frenchyd Dork
3/1/18 9:50 a.m.

 My last one was the Met Stadium in Bloomington Minnesota.  I actually help stack the hay bales.  

Just wanna see how many old geezisers like myself there are. 

dculberson UltimaDork
3/1/18 10:46 a.m.

I watched a super moto race with hay bales lining the track. That was about 10 years ago! They let you stand right outside the chainlink fence and hay bales, it was amazing. If someone had a serious off it would have been very dangerous but I sure enjoyed it. Race gas smells good.

GTXVette SuperDork
3/1/18 10:51 a.m.

they would Some times put a row of Hay Bales in front of the R R Crosstie Wall On the round tracks, Damn they were HARD Walls, the Bales were like Non-existant. even the Concrete walls seemed to Bounce you off of them.  Crossties seem to grab you and Stop you there/ Right Then.

Toyman01 MegaDork
3/1/18 11:30 a.m.

Goodwood still uses them. 

3/1/18 12:14 p.m.

The first track I raced on as a kid was on an old NIKE missile site and used the roads that ran around the underground silos. I was racing a 1/4 midget.  You think the hay bales are a fast stop in a car with a little weight you should feel it in a light Kart or little 1/4 midget. Pic taken on track after my first race. No bales in pic though, there was a straight in the background and they only used bales at corners.


RevRico UltraDork
3/1/18 12:23 p.m.

There's a motocross track not too far away that's still hay baled.

I only mention it because until about 10 years ago they ran dirt modified cars there, and it was a great way to spend a Friday night. 

It's changed hands a few times, rumor has it they might be bringing back the dirt modified, but I won't hold my breath. 

wspohn Dork
3/1/18 2:26 p.m.

Yes I've raced at tracks that used them. You do NOT want to hit one - around here they weight around 75 lbs. and if it has rained, a lot heavier. That can do some serious body damage.

johndej HalfDork
3/1/18 2:48 p.m.

Not hay bails but went to a dirt track out in Iowa to watch some racing a couple years ago (Ames County Speedway) that didn't appear to have any walls/fences on the back side.... just a hay/cornfield.

frenchyd Dork
3/2/18 6:41 a.m.

In reply to wspohn :

Less damage than trees and guardrails and posts will do though. Scattering hay bales absorbs a lot of energy quickly. 

However the fire risk is significant. 

I’m not an advocate of hay bales. Simply remembering the roots of sports car racing here in America. 

frenchyd Dork
3/2/18 6:48 a.m.
RevRico said:

There's a motocross track not too far away that's still hay baled.

I only mention it because until about 10 years ago they ran dirt modified cars there, and it was a great way to spend a Friday night. 

It's changed hands a few times, rumor has it they might be bringing back the dirt modified, but I won't hold my breath. 

It’s pretty hard to field a competitive modified for much under $40,000  and a small town track would be hard pressed to pay out $500 for a win given the economics of running a track. 

$500 really wouldn’t cover costs.  And 15-20 entrants wouldn’t have anyway of recovering their operating expenses. 

Even bomber stock cars can’t really carry their own weight economically.  

Tom1200 HalfDork
3/2/18 10:42 p.m.

I rode a desert GP a few years back on my vintage MX bike. The end of the course ran through a parking lot. The course was outlined with hay bales, while I'm not a particularly good off road rider I'm a very good pavement rider. The desert guys were pretty conservative I was dragging the foot pegs and sliding those poor knobbies tires. Thank goodness the people spectating didn't see my less than inspirational ride through the rough sections out in the desert.

I've worked some Kart races that used bales to line the course but I think everyone has gone to those plastic things know. 

Floating Doc
Floating Doc Reader
3/2/18 11:51 p.m.

My first career was racing harness horses. In 1975, I was at the Indiana State Fair. We had just finished the grand circuit race meet and were going to ship out the next morning.

The flat track motorcycle racing was on for that night. We watched a good portion of the race from the roof of the barn until the state police chased us off.

Kenny Roberts set motorcycle racing history that night, winning with a road racing engine in a flat track frame. We watched him clip the hay bales in the turns as he stalked the three front running Harleys. 

He sailed past them in the stretch for the win, came by so fast that they never knew he was coming. 

After the race, he did a one handed wheely all the way down the backstretch of that big mile track while carrying the checkered flag. 

I didn't realize what a significant race I was watching, but it was quiet obvious that he had far more power than the other bikes. I read an article about it on a few years ago and put it all together.

