WE ARE HOMETOWN NEWS.

SOUTHWICK — There will be several new events at The Wick 338 this spring and summer, including a first-ever at the track: electric unicycle racing.

“These guys are the craziest people I’ve ever seen,” said Rick Johnson, who manages the track off Powder Mill Road in Southwick.

Johnson attended a Jan. 22 meeting to update the Select Board about the events coming up this year at the motocross track, and its success last year.

When he spoke about the Wheel Life Rally, which will be run using electric unicycles, board member Jason Perron was astonished.

“An electric unicycle running around on a motocross course?” Perron asked while chuckling.

Johnson explained that he sets up a “more docile” track in the pit area and woods behind the sandy, hilly motocross circuit.

“It’s really kind of sedate [compared] to what you’re used to,” Johnson said.

“Unicycles in trees … what could go wrong?” Board Chair Doug Moglin said, jokingly.

Johnson said the unicycle riders will be coming from all over the country to compete at the track on Sunday, Aug. 4.

He told the board that this year’s schedule of events is largely the same as last year at the track, but the Crestview Construction Inc. Southwick National is a little earlier than last year. The 2024 event is Saturday, June 29.

The National is one of 11 rounds in the AMA Pro Motocross Championship, the highest level of motocross racing in the United States. Riders from across the country have tested their skills in championship races at The Wick 338 off and on since the 1970s.

Last July, Johnson said the Southwick National was one of only two motocross events televised globally by NBC and Peacock, and he added the National also had the highest number of viewers for all the motocross events the networks televised in 2023.

“That was nice, but those people didn’t [pay to come]. Bragging rights was all we get from it,” Johnson said, laughing.

He said the national broadcasts of the motorcross events, because of last year’s success, NBC and Peacock are expanding from two events to four this year.

Quad racing will also be brought back this year, he said, looking at Perron who raced quads in the past. The quad races are Aug. 10 and 11.

“As a former quad racer, I appreciate that,” Perron said.

There will also be a new race this year of two-stroke dirt bikes, Johnson said, using the sorts of motors that dominated dirtbike racing until the four-stroke motors arrived in 1998. The two-stroke races are Sunday, June 2.

Johnson also thanked the Southwick Fire Department for having its EMTs at the National this year.

“Not only did it help us, but it made me feel that we’re a little closer to the town and the town is closer to what we do,” Johnson said, adding his hope is to have more locals come to track throughout the season, not just for the National.

cclark@thereminder.com | + posts