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Thunder Valley Going Down Hill


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Is it just me or is lakewood going down hill. It seems that ever since they got rid of omar and brought in this kwak guy the track has pretty much sucked. Between the over watered mud holes and the sketchy kicker lips on every jump... it never used to be like that! I was out there today and watched 3 people get stuck in the same mud hole, 1 person crash so bad from the jump having such a abrupt lip that they had to hall him off in the mule, and at least a dozen people crash from the foot peg deep ruts.

Now im not saying that the whole track sucks since kwak has been there the ruts that forum through the corners definitely are better. But when i see him out there soaking a straight away causing long deep ruts to forum i start to think about all the people that arnt ready for that( i remember those days i used to get pissed because i gave my money to a track that didnt consider all riding levels). In my opinion he makes the track so if you are not a pro rider it is extremely difficult to ride. which in return makes it not as safe for the faster guys when you have people crashing in front of you constantly

Is anyone else with me?

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Last time I rode the "lakewood municipal motocross track" was back in 2003 when you didn't have to buy a membership. I live so close I tagged my WR, rode out of the garage, onto the track, couple laps, back to the house. :-)

I remember even then that the straights were rutted and hard to ride if they were really wet. I was a newbie (still am, love to ride, but 10 bikes later, I don't have the "knack", even after racing some hare scrambles) and started driving to Rampart, Watkins and VDR instead of riding 10 minutes to lakewood. That should be a good indication of how much I didn't like the track when it was a mudhole.

Took my wife there once - it was muddy. She refuses to ever ride there again. Only time we have been back was for nationals! Track looked pretty good then, not too muddy, but it looks like they truck in a lot of dirt before the races... If there wasn't a membership fee, we have discussed trying it out after a national when it has some grooming as we drive down 470.

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WEnt back out to thunder today(sunday) got there first thing to a bone dry track. The riders had to go out and water the track! Seems like myself and a few other riders were the ones doing all the watering today and we still had to pay 15 to ride. Kinda lame if you ask me! Kwak was no where to be found, my guess was he was in grand junction. Does this mean every sunday is going to be bad track prep because he goes and races?

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I personally don't like to ride Lakewood too much either but it's not the track's fault. It's the best and likely the safest track in Colorado--I just don't have the skills to know how to ride it.

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I see your points, SST655, but I have to disagree with you here. I typically ride Lakewood every week and have felt it is continually being improved upon, and has come a very long way from how it was five years ago.

Sure, the ruts are deep and the watering can make it rough, but if you want a track that's smooth, you can go ride any other track in Colorado. Tracks like Watkins and Erie are great for hardpack practice, but I've always felt that while smooth tracks can be fun, it's the brutal tracks that make you progress as a rider.

Is Lakewood the best track for beginners? No, not at all. I used to hate Lakewood, and I still have plenty of days where I lay it over 6 times in 6 different ruts. But those are the days that make you a better rider, as they force you to concentrate on your technique.

As for the lips, I haven't noticed any that seemed particularly dangerous at Lakewood. Of course, there are always going to be portions of lips that get worn down and others that can become kicker-like, but that's part of adapting to the track and finding the best lines. If a lip becomes dangerously sketchy, head over to the office and give them a heads up--I'm sure whoever is working the desk would be more than happy to pass the word along to Kwak, Clabaugh, or anyone else available to fix the lip.

Anyway, I didn't intend on writing such a long reply, but I feel we're fortunate to have a national caliber track in our backyard and it always bums me out to hear fellow riders talking about it being too rough or too wet.

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I rode Lakewood yesterday also.

For sure, in the early morning the track was over-watered making it slick and mushy. However, that's been a pretty normal state of affairs at Lakewood for the last several years on any prepped days. By lunchtime, the track had dried out enough that the dirt tacked-up and (with the exception of the exit of turn #2) the ruts were a lot of fun. I'm with the previous poster - when I want to ride a smooth freeway of a track I go to Watkins. When I want to work on my technique, I go to Lakewood.

The only kicker I noticed on any of the lips was on the far southwest tabletop, which is a pretty safe jump anyway. For sure, a couple of jumps had been re-faced for the nationals with slightly steeper ramps, but the only jump that I felt was a little more dangerous than last time I rode the track (about a month ago) was the uphill double/step next to the shooting range. It seems like the tabletop landing area of the jump has been cut back a little so if you are intending on landing on the table instead of clearing the whole thing, you now have a little further distance to go and the landing is harder as a consequence.

Incidentally, have any of you guys been clearing the 'big' step-up since the track was re-routed for the nationals? You now enter the approach from the left, instead of going through the S-turn and entering the approach from the right. The run-up to the jump looks shorter now, and the left-turn naturally puts you on the less-ideal (right) side of the approach. As a consequence, I was bottling out of attempting it yesterday although I was comfortable jumping it with the old layout. What I want to know is, is it really any harder to clear it now?

