An Update on Track Conditions – the track took a beating on the final day of the 2011 Parts Canada TransCan. After Saturday’s late afternoon deluge, track workers were up for hours at dawn on Sunday scraping back the mud and slop to make the pro race day possible. The torrential amount of rain that Mother Nature delivered throughout Sunday culminated in a near miss with the Goderich tornado that skirted by only kilometers away. This washed away not only the final MX1 Pro moto, but much of the prime top soil that the amateurs got to ride on all week. Unrelenting rainfall continued for most of the following week.
Damage to the track caused all of Walton Raceway’s fall events to be cancelled and we had to go into track recovery mode. The first thing we had to do was wait for the main part of the track to drain and then we broke out the machinery to blade the dirt back that was pushed off the track during that rainy Sunday, at least on the accessible sections. Once completed we put a band aid over the entire track in the form of a cover crop. Grain seed was planted to not only stabilize the soil but to give it a protective blanket during the cold winter months. These steps plus a spring program of pumping, restoration of drainage and replenishing topsoil will bring the dirt back to the same quality everyone comes to expect when they take to the Walton track.
Concern wasn’t limited to the track conditions. Walton Raceway’s access roads and pits were also rendered impassable by the rain and mud. Hundreds of vehicles had to enter and exit Walton Raceway, many with the assistance of tractors and dozers. Like the main track, these roads had to dry and then were packed, bladed smooth and resurfaced to be ready for 2012. No track likes to get rain, especially the amount we received at the TransCan. But every precaution has been taken to ensure the facility will be ready for 2012.
New For 2012: When you arrive at Walton Raceway next year you will notice is a new building at the entrance to Gate B. The unique part of this new event centre is an 8,000 sq ft array of solar panels, a joint project managed by KW Powerlogic http://www.kwpowerlogic.com, that is capable of producing up to 100KW of green energy delivered to the Ontario Power Authority under the Feed in Tariff Program http://fit.powerauthority.on.ca/what-feed-tariff-program.
In addition we will be introducing a visitors walking trail through the wetland development area jointly developed with the Huron County Stewardship Council, local conservation authorities and Ducks Unlimited. New access roads and site layout will open up a new area for camping which will double camper capacity.
An entertainment package is proposed for the TransCan in conjunction with the Government of Ontario’s Celebrate Ontario program. Significant provincial tourism events can apply to receive support for expansion. After an extensive internal review of the Parts Canada TransCan, it was determined that we met all of the criteria laid out by the Ministry of Tourism. The application is in. We will know later this winter if it is a approved. To be recognised alongside important Tourism events in Ontario is not only be a boon for the Huron County Region, but is a big step forward in the sport. According to Mike Pullen, Senior Economic Development Officer, County of Huron “The enhancement of existing world-class events like the Walton TransCan Festival and Event is a sound strategy for building the long-term economic health of our communities.”
Additional marketing partnership initiatives are being under taken with Regional Tourism Organization Four as well as Fanshawe College. David Peacock, director of the Regional Tourism Organization, states “RTO4 has identified sports tourism as one of the initiatives and will be using the Walton TransCan Festival and Event as a feeder event to draw tourists into the region.”
Julien Bill update for everyone who had the pleasure of watching Swiss GP World Champion Julien Bill win the plus 25 class and finish second on Sunday in the MX1 class. While competing at a local race in early September Julien had a big crash and suffered multiple injuries. Julien had this to say about his crash “I was racing in a small local race just to stay in shape and I ended up getting sideways off a jump and went down very hard. I suffered numerous injuries including 7 broken ribs, a triple fracture of my shoulder an a concussion. I was in the hospital for a week because I had trouble breathing on my own. It has taken two months to recover but I am almost back to 100%”.Julien went on to say how much he enjoyed his time at Walton Raceway. Next year Julien will ride the Swiss Championships as well as some rounds of the MX3 GP’s. At the end of December he will head to California to ride and train for two months before his season begins in Europe. In a bit of good news for Canadian race fans, Julien hopes to come back over and ride Walton next summer schedule permitting. Hopefully we will all get to watch Julien go up against Colton, Dusty and all the top national riders on a classic Walton track.