what it was like to have a string of 60's and 70's stock cars circling this track...

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    #12
  13. backwoodsKLR

    backwoodsKLR Ride more, Post Less.

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    As his laps get faster, I am wishing I had a mounted video camera to record a few laps...
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    #13
  14. DeBandi

    DeBandi Exploring Alabama

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    Very Cool...:thumb
    #14
  15. backwoodsKLR

    backwoodsKLR Ride more, Post Less.

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    Going Full HOOLIGAN:
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    #15
  16. backwoodsKLR

    backwoodsKLR Ride more, Post Less.

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    Not bad for a day that started with snow, went to a cactus plantation and ended on a (one time) world famous, record holding racetrack!!!

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    This is what the infield looks like now: (One thin trail from front to back straight)
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    Infield and pits:
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    Never know what you will find if you get out and explore! :D
    #16
  17. eatalotapeaches

    eatalotapeaches finding my own way

    Joined:
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    Jackson, Miss'ippi
    Thanks for posting the pics and putting the story together BW. Your motivation level is always refreshing. :thumb

    Funny to think less than a year ago when it snowed in Mississippi and we "just had to get out for a ride." Then last night I was cold when I went outside to play with the dog. :huh
    #17
  18. DavidQ

    DavidQ We Don't Rent Pigs

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    Love it! Great job BW. :clap
    #18
  19. Liberia

    Liberia Fortunate

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    Thanks for making the effort to not only find the racetrack but also the various pieces of information about its hayday. You've combined history, a mystery and a motorcycle race into a single ride report. Great job.
    #19
  20. backwoodsKLR

    backwoodsKLR Ride more, Post Less.

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    I just inserted a couple of You Tube Videos I came across in the proper posts above... One is a digital rendering someone made of the track and one actual video from a race in 1970.
    #20