BTW, that week I also saw Tommy Ivo do a full pull in the unlimited pulling tractor class. The tractor had his signature power, four fuel injected Buick engines. Although I had never heard of competitive tractor pulling, the sound of those race engines carried pretty far and I was right over there as soon as I got my horse cooled out.

When Tommy Ivo came out with this Buick powered tractor, I knew exactly what I was seeing. I had built a model of his Showboat dragster, and this was just a pulling tractor version of that car. 

Gary SuperDork
3/6/18 8:44 p.m.

Frenchy, my man ... you are indeed dating yourself (and I don't mean going out to dinner and a movie alone). You are no doubt a geezer like me. However, while I've seen pictures of old sports car race courses with hay bales, the oldest tracks I remember, and have seen first hand, are with old tires embedded in the ground on the inside of the corners. So, half-tires sticking out of the ground and painted white, but only on the inside of the corners so you couldn't cut the corner too close. Anybody who has seen old photos of the esses at Riverside knows what I'm talking  about. I saw them at Thompson in the sixties. But, in any case, I understand the objective of your post, and that is: Who remembers the old days? I certainly do. I remember them as the golden years of sports car racing. And that was long before "vintage sports car racing" even existed.

Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
3/7/18 5:49 a.m.

Both Fernandina Beach and Put In Bay used hay bales just recently. It reminded me of the old days!

frenchyd Dork
3/7/18 7:37 a.m.

In reply to Gary :

Yep! I’m an old guy. “ I remember when! -“. Cars of my youth, all of them!   Quaify for any vintage race..

No I don’t think it’s better,  A modern Mazda is in nearly every way  is a better car than the Lotus Elan it was patterned after.  (and I still think of the Lotus as a modern car). But a racer today doesn’t need to be a mechanic in order to race it on a budget.  

However, it was fun. 

frenchyd Dork
3/7/18 7:40 a.m.

In reply to Tim Suddard :

That I wish I’d been to. Even with all the years I raced in California I never got to Put-in-Bay. Or Fernando Beach to race. 

OFracing Reader
3/7/18 8:05 p.m.

They still use them in Schenley Park for the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix. I'll find out what it's like this summer, doing the event for the first time.

Not me in the video, from the 2016 race


mike h

Gary SuperDork
3/7/18 9:50 p.m.

Mike, great video. But we need more of your own videos! (I loved the one from Thompson a few years ago where you battled with that guy "Alain" from Canada in the Abarth). 

OFracing Reader
3/8/18 7:44 p.m.

In reply to Gary:

Thanks Gary, I'm waiting for the in car stuff from the red sprite, Richard Brown's, that I had a blast with at Thompson's Vintage Festival last year. My camera was facing forward so it doesn't catch all the good stuff going on just behind me. You saw it live, I want to see what I missed while I drove my butt off trying to stay in front.


mike h

Gary SuperDork
3/8/18 9:27 p.m.

Mike, I found the video from a few years ago. It was from Alain Raymond's camera:

Spitfire vs. Abarth

This is a great video, one of my favorite in-car videos because of the close action. You can almost feel it. It was a very close race for Mike in his #7 red Spitfire and Alain Raymond from Quebec in his Abarth 1000. I watched this race from the infield end of the bridge, which is one of my favorite spectator locations at Thompson. In addition to the great duel between Mike and Alain, the video also captures the Spridget that went up on two wheels and almost went over. Great, great action.

Mike, you almost caught him on the last lap!

stu67tiger Reader
3/9/18 8:21 p.m.

Hi Guys:

Thanks for the links.  Pittsburg looks scary, not much in the way of the safety stuff we see now.  Spectators too close and unprotected, lots of hard things to hit if you go off.  I also googled some of Mike's other videos.  Good fun there,too.  Now I just have to convince my friend Phil to post his Alpine videos.

I can't wait for spring.  I had a taste of warm weather on my week in Florida, returning to find the s**t we've had over the last couple weeks.  We just got the power back on after the last storm, and another one coming monday.  Isn't the Notrheast fun?

See you at the vintage races!


Gary SuperDork
3/10/18 6:27 p.m.

Stu and Mike, hope to see you at Thompson in June.

Hokie69 New Reader
3/11/18 9:19 a.m.

Was at Cumberland in '57/'58 as a 5th grader, but already a certified motorhead.

Still remember 356 Speedsters and Cunningham's white D Types

Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
3/14/18 7:40 p.m.

frenchyd, Put In Bay is near Sandusky Ohio.

frenchyd Dork
3/16/18 1:13 p.m.

In reply to Tim Suddard :

Thank you Tim. Learn something else I didn’t know. 

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