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Flying High

All ages welcome at state motocross

Posted: June 19, 2011 - 7:00am

When it’s state motocross in Kenai, age restrictions go up in dust.

At least they did when athletes ranging from 4 to 59 years old competed in the Alaska State Champion Motocross Series at Twin Cities Raceway on Saturday. Racing will continue today.

The competition drew 196 participants and was hosted by the Kenai Peninsula Racing Lions - Motocross Division. Results will be printed as they become available.

“Anyone can do it — young boys, old women, old men — anyone,” said Rebecca Spurgeon, whose 10-year-old son Austin wore No. 158 and rode a Cobra 65 in the 65cc races.

Competitors from Bethel, Fairbanks and across the central Kenai Peninsula turned out for the third state event in the series of 10.

This one took on a family feel — with the Day 2 landing on Father’s Day — as groups lounged in lawn chairs, hovered over barbecues and cheered on their favorite athletes.

During lulls in the action, drivers young and old shared their reasons for participating.

“It’s fun,” Austin Spurgeon said, grinning, “and I like to scare my parents.”

For the Spurgeons, motocross events are for the entire family.

Rebecca Spurgeon showed with 15 family members Saturday, including Aaron Johnson, whose 8-year-old son, Alex Johnson, is the nephew of Rebecca Spurgeon. He raced in the 50cc classification.

“There’s something for everyone,” Aaron Johnson said. “It’s just a lot of fun — and it gets (Alex) off the couch.
“It’s not about the competition, it’s about having fun.”

On a dusty afternoon when event organizers hosed down the course during an hour-long break to keep it firm, others had a different take.

Sarah Herrin, a 2006 Nikiski High School grad, came to win.

Herrin, 23, played basketball for two seasons at the University of Alaska Fairbanks before transferring to the University of Alaska Anchorage.

She has been competing in motocross since the age of 9, growing up in a machine-loving family.
“If it had a motor, we had it,” Herrin said.

In a traditionally male-dominated sport, Herrin has found success against competitors of all types.

She is a nine-time state motocross champion in women’s competition, and on Saturday competed in both men’s and women’s heats.

Although Herrin crashed in the 125 men’s expert when she lost control of her Kawasaki KXF 250 after the back wheel hit a rock on a hot corner, she took gold in the first women’s 125 race.

“It’s fun to give the boys a run for their money,” she said.

Herrin eventually hopes to compete outside Alaska and receive additional exposure in a sport that is beginning to gain notoriety among women. Early in her racing days, there were no female-only classifications. Now there are.

“There was pretty much nothing when I first started, but it’s beginning to catch on more,” Herrin said.

Barney Phillips, 51, also competed and understands perhaps more than most how the sport has evolved.

The vice president of KPRL, Phillips has been racing motocross for about 35 years. He is among the elders in the sport — one his friends is 59 and competes regularly — yet he keeps coming back.

“I can’t complain,” he said, laughing, “because I’m not the oldest one.”

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BigRedDog
686
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BigRedDog 06/19/11 - 05:25 am
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Close This Track!!

The operation of this track in the residential neighborhood it's located in, is a sham! The placement of this track is a problem for local home and property owners. But to the TCRL it's just Radio Ga Ga they are all having FUN. The problem is it's at someone else's expense. A lot of what they are taking for granted is all at somebody else's expense. Located just 1800' East of the track is a home and property that the track is making the use of less than enjoyable. That is what we are talking about, you see these motor cross riders are going to have fun wherever they operate. And it is a very popular and entertaining sport offering huge quantity of laughs and hoots for the whole family. But it is illegal to do anything that ruins the normal legal use and enjoyment of someone else's property. Nobody is arguing with the TCRL that the motor cross is FUN, hell yes it's a real hoot! But folks real day to day life and the enjoyment of your home is just such a basic primal right the law has been written to protect it. You don't have to prove negligence to prove nuisance! It aint that somebody meant to do anyone harm it's just that the operation of this track in it's current location offends the normal use and enjoyment of this property. There is nobody calling anyone names or disrespecting them it's just against the LAW. So look out as here comes round 3! And the Motor Cross will be shut down at this location. I'll have that six pack!

harleys
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harleys 06/19/11 - 11:52 am
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Go lay on your rug!

Big Red Dog needs to go lay on his Big Brown Rug!

cheapersmokes
1256
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cheapersmokes 06/19/11 - 12:34 pm
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Harleys are you an idiot or just plain stupid?

It should be obvious to those who are supporting this raceway that the only way it will ever find any peace is if you offer to purchase the property of those who don't want it in their neighborhood. So harleys quit insulting those who speak out against it and put up some money to keep it.

akmx330
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akmx330 06/20/11 - 02:10 pm
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Voice of reason

@bigreddog - Not sure what "law" you're referring to but I seriously doubt there's a law written as vague as what you're referring to. If there were perhaps your first two attempts at closing TCR would have been a tad more successful. Also, it's motocross not motor cross.

