The Legacy of Thunderhill Park, a story worth reading!
Contact Thunderhill Raceway today at 530-934-5588.
Thunderhill Park will turn 18 years old this year having opened "officially' in October of 1993. It has been a long journey for those of us who started with the project in the year of 1987. Long in years but even longer in time when you consider that all enterprises that start from scratch take 12 hour days at the rate of seven days a week. That is what we did back then and it is still not uncommon to have a 12 hour day or a seven day week. It's just not every week anymore.
One of the neat things about Thunderhill is the recognition that it has received in a world where a great many new tracks have come on line funded by wealthy people who were able to use huge resources to create exceptional amenities right at the start. As you know Thunderhill was funded by a large body of racers, mostly SCCA drivers. In addition other Clubs, groups and individuals were there when the need was made public. Today we ask people to support the mission of Thunderhill by buying food, fuel, merchandise and renting garages. Most importantly we ask that everyone who wants and needs to use a closed-course road track give Thunderhill the business. So far all of this has worked very well. The progress you have seen at Thunderhill has all come from those who use the park and those who see the value in supporting the future growth and development of Thunderhill by buying what they need from us. Thank you for your insight and your sense of the long-term value you create by doing something as simple as purchasing gasoline from "your track".
People chose to use a track facility for a lot of reasons with location being at the top of the list. Available dates fall in close behind. But after that choice is made the number one reason why people come back to a track is the value they perceive in the course itself. Not so long ago, well known track designer and former general manager of Miller Motorsports Park, Alan Wilson said, in print, that Thunderhill Park was the best run road course of its kind in North America. Wow! He suggested that those who wanted to see how a facility should be run should check us out. Thanks Alan! In the last issue of Sports Car well known road racer and columnist Randy Pobst described what he felt were the "best "road race tracks in the world. Among these were the Nurburgring, Mosport, VIR, Road Atlanta, Watkins Glenn, Laguna Seca and Road America. Toward the end of his article Randy said the following," My favorite track built in the last 20 years is Thunderhill Park." [Thunderhill offers] "A combination of safe runoff and the traditional road-course feel with lots of corners in many flavors, all spicy hot!" Another Wow! Thanks Randy! See you at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill. In the end, the appeal of a venue be it a personal assessment or a published one, does have an impact on the user's choices. It has been said that it is the "ride" that counts and this is true. The better the on-track experience, the more challenging, the more intimidating [up to a point] and the longer it takes to master the intricacies of the course, the more likely people will return to that venue. This also influences the likelihood that journalists will write interesting stories about the track. All of you who call Thunderhill Park home can be proud that some pretty savvy people think you are playing on one of the best tracks in the country!
And as Buzz Light Year is known to say, "To Thunderhill and beyond!" Recent web page data shows that we had 100 visits last month from Canada, 24 visits from the United Kingdom, 19 visits from Australia, 10 visits from Germany and 7 each from Belgium, France, Sweden and Italy with the Netherlands bringing up the rear with 5 visits from their home land road-race enthusiasts. This immediately makes me think that HOD is expanding to these countries but, in fact, these numbers tell a story about the magnitude of the track the SCCA built 17 years ago as well as the quality of the offering that has spread around the world. For statistical types there were 5,521 visits from the United States in this Google Dashboard analysis of our web page. And keep in mind this is for a fixed period in time from July 17th to August 16th. When the 25 Hours of Thunderhill starts to ramp up for its 9th running here in December, the numbers from Japan will jump off the chart. In Japan the 25 Hours of Thunderhill, our signature event presented by National Auto Sport Association [NASA], is a really big deal. In addition to a whole host of US race driver and movie celebrities, we get a significant number of Japanese racers including the famous Honda based, Spoon in-house race team.
Between now and the 25 I would encourage you all to attend and participate in our events. The September SCCA Vintage event has been heavily promoted and promises to be big on September 11th and 12th! The final SCCA regional championship point event at Thunderhill is scheduled for three days starting on Friday September 24 and wrapping up on Sunday the 26th. The SCCA has moved their season final and RDC endurance race to Laguna Seca in October.
October will see the wildest of all on-track racing when the AFM concludes their two-wheel action on October 2nd and 3rd and then there is the always-fabulous CSRG vintage final event October 29th through the 31st. CSRG is famous for raising funds for charity at there events. They included the local Willows hospital as one of their benefactors in 2009.
In 2010/2011 we are trying to save the local FREE 4th of July community fireworks show for everyone in Willows. As with other great community things that rely on private support, this annual celebration of our nation's greatness has run out of funding! Can the racing community help?