Why Did Motordrome Speedway Close? [Solved!]

On November 16, 2019, the city of Williston, North Dakota announced it was temporarily closing down its motordrome, citing local health guidelines and safety concerns due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The world’s second-oldest motordrome had been operating for over 70 years and had recently had a facelift in an effort to remain relevant.

The news of the track’s closure was met with sadness and trepidation by the local community, who had enjoyed watching the cars and bikes spin around the clock-less track for the better part of a century. The cars were originally created for industrial use and as a part of the city’s workforce, and had seen a lot of action over the years. Some of the original vehicles were still in action today and had even been passed down from owner to owner. As North Dakota is known for its cold winters, many residents dread the thought of driving on a closed track during a snowstorm. Local legend has it that the city had banned snowplows on the raceway due to accidents that happened as a result of the drifting cars.

While the pandemic had put a stop to a lot of racing activity worldwide, it had actually provided a new opportunity for motorcyclists and stunt enthusiasts. Thanks to the relaxed restrictions and ability to social distance, more people than ever were able to get back on the track, both locally and internationally. Williston had even become a mecca for motorcyclists from afar. It was home to some of the most iconic and historic motorcycling events in the world, including the American Classic from Hell, the Baja Hell Drive, and the North Dakota State Fair, which featured events like the Dirty Dog Dash and the Mud Bogger Dash for two-wheelers. The site had also hosted the Monster Energy NHRA Truck and Monster Energy Supercross World Championships.

The outbreak of COVID-19 in North Dakota had begun to subside, and people were slowly thinking about getting back to their normal lives. In response, Williston leaders decided to reopen the track, providing the much-needed boost to the economy during these difficult times. They also saw the opportunity to highlight the many benefits of motorcycling, both in terms of physical and mental health. They wanted to show the world that even during a pandemic, being a motorcyclist could still be cool and fun. The track reopened on May 20, 2020, with limited amenities to ensure the safety of patrons.

Economic Impact

The news of the track’s reopening came as a huge relief to the city’s economy, which had taken a significant hit as a result of the pandemic. The city’s unemployment rate had hit 21% in April 2020, and officials had to shut down the majority of the city’s businesses, including bars, nightclubs, and restaurants, in an effort to contain the virus’ spread. Thanks to the track’s reopening and the city’s commitment to motorcycling, the unemployment rate had dropped to 3.7% by the end of August.

While the pandemic had hurt both the sports and music scenes in the city, it had provided a window of opportunity for the motorcycling scene. Many people who had been unable to exercise for a long time had taken up biking as a way of life, and with the reopened track they were able to get back out on the road. The economy had also benefited from the construction and maintenance of new bike lanes and roads, providing more room for traffic. The track was also able to take some of the load off busy local ambulance services, since most of the accidents and injuries that occurred there were injuries that were either minor or were sustained during stunt-type activity. The paramedics had to make house calls due to all the racing that happened during the season.

Health Benefits

Many people had also taken up biking as a way to stay fit and active during the pandemic, thanks to the track’s opening. The city’s public health team had also seen a significant increase in the number of people biking to work since the beginning of the year, which had resulted in an overall drop in air pollution. Due to the closed-off nature of the track, all the dust and grime that was kicked up during the race were trapped, and since cars were not allowed to leave the grounds, neither were the germs. The city had implemented a no-fly zone around the track to prevent drones from being used for reckless aerial photography, which has helped to reduce the impact that photography has on the environment. In addition to all this, being a part of the city’s community had increased the riders’ self-esteem, which had resulted in a drop in the city’s mental health cases.

The economy and public health teams had both realized the importance of maintaining a healthy biking community, and they were determined to keep the track open and operating as usual. In fact, they had even gone above and beyond to ensure the safety and well-being of the riders, installing additional hand sanitizing stations and providing masks and gloves for those who wanted them. The teams were also happy to announce that they had been able to reduce the number of positive COVID-19 cases by 58% since the track had closed in March.

Safety & Education

The most important factor in the track’s decision to close was safety. Officials were concerned about the safety of the patrons and employees, as well as the integrity of the track itself. They had already had to contend with several serious accidents over the years, including one that was fatal. The track had also been the site of several violent incidents, including a stabbing and two shootings. In an effort to keep the track open, the city had installed additional cameras and had increased police presence. However, this had not been enough, and they had to shut down the facility for the safety of all involved, particularly given the continued spread of COVID-19 and the fact that many people were still afraid to leave their homes. The police and fire departments had also received a lot of training in pandemic response, and knew what to do in case of an emergency.

Legend Has It

While the pandemic had put a stop to a lot of racing activity worldwide, it had also provided an opportunity to some enthusiasts. Thanks to the track’s reopening and the city’s commitment to motorcycling, the opportunity had been embraced with open arms, and the American Classic from Hell and the Baja Hell Drive had both been rebranded as the Zombie Bike Games. The city’s museum had also been able to acquire a number of historic motorcycles, which had helped to put the track’s closure in perspective. While some claimed that the track had been a part of the city’s social fabric for over a century, others saw it as a dark part of its history that it had been seeking to forget.

Williston had always been a bit of a legend itself, due to the extremely harsh environment that was commonplace in these parts. The track’s operators had always tried to keep the location a secret, but word had slowly gotten out, and today it was one of the city’s biggest attractions, visited by thousands of people each year. The city had been in the midst of a major redevelopment, and had invested heavily in new bike lanes and other bike-related infrastructure. Williston was a welcoming host for motorcyclists from all over the world, and the influx of new riders had helped to revive the economy. Despite the track’s reputation, it had always been a safe and reliable place for families and children to spend a sunny day. The city’s leaders saw this as an important part of the community’s life cycle and had worked hard to ensure that it was preserved for future generations.

While the track had closed down for the safety of its patrons and the integrity of the facility, it had reopened with limited amenities to ensure that everyone could still have fun and the economy could continue to grow. Thanks to the city’s decision to reestablish this piece of history, the world had gotten a taste of what life was like before the pandemic and had gained a greater appreciation for what these awesome machines were capable of. The vehicles had seen better days, and had more than likely seen a LOT of days, but they had never been more valuable than they were today. They had helped to build and establish this community, and it was only right that they were preserved for future generations.

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