@cheapersmokes - You just told someone to stop insulting other people after you called the guy stupid in your subject line. Classy.

For all the other open minded readers...

The motocross and circle track clubs have bent over backwards to listen to and respond to community concerns. Over the years practice times have been set, gates added, dirt mounds built up to divert vehicle sounds, etc. The track is located in land that no one will build around, i.e. swamp land. Not to mention that the track has been in existence since the 70's, likely longer than the small few that are complaining have owned their property that was likely purchased knowing the track was there.

The clubs operate with a small number of people and limited resources. They are passionate about their sports and do what they can to promote that within the community and through the Lions club are part of many charitable events on the peninsula. Both facilities are the byproduct of years of work and additions so just "moving" the fun to a new spot is not only naive but nearly impossible. Both facilities provide an outlet for the community and added entertainment for an area that badly needs it. It's a shame that a few have to try to spoil that for the majority.

cheapersmokes
1256
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cheapersmokes 06/20/11 - 04:11 pm
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akmx your right on!

I apologize for calling harleys an idiot and stupid however his comments did irate me. It was a pleasure to read your well thought out and pertinent comments. I hope both sides can come to an acceptable decision on this facility in the near future.,

harleys
0
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harleys 06/21/11 - 03:55 am
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Thanks for the apology Cheaper smokes!

After living in the Kenai, Soldotna area for the last 40 years, I have seen this subject come and go over the years. It seems as though it has come up more frequently over the last few years than ever before, thus telling me and others out there in our community, the people that are now complaining, purchased their property knowing there was a race track fairly close by! It didn't seem to matter then! K.P.R.L. have done various things to try to reduce the noise for the surrounding area with great success, however it does not seem to be good enough for some of the people out there, which there probably is nothing that would be good enough! I would hope that there could and will be a happy medium on this matter, the race track is a great place for people to go and have a good time without causing trouble. I would hate to see it shut down, there are becoming fewer and fewer community sporting events, lets not let this one fade out too! Have a nice day!

BigRedDog
686
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BigRedDog 06/21/11 - 05:16 am
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Racetrack

hey Harleys; Been here 43 years and the motocross is not welcome just due the blasted noise! The case # of the LAW I'm talking about 01-CV-0117 from an Ohio courtroom and is listed as a finding of law in Black's Law Dictionary. The jist of it is this and I'll try to keep it real simple! The doing of anything, or permitting of anything under one's control or direction to be done without just cause, the necessary consequences of which interferes with or annoys another in the enjoyment of his legal rights; the unlawfully doing of anything, or the permitting of anything under one's control or direction to be done which results in injury to another! Nuisance is not dependent on the existence of zoning laws, not that a wrong or the existence of a nuisance was intended but the creator of (it) intended to bring about the conditions which are in fact found to be a nuisance. A Qualified Nuisance, or nuisance dependent on negligence, consists of an act lawfully but so negligently or carelessly done as to create a potential and unreasonable risk of harm, which in due course results in injury to another. Even if they did not intend to generate noise, it apparently was an unavoidable byproduct of their intentional activity. The trial court may enjoin such a nuisance without any proof that the defendant acted negligently. And that is the LAW I've been talking about. It is funny to see the local politicians suck up to the votes right in front of them like vampires at a nudist colony on a dark night. You wouldn't mind if I just take a little suck, you know just suck the votes of the top I'll leave those one's that I have to work for but these votes are so attractive and easy, just fu fu fu and fiss. That's a sucking sound, guess I'm not to good at it! But you'd say I suck so I just had to beat you to it. In all the hearings and votes done and taken bye the Borough and the City of Kenai one thing surprises me about all our fine local representation on these fine councils. Not One single elected representative has been to Mr Steve Phelps home when the offending races are happening! Not one of them has made in informed vote from the facts, just voted to a room full of potential voters whom they hope will remember when the poles open. For any elected official to vote and approve this ordinance without the due diligence of witnessing the facts is pandering to the Voters!! You won't mind just a little suck hey?

drudge
3
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drudge 06/21/11 - 07:54 am
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Ohio Case

@BigRedDog: When you quote cases, it's usually a good idea to link to the actual document. Of course, now we know that the document you're referring to is a case number, not a law. It was also appealed on some fairly strong points.

It's important to note that the case you're referencing was filed before that track had even opened.. whereas our local track has been in operation since the 70's. There's enough of a difference that the Ohio case doesn't necessarily apply to our local situation.

Since you're claiming to have been here for 43 years, you would have been here when the track was first being planned and constructed.

