Many moons ago, I wrote a piece for a family magazine seeking out the top summer holiday destinations for families. One of the places that I recommend is Dog Hollow Speedway in New Jersey, USA. I’ve been there three times now with my kids and it’s definitely on our must-do list for 2018.
The short answer is ‘yes, it is’ and the long answer is ‘sort of’. I mean, it depends on your definition of ‘dirt’. If you’re referring to the track itself, then absolutely, it is dirt – but they spray it on the track whenever they need to clean it or repair something. Some people might also confuse the track with concrete, as there are a lot of smooth, marbled concrete sections on it. But that’s definitely not dirt. To describe it as such would be a disservice to the amazing workers and volunteers at Dog Hollow. On the other hand, the grandstands, the infield and the entire surrounding areas are all grass – and that’s what you’d expect at a regular race track. The difference is that they don’t mow the grass often, if ever, which gives the whole place a really natural, untouched look.
Dog Hollow is probably most well known for having the nation’s longest paved/off-road bicycle track. According to their website, the track is 7.5 miles long and can be ridden in any direction, which gives it monotonous trails that wind through the forest – a beautiful, but often-trodden sight. To me, it’s one of the most picturesque dirt tracks in existence. If you ever get the chance to visit, I highly recommend it.
The Ultimate Summer Holiday
Back to the original question: is Dog Hollow Speedway dirt? I think that it’s fairly safe to say that if you consider the surrounding areas as well as the track itself, then the answer is a resounding ‘yes, it is’. But they do a lot of cleanup work before each race, so it is actually a combination of both dirt and synthetic clay. The combination is exceptional: fast, loose and unpredictable for both drivers and spectators. At least, that’s what I’ve been told. You might also ask how I know what dirt is. Well, the short answer is that I live in California and we have a lot of mud, so it would be easy for me to tell the difference myself (I’m a bit of a nature enthusiast, so I love the rain – I mean, water – and the havoc that it can create).
Since California is in a constant state of drought, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to head to Dog Hollow and get yourself a refreshing drink at the nearby refreshment stand. And while you’re there, you might as well get some snacks and a few T-shirts to remember the occasion. What I really like about the place is how they don’t really do motorbikes there. The track has been around since 1946 and has always been used for biking competitions and racing. The only motorbikes that you’ll see are vintage models or replicas of them. The place is a mecca for bikers – except for Sunday afternoons, when they hold dog races with the community’s pet dogs participating. So if you’re looking for a unique combination of nature and motorbikes, Dog Hollow might be the place for you.
An Amazing Facility
And finally, a word about the track itself. If you’ve never been there and you think that it must be a muddy, disgusting hole, then you’d be completely wrong. In fact, the track is quite smooth and fast, which makes it great for both drivers and spectators. One of the things that I like most about Dog Hollow is how they don’t really have any seats behind the grandstands. There are no barriers, so if you get a drink or something to eat, you’ll be very close to the action. It’s a great place for families and children as well. There’s also a playground adjacent to the grandstands, which makes it even more accessible for families.
On the other hand, the restrooms aren’t too dirty, so if you need to go after the long bike ride, you’ll have some relief. The biggest problem is that, as I mentioned before, it is a combination of both dirt and synthetic clay. So if there’s a lot of water during the day, then expect some areas to be wet. But that’s no biggie, since you’re only there to have fun and drive fast. I would recommend this place to anyone – especially anyone who loves the wet and the wild. In my opinion, it really is the ultimate summer holiday destination.