The annual Hangtown Motocross Classic almost didn't happen in 2010 because of a contract dispute between the Dirt Diggers North Motorcycle Club and MX Sports, which runs the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship.
A contract was signed just before the 2010 race, and things since then have been agreeable, at least for the Dirt Diggers, said Hangtown race director John Allen.
But that may change after Saturday's 45th running of the professional race at Prairie City, when the four-year contract expires.
"It is the last year of our contract, and we hope to continue to be the series opener, and we hope to be here for a long time," Allen said. "We want to iron out some wrinkles with MX Sports. It's time to go back and hash some things out."
Allen wouldn't elaborate, but a big issue in 2010 was profits from television rights. Since the contract was signed, MX Sports has signed a much better TV deal with NBC Sports. The local club still keeps gate receipts and concession profits, but Allen said a piece of the TV deal would help the club's bottom line.
"We've been able to move the event and the series forward," said Allen, who works in investment when not supervising the track layout construction or the hundreds of other items that must be crossed off the to-do list before the amateurs race today and the pros Saturday. "We are raising the bar for all the other tracks. We offer high-end hospitality now and continue to boost the brand. There's a reason why we're the series opener."
Allen and the club continue to improve the experience for spectators. Whereas barren, sun-soaked grounds once were the only choice for fans, now there are 35 choice seats in the infield, covered by awnings, that sold out in a day, despite the $225 cost.
And, Allen said, the 150 "super tickets" that cost $300 and include all access, a lunch buffet plus covered seats near the start and finish lines sold out quickly, too. He said there still are general admission tickets available for $40 and $20 for children 6 to 11.
"We're expecting 25,000 fans, and luckily the forecast isn't going to be too hot," Allen said. "Online tickets sales have been fantastic. In fact, they're setting records."
For more information, go to www.hangtownmx.com.
Corvettes a go-go
The 27th Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival at Sonoma Raceway is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday. Vintage cars will compete in several categories, and Corvette is featured to mark its 60th anniversary.
Two Sacramento-area drivers will compete on the 12-turn, 2.52-mile road course. Richard Orme of Granite Bay and Bob Webster of Placerville will drive Corvette Stingrays. Orme owns a 1963 Corvette and Webster a 1965 model.
For more information, go to www.racesonoma.com.
Lawnmower race on tap
Sac Valley Mower Racers will hold an inaugural, two-day Memorial Day event at Prairie City's flat track May 25-26 with the hope of turning it into the biggest riding lawnmower race on the West Coast.
Racing starts at 6 p.m. on May 25 and 11 a.m. on May 26. Entry fees are $25, and pit passes are $10.
Mark Billingsley covers local motor sports for The Bee. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.