It sounds to me like you're 4 decades late to complain.

Also: Paragraphs. They have the amazing ability to turn a messy wall of text into something more comprehensible.

akmx330
0
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akmx330 06/21/11 - 11:09 am
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@BigRedDog

Interesting case. There have been numerous lawsuits, like this, that have come up over the years stemming from similar scenarios. There are two major points of your argument that I disagree with though...

First - This case and others like it are different than our case in one very important way. The property in the Ohio case, much like other similar cases, was purchased in a populated area and then turned into a motorcross/riding area. Twin City Raceway was opened nearly 40 years ago in an unpopulated area. It's going to be very difficult to prove negligence given that fact. You don't buy a home next to an airport and then complain about the noise.

Second - Not sure which voters you think our legislators our pampering to but I've been to circle track and motocross races and generally, apart from the occasional large races, there are about 50 local residents counting spectators and riders/racers. I seriously doubt anyone is sucking up to that kind of constituency base.

I'm not trying to come off unsympathetic. We often have snowmachines and motorcycles running by our house at all times of the day and night and the sound is annoying at times. It just doesn't appear that you have much of a legal leg to stand on. Also, if you're going to copy and paste from a court case you might want to use quotation marks. Thought it was a little tacky that you said you were going to keep it simple and then proceeded to copy text directly from the case. You also seem to have a vampire fetish. You may want to seek help for that someday.

BigRedDog
686
Points
BigRedDog 06/21/11 - 04:36 pm
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Racetrack Case

State of Ohio, County of Wayne ss In The Court of Appeals Ninth District CA No 02CA0028 The Appeals Court ruled the Absolute nuisance finding was in error, however they ruled a Qualified Nuisance did indeed exits created by the race track and enjoined the operation of it commercially. I'll go you one more, I found out just recently that most of the true motocross noise I have been hearing was bandits. They run the cities gravel pit of Eisenhower which is almost the same distance from my property as Mr Phelps is from the racetrack. When the moto cross is operating you cannot find a place within the house where you can't hear the cycles. Normal conversation is toast and everybody is lip reading. It is really that Bad and I think near criminal to treat Mr Phelps like that. To not have one single voting Official stop and listen is less than due diligence. I watched as 5 neighbors plead against the track and were dismissed without a question. I watched as 7 motocross enthusiast of the 10 testifying were each asked not 1 but many questions that let them expound upon their points of interest. Right down to how old a bike one guy rides. So this piece of work is going to get appealed on just that point. The council members who do not care to go to the Phelps home and witness just what they are forcing him to hear should be censured for not doing their job.

BigRedDog
686
Points
BigRedDog 06/23/11 - 05:02 am
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Time to Grow UP

Three racetracks in the Anchorage area have been closed within the last 25 years! They to were put out in an area that was under populated at the time. To say these folks are grandfathered in where it makes them untouchable is not true. You see the courts nation wide have been very unkind to any disclosure requirement activity. It is to be avoided wherever a conflict concerning primary residency is involved. Still comes down to the fact that none the committee members have made an informed vote. Not one of these wise wise council members has gone to the Phelps residence while the track is in operation and said yea that's Okay! I wouldn't mind having that next door, that I think is the question. To sit and hear the TCRL lay claim to $1,000,000.00 worth of dirt hauled from the City Dock and given them is a sham. Was the money used to haul that dirt miss appropriated? Was there and ordinance allowing the spending of my City tax money to haul that dirt? Was that fill offered up to the public commercially? Was anyone else aware the Cities tax money was being put in the pocket of an outlaw cycle club? We have our fingers crossed that we may have gotten the attention of the Big Guns, the Trusties for Alaska don't like the smell of this little political hot potato. Trouble is if they come down it could spell disaster for the Range also. You see bad things happen when you screw over the little guy. To hear one of the pompous comments by a council member " Ohe we can just give them the same kind of deal we gave the Range" like who is we? You got something in your pocket? To hear someone say like they are to cool for school, Ohe we can give them three years then look at this again is pompous BS when they are to lazy to get of their chair and go listen to the Noise. Uninformed votes are wrong, just pandering to the crowd is a shame!

akmx330
0
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akmx330 06/23/11 - 04:58 pm
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Final thoughts....

Just a few counterpoints to your posts BigRedDog...

- The Jodhpur motocross track in Anchorage was opened about the same time as the Twin City track and has been Anchorage's only motocross track to my knowledge. I've heard that it was closed for a serious injury at one time and insurance issues another time but have never heard that it was closed due to noise complaints. I know that it has been open for several years now because the Anchorage club and the neighboring home owners negotiated reasonable practice times and racing schedules.

- The racing season is four months long... Your comments make it sound like it's something that is dealt with year round but in reality the noise is present occasionally throughout the day and on a few weekends spread out through the summer.

