The official opening of the CowTown Raceway Park is just the start of better things to come for CNMI motocross and the islands’ sports tourism.
Just a few days after formally opening the racetrack to the public, the Marianas Racing Association is already working on future projects that will give the motocross community a better venue for races and other related activities, said MRA president Charles Cepeda, and offer both on-island and off-island visitors a great experience either as guest competitors or spectators.
MRA is one of the 36 groups that have committed to the Public Private Partnership of the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers—an initiative whose goals are to transform sites and other key areas in the CNMI to better serve the community, enhance the islands’ beauty, and help the economy bounce back from a series of crises.
Since being assigned the Marpi property in October last year to rebuild the old raceway that had been idle for more than a decade, MRA fast-tracked the reconstruction of CowTown, as it worked on a bigger and wider race course and cleared some portion of the property to provide both riders and spectators a great view of the ocean.
“The facility will only get better as we continue to work on the necessary improvements. Since we started riding organized practice, we see improvements every time they come out. The sport is an investment—an opportunity to showcase bikes, gears, and skills. CowTown provides a venue for fans and members, and offer many possibilities for motocross’ future in the CNMI. The race this weekend was a huge success for riders and fans,” Cepeda said.
Among the improvements that MRA needs to address are parking and areas for spectators, and the public announcement system.
Cepeda said the parking and areas for spectators need to be expanded so that fans can see the whole track during races.
“Another area we are looking to improve is the public announcement system for the fans to hear what is happening on the track and also for members to improve their understanding of the rules for each race. Improvement on the track, the pits, and other areas of the CowTown would require funding and MRA members are assisting in finding resources either through federal grants or local resources from businesses and government agencies,” the MRA head said.
As for the races, Cepeda said they will focus on local events for now, but internationals ones are definitely in their plans.
“In the past MRA has invited racers from around the region, including riders from Guam, [the] Philippines, Japan, and New Zealand. We look forward to reviving the international races and reaching out to these areas, as well as Korea and other countries, including the U.S. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the international races may not happen this year. For now, we have a Point Race Season that lasts through July 2021 and the series will give us time to continue fine-tuning our skills in all aspects of putting a race together, not only on the track but throughout our association,” said Cepeda, who competes in the Veteran Class races.
The MRA president said that, by holding regular events at CowTown, MRA is able to provide a family festival experience and they hope to keep it that way.
“Most businesses benefit on race day when families are provided a venue such as CowTown to be out of their homes or [doing] normal routines. We see fans setting up tents filled with traditions of food and beverages for the whole family. Whenever a festival type event occurs on our island, it provides an economic boost throughout the island,” Cepeda said.
Meanwhile MRA acknowledged Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, the governor’s senior policy adviser Robert Hunter, Department of Public Lands Secretary Marianne Teregeyo-Concepcion, and Department of Community and Cultural Affairs Secretary Joseph Guerrero for making the reopening and reconstruction of the racetrack possible. MRA would also like to thank the following for supporting their races: YCO Hardware, 4Ever CNMI, Inas’ Kitchen, Mobil Oil, Matson, Joeten Motors, MES, Department of Public Works Secretary James Ada and director Mike Borja, DFEMS Commissioner Dennis Mendiola and his team, Saipan Mayor David Apatang, Sen. Jude Hofshneider (R-Tinian), and Reps. Joel Camacho (R-Saipan) and Sheila Babauta (D-Saipan). (PR)