Events: Finger Lake Circuit Race at Watkins Glen (Canceled)
(2017) It’s remarkable the amount of world-class racecourses within a four hour drive from the offices at creakybottombracket.com. It has been a goal to race at the three northern circuits from our headquarters, but it’s getting harder and harder each year. The hope to cross a few racecourses off may have finally been sunk recently.
Head north into Pennsylvania’s Pocono mountains and one will find a race track dubbed the ‘Tricky Triangle.’ The track borrows its three turns from three great tracks in history. Turn one is modeled after the long-since-demolished Trenton Speedway (which would have been a one-hour drive from here). Turn two’s 90-degree turn is modeled after the famous turns of Indianapolis, and the final turn is a mirror image of the mile oval in Milwaukee, WI. There have been remarkable varieties of racecars to circle the complex. From big rig truck racing to USAC Indy Car races to IMSA GT cars, Pocono has hosted big names in racing.
In 2010 the course was opened up to criterium racing for the Pocono Raceway Criterium. With over 200 confirmed participants in eleven events, the race was the first stop in a points series. What we’d really like to know was how long it felt to ride Pocono’s 7/10s- mile front stretch. We’d also like to know if anyone got mixed up on the rumble strips during the race.
Despite the event’s usage of the track, no records exist of bike racing at Pocono Speedway beyond 2010. At about a ninety-minute drive, racing at Pocono for a criterium race would have scratched one of the three speedways off the list.
The middle distance track is a road course situated barely in Connecticut’s top left corner. Lime Rock has the distinction of being the oldest operational road-racing venue in the United States. This distinction earned it a spot on the National Register of Historic Places. Should you time the visit to Lime Rock right, you could swap out the cycling kit for a firesuit and hammer the clockwise direction around the natural changing course elevation in Skip Barber’s Racing School. At 1.5 miles, the road course is nearly the same length as many criterium courses.
We stumbled upon footage from Sprinter Della Casa’s racing at Lime Rock in an August criterium. Sadly we have yet to find scheduling for the second race at Lime Rock for 2017, yet we’re hopeful. We missed the spring race put on by Atwood Racing Services back on April 30. To be able to go up the hill that caused many IMSA prototypes to do wheel stands would have been remarkable. It would also be great to cross this course off the list, especially considering its endurance racing focus. We’re hopeful an August event is offered.
At the end of last week we mosied over to check how registration was coming on the Finger Lakes Circuit Race, an event to be held at the truly magical Watkins Glen International. This was the event circled on the calendar, even if it was a four hour drive in one direction. This was going to happen; especially considering the speedway had been recently resurfaced. Imagine coming through the esses much the same way as Formula One did decades ago. It would be so slow compared to the Can-Am cars of the seventies or Nikki Lauda in Formula One. But that would be a great selling point. Action so slow compared to wild machines one could snap hundreds of digital photos each lap.
Unfortunately the banner displayed an initially confusing message: Canceled. A quick search on BikeReg reiterated the point that the race would not happen this year. No reason was given, though one wouldn’t matter. I was even planning on wearing the Castelli Formula jersey in the Gulf colors for this race. It would have been right nostalgic to channel the Gulf Porsches in those exciting years of racing.
Perhaps other courses could be explored that offer bike races on big name tracks, but they either don’t feature cycling races or they are too far away. Perhaps, though, next year each venue will feature a race and it will be an experience far beyond simply bike racing. It would be a study in following in the tire tracks of the big names of global racing.