"WHO EVER CLOSED CARLSBAD
SHOULD LEAVE CALIFORNIA!!
IT WAS A BEAUTIFUL THING!!!"
-- RON SCHMIDT
Ron, thanks for the e-mail. It
truly was a beautiful thing!
-- Jeff Grismer
|If anyone is unfamiliar with the history of the racetrack
and the events that led to its close, you will find
additional information below and a link to a letter
which addressed issues around the closing.
...with respect to "*Land sold 12/27/86 " from the body of my letter
of 2004 which further clarifies the history of Carlsbad Raceway's
My dad Larry originally found the property in 1961 but was unable to
buy it on his own. He went to a former race competitor of his and
my grandpa's from their Indy car, Midget car, and Dirt Track Sprint
car racing days of the 1950's, Sandy Belond. (Sandy's cars won
Indy 500 in 1957+58... My dad and grandpa’s never did). Sandy
was doing quite well in ‘61 having invented the "Belond Equiflow
Exhaust System" (what we now just call "headers"). Sandy bought
2/3rds and my dad bought 1/3rd of the land where they would build
the Raceway. They had it open in 1964.
Due to health reasons in 1981, Sandy was forced to sell the
Raceway property. There were no buyers who would purchase his
2/3rds and keep the Raceway because the land value so greatly
exceeded any potential income from racing. The only buyers were
developers who wanted to build immediately. My dad was able to
get Sandy to give him a short period of time to find someone who
would buy half of Sandy's interest as a land speculation
investment. Well, dad pulled it off and a limited partnership of 12
investors purchased half of Sandy's interest making them a 1/3rd
owner with my dad and Sandy each retaining their 1/3rds.
By 1986 Sandy's health had deteriorated and he had no choice but
to sell. Also by 1986, the limited partnership investors felt it was
the time to sell... and they were going to sell despite the Grismers’
wishes. We couldn't afford to buy them out for the same reasons
no investors would invest in the Raceway as a business - it couldn't
make enough money to pay the property taxes and the
"improvement assessments" levied by San Diego County at a
reassessed value based on a new sale.
So, in Dec. 1986 Sandy and the limited partners were, in effect,
forcing my dad to go along with the sale. "Little Buddy" as Sandy
called my dad really had no choice. But "Boss", as my dad called
Sandy even though he had been a silent partner since 1967,
deserved it for extending the life of the Raceway the last 5 years of
1981-1986 as a favor to my dad.
The good news is that my brother and I had already bought the
business Carlsbad Raceway from my dad, Sandy, and the limited
partnership back before the last USGP early in 1986. The Raceway
never owned any land. It always leased the land from the
landowners, who up until 1986 also owned the Raceway. While
they were negotiating selling the property, my dad helped me
negotiate a new month-to-month lease of the property for Carlsbad
Raceway to continue operating the business from the company
buying the land. Sometime in 1998 I bought-out my brother who
was a silent partner. I never dreamt the Raceway would operate
over a period of 213 month-to-month leases (17yrs 9mos) and 5
different landlords (the developer we sold it to in 1986; the
company they sold it to in 1997; the bankruptcy court who took
possession from them; the bank who repossessed it; and the final
developer who's paving the streets across the property as we read
this.) It truly is a blessing from God Almighty that the place just kept
So, you can blame Sandy for getting sick. But he won't listen. He's
buried in Torrance with a Carlsbad Raceway checkered flag on his
coffin. You could blame the City of Carlsbad for only allowing
raceway operations on an “Interim Use Basis Only.” But they let us
go until development started. You can blame the developer. But all
they did was buy it from a bank who was selling to the highest
bidder – none of which were interested in a raceway because it
couldn’t generate enough income.
Hey, blame me. I was born in CA and rode motorcycles out there
longer than anyone else. (See Photos 1-6 at right) But now that the
Raceway is gone, I don't have to stay in this overpopulated, attorney-
infested mess of what used to be the best state in the nation. Till
then I’ll continue to thank Christ Jesus for letting it last for 40 years!
It was a good ride,
For Carlsbad Raceway, the Belond’s and the Grismer’s -
PS - Ron, thanks for the e-mail. It truly was a beautiful thing!
This photo was taken
at the end of
and beginning of the
Lee Holth, thanks for
the MX pictures.
|In November 2005, we posted a program photo of the 2nd Annual Motorcycle Road Racing 75-Mile National Championship we held Sept.
24, 1967. By coincidence, the same week, Scott Rousseau published an "Archives" article on Gary Nixon. In the 7th paragraph Gary talks
about winning the 1967 Carlsbad Open National but seizing his 250 and breaking his right thumb. Back then men didn't sue everybody.
|I attended the 1976 USGP of
Motocross and was really
impressed with the
track & race.
– Michael “Soup” Campbell
Thanks for posting the photo of Rolf Tibblin
with the Helmet Cam. Talk about TOP heavy!
Only someone as tough as Rolf Tibblin could
ride around the track and keep up with Mark
Blackwell without having neck pains
afterwards. Rolf Tibblin was made of steel.
Evel was very protective of me. -- Jeff
|Lee Holth Vintage MX Finish
|Thanks to Jan-Willem van Essen from the Netherlands for sending us this photo of the 1979 USGP Start.
Heikki Mikkola (1), Graham Noyce (5)
Gerrit Wolsink (4), and Brad Lackey (17).
Click here to visit http://www.heikki-mikkola.tk
Click the photo for a larger version.
|Thanks for the photos, Guy Jamar!
Hunny and Tim
Rolf Tibblin in front with camera;
Mark Blackwell following....
To read the
article in larger
Click article at
article, wait for
icon to appear
at lower right
|1. My Dad, Big Brother and Me in 1967.
|2. Me on my 8th Grad Graduation gift from Rolf Tibblin,
a 1975 250 Mag.
|3. Giving my daughter a ride on Sat. night after the races in 1996.
|4. Teaching my daughter to ride 3 days before the track closed in
|5. Another shot of me teaching my
daughter to ride 3 days before
the track closed in 2004.
|Last Rider's Meeting Ever -- Aug. 8, 2004
Carlsbad was a true motocross
track. I raced MX there from 76-84
with CMC MX club. Stu peters was
a cool guy. I once brought a drum
set to the track and played it in
the pits between motos. Favorite
part of the track was the downhill.
Also, I competed in the one and
only "Suzuki Slalom" in 1979. I
got 3rd overall and won a
motorcycle. I have pics of that.
I remember going to USGP every June, and going to the mall , and getting
autographs from my favorite riders. Marty Smith, Roger De Coster, Marty Moates,
Brad Lackey. I used to be able to hear the Drag Races every saturday night,
because I live just over the hill from Calaveras. Thanks for the memories.
-- Adrian Castaneda
Oscar Garrett found a photo of Sherm Gunn at Carlsbad Raceway (posted by Mark Hovsepian) and
sent us the link.... Thanks, Oscar! Click Here
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