- Alaskans live here for a reason. If we start becoming more like the lower 48 we might as well move somewhere without 6 months of winter.

Honestly, I could really care less about what happens. We are moving out of state next month and TCR and this argument will be a distant memory a short time after that. When it boils down to it I kind of feel sorry for you. Life is short. One day you'll regret wasting any of it on something that is ultimately, trivial.

Best of luck to you, Mr. Phelps.

BigRedDog
686
Points
BigRedDog 06/24/11 - 05:14 am
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For a buddy

You say good luck Mr Phelps but kick him hard when you walk of and leave this mess in his back yard. Me, I could give a crap about the TCR but it is seriously impacts my little buddy Steve Phelps. The noise at his home is an absolute crime! I also thought the noise I was hearing was the track but have found the huge gravel pit of Eisenhower is the problem. The noise from the pit is just as loud at my home as the TCR is at the Phelps home. Just so you know personally I would stand out in the street and fight any 5 guys they lined up if it would help my little buddy. You say life is short, my little friend has sat in that chair running his world for 17 yrs and that in dog years makes him a centurion. To see him grieve and suffer pain from the anxiety brought on bye this assault of noise does rile me in a big way. Maybe you never found something that made you stand up and say you might whip my ass on this one but you are going to be in a fight!! They didn't put a whole lot of back down and quit in that mold before I popped out. And life is short, but it would also be wasted if you never find the backbone to stand up and help a friend truly in need. And I'm telling you it is morally wrong to place Mr Phelps in this hell hole of noise. That not one single council member Bor. or City went to the Phelps home while a race was on is absolute BS. A vote to allow the track is to continue is a crime a political suck up to a large voting group. That the track was started through an Ordinance procedure does mean there should be reciprocity through the same Ordinance procedure. The council City or Bor. should be obligated to right the wrong done to our property rights through the placement of this track where it is. And I quite frankly wouldn't want the Karma associated with screwing over a man like Mr Phelps. Make no bones about it a vote to continue the TCR motocross is like kicking my little buddy while he is sitting in that chair, that makes me want to stand up and say bring it! There has been nothing fair, impartial, or unbiased about the actions taken to secure this lease for the TCRL. A complete sham in local politics and a real piece of work. So shame on you and anyone that would screw Steve over in this way can take a hike.

akmx330
0
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akmx330 06/24/11 - 09:39 am
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17 years

@BigRedDog: It's become apparent that you're more interested in having others listen to what you say than listening to what anyone else has to say (possibly why you're having a hard time getting borough assembly members to listen to you), so I'll make one final attempt to pierce the void and then move on...

I applaud you for standing up for a friend. That is the only reason that I have been adding to this dialouge, to stand up for all the friends I have made through motocross. The Twin City track has provided an outlet for my family and many others over the years. I have made some of the best friends I have today through the sport and the club has been a big part of that. For that reason alone I'd like to see the track remain open so that others can benefit from it the way I have.

17 years... That's the best argument I can come up with for keeping the track open. Your little buddy bought his house with the knowledge that there was a track 1800 feet away. You don't see any fault in that scenario for Mr. Phelps? That, in my opinion, is the biggest problem our great country faces. It seems no one can take responsibility for their own mistakes anymore.

Since this will be my last posting on this topic I've got to add... "in dog years he'd be a centurion", "like a vampire in a nudist colony"? You're a strange dude, red dog.

witchwitch
51
Points
witchwitch 06/24/11 - 08:14 pm
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0
When the hammer falls it will be messy...

I haven't commented earlier in this thread because it's pointless... I believe that the only solution will be through litigation.

I also find all of the "I was here first" rhetoric irrelevant, as being there first does not give the prior occupant any superior rights over all other private property owners. However, it's my understanding that the house that Mr. Phelps lives in has been owned by the same family for well over 40 years. Much of the rhetoric I hear reveal to me that the racing supporters are misinformed regarding their duty to the neighbors around them.

I believe that their bed and breakfast business has been damaged. When the financial losses are great enough and it becomes apparent that the Racing Lions will not control the nuisance noise, then litigation will be the only avenue left.

The BOROUGH owns the property and I hope that if this goes to litigation they are held partially responsible, too. The city of Kenai is a bad neighbor, that further bends rules and disregards both past violations and current rules (such as the agreement to get permission BEFORE expansion, not years after), and have their public hearing years too late, in order to execute the "lawful" process before rubber stamping approval for their favored applicant.

The sad part is, when it comes to litigation, the whole group will likely find themselves stopped through an injunction, while it was the motocrossers that was the straw that broke the camel's back.

The Racing Lions are doing a very good thing, in a very bad way. It's very irresponsible conduct and they know exactly what they are doing.

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