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Rausch Swamp track off to a soggy start

January 28, 2002 Posted: 1808 GMT
Looking over the track

Racers scan the track from a dry vantage point.

By Anton Largiader

HEGINS, Pennsylvania (CNN) -- In an unexpected move, the owners of Rousch Swamp Racetrack announced that they were terminating the construction and opening the track as-is.

"We're out of money, and we need racing revenue to continue operations," said one, but emphasized that this was not the only motivation behind the move. "Continued problems with track design were taking too long to resolve, and we had the opportunity to change directions in a way that was beneficial to us and to the public. It's a win-win situation."

The track opened for its first day of use on Sunday. Thousands of tires lined the runoff area for Turn One, where they had been delivered at the project's start. In a calculated risk, management left all of the tires there instead of distributing them among the other corners. "The front straight is the only place that riders will be able to carry speed. After than, the mud will clog the wheels and fenders to the point that movement will be much slower. We promised a challenging track, and we delivered."

Starting grid

Bikes lined up on the starting grid.


SquidBeemer on the starting grid, waiting for the tow truck to get the pace car. "This surface will definitely have me rethinking my tires. Possibly even my fender, but I don't want to give away too many ideas."

Officials shrugged off concerns that this could be a problem in drier parts of the summer. "We had this mud custom-made from Louisiana bayou dredgings and some good-old red Virginia clay. This stuff will never dry out." Indeed it won't, at least not throughout all of last summer, one of the driest on record. This prevented the completion of the originally-intended track paving. "This material was recommended to us by a close racing associate as an ideal track roadbed. Only afterwards did we connect the problems with the fact that he was from the Florida Swamp Buggy Racing Association. But we think it was really a stroke of luck, in hindsight... look how well this all came together now!"

Coinciding with the opening is the name change, from the original Rousch Creek. "We needed name recognition," said management, "and we found that people were getting confused. To some people, the word 'creek' implies that there is actually drainage happening. With the new runoff-free configuration, anyone who has been here once will instantly make the connection with the name."

In-Depth: Read Rausch Swamp's story. 


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