Marianas Racing Association is back and hopes to revive motocross in the CNMI.
Cuki Alvarez, whose late father, Raymond, founded the Saipan Motorcross Club that introduced the sport to the Commonwealth in the late ‘70s, said he is now working with former MRA members to discuss the group’s return to action.
“After 11 years of inactivity, we decided to open the club again and bring back the excitement of motocross racing to the CNMI. Racing is so fun and exciting and the CNMI race fans are absolutely crazy about the races. Every year, we drew a lot of spectators who came and spent the whole day under the hot sun, breathing dust and mud, and BBQ, and enjoyed all the races. Saipan needs that type of entertainment again, and MRA is excited to bring it back,” Alvarez said.
He added that MRA had to close its doors more than a decade ago due to the ailing economy and high cost of gas and bikes.
As MRA works on bringing the sport back, Alvarez can’t help but recall how motocross became one of the attractions on the island since his father introduced it to the Commonwealth in 1977.
It started with his family putting up a motorcycle and hangliding shop in Chalan Kanoa called “Saipan Suzuki”. The Alvarezes imported and sold Suzuki dirt bikes and people who bought the bikes needed a place to ride and race so the family opened the “People’s Park” in Capitol Hill. The Saipan Motorcross Club then hosted three International Motocross events from 1979 to 1981, inviting riders from the United States, Hawaii, Taiwan, the Philippines, Guam, and Japan to race against CNMI bets.
The Saipan Motocross Club also held the Liberation Day Motocross Challenge in Puerto Rico in 1986, while another club was established in 1998—the Off-road Association of the Marianas.
According to Alvarez, ORAM held the Liberation Day Motocross Challenge at Kan Pacific, but after four years, it folded up, giving way to the Marianas Racing Association. The name was changed to “Marianas Racing Association” to reach a broader variety of off-road enthusiasts like rock crawlers, drag racers, and even mountain bikers. MRA then continued to host international races every year until 2009 when economic challenges forced the group to break up.