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I have not ridden TV since May, but in my experience it has always been hit or miss depending on how much moisture is in the dirt. The track is designed to rut up and get rough. I think right now they are not doing much because of the MXdesNations. I read an interview with the head guy of the DesNations and he sais they were going to make major changes to Lakewood and the Clabaughs agreed to all of them. Mostlry widining the track and changing the flow and apparently they are going to completely change the starting area up. So I feel that is a reason they are not spending on much on making the track great for the locals this year.

On a side note, I think all of the tracks have gone down hill this year, everyone raised their fess and they do less and less. And IMI seriously needs to re do that entire track, they ruinied it with that stupid new section, there is no flow out there, its like riding two different tracks with a couple of dumb doubles that I can clear, but they dont belong there

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VDR seem to have stepped it up over the last month or so, with new dirt and hay being laid down, and some sections of the track re-worked back to the 'old' (better) configuration. It remains one of the better Colorado tracks, IMHO.

As regards us paying more and getting less, it does seem that way sometimes. Watkins comes to mind. Aztec also seems to be hit and miss in track quality and dirt quality. I have not ridden IMI since 2008 - I found the layout and the natural terrain a little boring and I had reservations about some of the pit-riding behavior.

I guess I'm pretty happy that we have a selection of tracks to ride, and while fees may be increasing it's still cheaper than most motorsports. It is impossible for the track owners to please everyone.

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I have not ridden IMI since 2008 - I found the layout and the natural terrain a little boring and I had reservations about some of the pit-riding behavior.

natural terrain ?? huh imi very non-natural they just added a hill section this year that maybe could be called natural. most people i know say imi is a wanna be super cross track ­čśĆ and pit riding behavior? most people are quite good about keeping it slow
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'Natural terrain' refers to the land on which the track is constructed. IMI is situated on basically flat terrain. Compare to Berthoud and Lakewood which are built on hillsides and thus are able to incorporate elevation change into the track. And IMI is in no way a supercross track, if that is what they are aspiring to (which I doubt).

Every time I've been out to IMI there's been some yahoo(s) pulling high-speed passes and wheelies through the pit area. It's even worse than Watkins in that regard, which is saying something.

To each their own.

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I have to agree with Pace, IMI and Watkins both seem to draw the biggest tards with dangerous pit riding. I liked the old IMI and its wanna-be supercross track, it had good flow, had different styles of jumps and I loved watching the races when everyone would go thru the 4 - doubles that used be on the south, looked like pop corn with everyone going up and down.

I think I will give VDR another chance and go check it out. Wish they would make a family rate or family membership though, that is one reason why we continue to go to Watkins so much. Costs me 120 bucks the first of every year to keep going to VDR with myself and 3 kids that ride / race.

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This thread is supposed to be about TV please keep it on track.

It's not fair to the guys at IMI, VDR, Watkins, aztec to be bashed in this thread if you have a problem with those tracks start a new thread.

The owners for VDR and IMI are on here a fair amount and take criticism pretty well and really over all just want the customers to be happy.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I just cant help but throw my 2 cents in.lol

I ride IMI min. once a week usually more and mad props to them.

Lakewood seems to be the one track that isnt "begginer" friendly. I have ridden several of the local tracks (VDR,IMI,2Rivers,watkins.etc.)and Lakewood was on my list of tracks to hit before the end of the summer.(Im starting to reconcider lol) So sense there seems to be a few TV riders in here I would like to ask just how hard is it to ride?

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IMHO it's more physical than any of the other local tracks, and since it frequently ruts up and forms large braking and accel bumps, it's more technical too. Rarely are the surface conditions smooth like Watkins and Berthoud typically are. It will help your riding technique in a way that the smooth tracks cannot. There are a few obstacles that you might consider do-or-die, but there's no reason you cannot roll them.

Wild Rat also has similarly challenging surface conditions.

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IMHO it's more physical than any of the other local tracks, and since it frequently ruts up and forms large braking and accel bumps, it's more technical too. Rarely are the surface conditions smooth like Watkins and Berthoud typically are. It will help your riding technique in a way that the smooth tracks cannot. There are a few obstacles that you might consider do-or-die, but there's no reason you cannot roll them.

Wild Rat also has similarly challenging surface conditions.

Exactly what he said, all the jumps are rollable. My only suggestion to add is to not ride there on the weekends. The faster riders out there are not so nice to the slower riders

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Incidentally, have any of you guys been clearing the 'big' step-up since the track was re-routed for the nationals?

I was out there on the 4th of July and the big step seemed easier to me. I'm on a clapped out '09 450 with old tires... As long as I didn't get any wheel spin I landed on top with no issues. As for the track, personally I love Thunder valley, wish it was that way when I lived next to it... Now I'm near Berthoud and I choose to drive to Lakewood... My one complaint is the watering at the end of the day within the last hour or two before they close. Not sure I understand why they do that unless it's to get the majority of people to leave? If it's to make the prep better for the following day just run the auto sprinklers after the track is closed. I hate washing my bike after going there. Still love the place though. :banana:

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