WINDSOR, CT (January 10, 2006) Connecticut will soon be the center of the motocross riding universe in the Northeast. Mototown USA Indoor Motocross Stadium, the largest and most comprehensive facility for the motocross sport, is soon to open in Windsor. It boasts three indoor tracks, climate controlled systems, a parts department, maintenance and retail shops.
Construction is going well and the stadium should be open for riders in late March or early April, weather permitting. The founder and visionary is Tommy DeFranzo, a motocross riding enthusiast who sees the need for a world class facility offering practice, racing and events throughout the year. "We are membership based," says DeFranzo. "Charter memberships are limited to one thousand riders and families who will enjoy club privileges for practice riding, bike services and preferred opportunities for racing and events."
"The supercross track alone is larger than the Veterans Memorial Coliseum at the Hartford Civic Center and the enclosed stadium is larger than three football fields," says DeFranzo enthusiastically. "Imagine 100 riders at one time on three regulation motocross tracks designed for all skill levels. The plan for practice time is days and evenings on weekdays, with Friday nights and Saturday racing, and special events on Sundays," DeFranzo explains. "And, we'll have a top notch staff with motocross riding know-how and experience. That will make a real difference for members."
The L-shaped stadium has supercross, motocross and youth practice tracks in over 207,000 square feet of open space under one roof. Ceiling peaks are 65 feet high. There's direct access to a three story 110,000 square foot retail and support building. Mototown USA has commitments from Mototown Cycles, Gold's Gym, Blimpie's and Dunkin' Donuts. A sports theme restaurant, riding school, specialty graphics and complementary motocross retail shops are being discussed. Initially about 1,800 spectator seats will be available.
Additionally, Mototown USA offers storage for over 400 bikes, showers and adjacent parking for 900 vehicles and RVs. "No one else has done this before anywhere nearby," DeFranzo claims, "so it's somewhat of a work in progress. There isn't even a comparable motocross facility to research. Our combined experience and participation in the motocross sport on a national level gives us an insight into what riders want and need for the best possible motocross experience."
Single adult memberships (14 and older) are $1,500 per year and additional immediate family members $700 annually. Members must be licensed riders, members of the American Motorcyclist's Association (AMA) and be fully insured. Motocross is a family sport and youth riding is encouraged under adult supervision.
World and New England Motocross Champion Doug Henry from Torrington (CT) has been working with DeFranzo and his associates. "Clearly this a most exciting step for our sport because it opens up the opportunities for more riders, more practice and greater awareness of the sport," Henry said. "Tommy is more than just a visionary. He's making it a reality."
Rider interest and membership inquiries have been received from riders throughout New England, the mid-Atlantic and Mid-western States and Eastern Canada. Market research for the Mototown USA project indicated there are over 58,000 AMA-registered riders within five hours drive of the stadium. There are approximately 65 off-road AMA clubs in New England. Motocross is an international sport and especially popular in Japan, Europe and Australia.
There are over 250,000 riders registered with the AMA and over 19 million men and women riding motorcycles in the United States. The AMA predicts the sport to grow to nearly $2 billion with 2 million spectators attending AMA professional racing events (Supercross, Motocross, Supermoto and Flat Track).
The stadium is located on Day Hill Road in the inndustrial area of Windsor. It is two miles from exit 38 off Interstate 91. The project received town approvals in June 2004. Until a few years ago, motocross riders would rely on unauthorized and unsupervised riding on tobacco fields. Several tracks in the area are under pressure to minimize noise, traffic and the impact on residential neighborhoods, problems that have been solved by an indoor facility.
DeFranzo says there has been real interest for other sports four-wheel ATV vehicles, skateboarding, inline skating, BMX and freestyle racing and extreme sports competitions. "We are certainly open to making Mototown USA a successful sports venue but we are first committed to our real passion, motocross racing," DeFranzo emphasizes. "That's how my dream project started and I am dedicated to helping our sport get to the highest level."
DeFranzo and senior partner and real estate developer Daniel J. Ferraina have taken on a multi-million dollar venture. They say the town has been very cooperative. The community will have the benefits of having an internationally recognized sports facility and have an immediate impact on the area's tourism economy. An indoor motocross stadium surely wasn't among the town's ideas for the future, the developers note. They believe it has been received well because the project adds to the overall economic development of the area while being compliant with and sensitive to zoning and safety requirements.
The term "motocross" is derived from "motorcycle" and "cross country" and originated as a scrambling contest in Europe. The bikes are lightweight and powered by high performance two- and four-stroke engines, usually 125 cc and 250 cc. The competition demands both speed and agility on a course with sharp turns, jumps and obstacles. Supercross races are 25 laps and Motocross races are 30 minutes plus 2 laps, both with qualifying heats.
Photos Taken Jan. 1, 2006