Steel City National MX Takes On Track Changes
With the American Motocross Festival and 2008 AMA Toyota Motocross Championship Presented by FMF season finale just a little over a week away, Kittanning, Pa.’s own Broc Hepler debuted his Factory Yamaha at the all-new track on Wednesday at Steel City Raceway. The Coombs family, promoter of the American Motocross Festival, has hired the services of renowned track builder Marc Peters, who has made exciting changes to the Steel City layout as well as overall upgrades to the facility in preparation for the inaugural Labor Day celebration on August 29-30. “Marc Peters has made some wonderful changes to the track,” said Event Manager Tim Cotter. “The new step-up jump is huge, easily the biggest jump on the track. And we’ve positioned it so the fans will get a great look at all of that air time.” An expanded track width, along with the addition of whoops and aforementioned step-up jump really stood out in Helper’s mind as he logged laps at the celebrated facility. “I’m really excited,” said Hepler. “The changes will give (the bikes) some more (hangtime) for the fans, which they always enjoy. The track is wider in certain areas so that will make for better racing for (the racers) and the fans.” Making his comeback from injury, Hepler made his AMA Motocross class debut last weekend in Millville, Minn. Still working on his race conditioning, the Pennsylvania rider took advantage of an opportunity to put in some laps at a track where he is no stranger to success. The event’s 2005 and 2006 champion, Hepler is a five-time moto winner in the AMA Motocross Lites class and will look to carry that success into the premier class. Additionally, several other significant changes highlight the 2008 edition of Steel City. The finish line has been moved forward, while the old off-camber corner that led to flag has been flattened out, allowing for a double jump to mark the line. Above that, the land has been leveled to create a concert stage and VIP area, which will come into play during a performance by the Billy Morris Band on Saturday night. Another change comes in the valley that marks the center of the track. Formerly, a tight right-hand turn led to a pair of uphill double jumps. Now, riders will plunge into a valley over a downhill double jump, opening up to a wide sweeping corner before climbing back up the hill. Seeing all the changes this far in advance, the Yamaha rider hopes to get a leg up on his competition. “Anytime you get to go to a track that you’re going to be racing at it helps,” explained Hepler. “The changes that have been made are only going to make the track and the racing a lot more exciting.” On track activity for the American Motocross Festival, which also features the WMA Women’s Motocross National Championship Presented by Kawasaki and the ATV Pro Open, kicks off on Friday, August 29 for practice, qualifying, WMA moto one and nighttime pit bike races. Main events for all three racing disciplines conclude on Saturday afternoon and lead into an evening full of freestyle motocross, fireworks and a special performance by The Billy Morris Band.