CAROGA LAKE — After wrapping up a ski season that went until early April, Royal Mountain Ski Area owner Jake Tennis quickly turned his thoughts to getting ready for racing season.
“Every year in the past, we’ve worried about making too much snow to be able to have it melt in time to get the track ready. I was moving snow with the bulldozer and groomer, but we still had plenty of time,” he said. “It worked out alright.”
Royal Mountain will kick off its season this weekend with a two-day Central New York Motocross Riders Association District 3 event Saturday and Sunday.
It will mark the start of a busy stretch for Royal Mountain, which is scheduled to kick off its supercross season Wednesday night.
“We had considered not starting supercross until the second Wednesday of June, but you never know what the weather is going to do, so it’s good to have the extra week in there,” Tennis said. “So, we’re going to busy right off the bat. We’re racing motocross Saturday and Sunday, taking two days off and going right into supercross on Wednesday nights for the rest of the summer on Wednesday.”
Royal Mountain will host supercross every Wednesday from June 2 through Aug. 31.
In addition to this weekend’s races, the motocross schedule features races on June 12, July 2, July 3 and Aug. 21.
Royal Mountain also will host its annual hill climb on July 24.
With the snow gone, Tennis has spent the last two months getting ready for the racing season.
“We have to rebuild the track completely each year,” Tennis said. “We have to knock it down to get ready for ski season and build it back again for racing.”
Riders will find several changes to this year’s track.
“We’ve made a bunch of changes to keep it fun for the riders. Every year, we try to make some changes to keep things fresh. The general layout of the track stays the same, but we try to update the features on the track,” Tennis said. “We’ve made some bigger jumps and widened up the track in spots to create more room for passing. We didn’t do anything too major, just enough to keep the riders happy.”
After seeing rain on most of their motocross events last season, Tennis is hoping that Mother Nature cooperates this year.
“Our motocross events were a struggle for us last year. I think it rained pretty much every weekend we had a race,” he said. “So far, the weather looks pretty good for the weekend. We’re hoping people come out.”
For the first time since he took over the facility in 2020, Tennis won’t face the challenges of COVID protocols this season.
“My first year in 2020, we got started late because of COVID. Last year, was more normal and hopefully, this year will be pretty much back to normal,” he said.
During last year’s Memorial Day event, several area riders posted victories.
Fort Plain’s Spencer Mang won the 122-open expert class on both days. He also picked up the win in the 122-250cc expert class on the second day.
St. Johnsville’s Blaire Wilson won the mini quad 50cc on both days.
Gloversville’s Sal Attigliato Jr. (51cc pee wee junior 4-6), Johnstown’s Maxx Miller (65cc 7-11 2-stroke) and Johnstown’s Brandon Handy (122-250cc amateur) won on the first day of last year’s Memorial Day event, while Johnstown’s Bennett Melita (senior mini 79-85cc 12-15, open mini 79-112cc), Northville’s Troy Palmer (quad amateur), Gloversville’s Tyler Rizzo (mini quad 51-90cc), and Johnstown’s Ian Cary (quad schoolboy 10-16 mod) won on the second day.
This year’s Memorial Day weekend events will be the fifth and sixth races of the season for the CNYMRA, and through the first four, there have been an average of 267 riders.
The first event at Paradox MX in Granville drew 185 riders on April 24, while the second race at Broome Tioga in Richford had 223 riders on May 8. The third event at High Voltage Hills in Greig pulled in a season-high 344 riders on May 15, and last Sunday’s event at Motomasters in Mexico had 317 riders.
“So far, the rider counts have been pretty solid and holding steady, even with the gas prices and increased cost of living,” Tennis said.
He added that having a two-day event to open Royal Mountain’s season should help the rider turnout.
“Having a two-day event should help us. People can come for the weekend enjoy two days of racing for only one trip. People can camp here and make a weekend of it,” Tennis said. “For local people, it’s what they do on Memorial Day weekend. They head to Royal Mountain for the weekend and watch motocross. I’m looking forward to getting started, and I’m looking forward to a good season.”
Sign-ups for this weekend’s motocross events will take place from 7 to 9 a.m., with practice starting at 8:30 a.m.
For Royal Mountain’s weekly supercross events, sign-ups take place from 5 to 7 p.m., with practice starting at 7 p.m.