When last we met, Thunderhill Park was about to open its doors, participating in the birth of a race track and joining the harsh reality in motorsports venue operations. Like most new parents of a neonate, we weren’t exactly sure what we were doing. The track was done as far as we could go. We had a trailer for timing and scoring and another trailer which was basically a place for the stewards and for Pauline Laskin and her race central crew at the grand opening. The track had no curbs and remarkably few walls. The chosen weekend was Halloween and the San Francisco Region of the SCCA was ready. Since 1988 the Club had, in varying degrees, anticipated this event. The buzz within the road racing world and the local community was at an all-time high.
If you have been reading the story of Thunderhill you know we are up to the part where we start construction. We had just gotten permission to build the track and the period of notification to the local area had passed with nary a single complaint. The next step before construction was to announce the successful status of the track effort. We did this through a video and a site visit plus Wheel press. The video was made using a helicopter to fly over a track carved into the landscape that sort of replicated the design created by Steve Crawford. We shot the video by hanging off the runner of the helicopter as it followed the path of the track plowed into the earth by our new neighbor Thor Oden. We still have that video. We showed the video at the SCCA banquet in 1992 and we issued press in the Wheel. I think Club members were pleased with what they saw and heard but there were still those folks who thought that Willows was too far away and that this would be the death knell of the project. The original parameter for location was one hour from the intersection of 580 and 680 in Pleasanton. It had to do with travel time.
Willows, Ca. February 14, 2013….. Alternative Energy Systems [AES] a Chico based solar company is ensconced at the local Thunderhill Raceway Park in the process of installing 314 solar panels to the already diverse energy program at the Willows road race track. The $336,824 project began just a week ago and is schedule to bring the facility to a point nearing grid-neutral status when combined with the track’s three wind generators and the pending solar field to be located on 133 acres of property north of the raceway. “We are very excited about this project and what it means to the image and energy use of Thunderhill Park,” noted track energy expert Stuart Seitz. Seitz is a 2010 graduate of Chico State and three-year employee of the raceway located at 5250 Hwy 162 in Willows.
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The Thunderhill Tire Shop offers you great tires and service right at the track. There is no need to shop anywhere else. Stop by garage 10 and check it out today!
You can now purchase tires online from Thunderhill Park. That's right, all you have to do is point and click. We'll handle your entire order and have them ready for you when you arrive at the track. Remember everything you purchase at Thunderhill actually helps the track make improvements, improvements that you actually can benefit from!
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Combine your business future with Thunderhill Park with an ideal location near the raceway activity with lots of room for growth and creative uses. Be the first to realize the many benefits of track-side proximity in a building that meets your every need. Numerous revenue opportunities. Lot location ready for construction offering you a chance to design key features of your building. Looking for long-term lease and funding sources to build multi-faceted building for business that caters to the motorsports enthusiast.
After the excitement and drama of the grand opening of Thunderhill on that Halloween weekend in October of 1993 the next task was to build the business and to put Thunderhill on a solid foundation for the years ahead. Sears Point and Laguna Seca were popular tracks with long legacies and lots of business. We were the new kid on the block. Could we compete? Could we rent enough days to pay the bills and keep the property open? These were all fair questions and the answers depended, to a large extent, on how we approached the task.
WE ARE IN THIS TOGETHER – is a phrase I like to use when talking to the folks who rent Thunderhill Park. Occasionally some one will ask what I mean by this statement. Here is the answer.
Thunderhill Park was built to provide a long-term future for recreational track users. In the late 80s and early 90s, clubs that rented the available road courses were not the focus of the tracks that existed back then. Professional events were the bread and butter and dates and resources were distributed accordingly. When Jack Williams turned Sears Point over to his then partner, the price for track usage for clubs doubled. When Laguna Seca was transferred to Monterey County from the federal government things changed there as well. At the same time that oldnemesis, land value, was consuming Riverside Raceway in Southern California. Ontario Motor Speedway had already failed financially. What was a recreational track user to do?
For info on garage rentals at Thunderhill