RaceLegal at Qualcomm Stadium
Where can you go to legally race your motorcycle or vehicle in a street environment? We aren’t talking about going to a special track and paying hundreds of dollars to race either. In San Diego, the city developed a fun, and safe way to keep street racing, well, off the streets. It is called RaceLegal and it is held at Qualcomm Stadium once a month.
August 9th was their most recent event that I attended. I was accompanied by other motorcyclists in a group that I ride with. It is $10 to watch, and $30 to race. Pretty much all who want to enter a race can sign up, as long as their car passes a rigorous tech inspection and the noise level does not exceed 93 decibels. Cars, trucks, SUVs, motorcycles and even minivans can enter the drags. Each event has a specialized theme, and August 9th was Camaros vs. Mustangs. So, there were a ton of those, but also diesel trucks, tuners, Cadillacs, BMWs, Hayabusas, you name it, all can race legally here.
Proper safety protocol is the main concern and there are many guidelines to follow. In fact, RaceLegal was created to save lives and prevent injuries caused by illegal street racing by providing an alternative place to race with track officials and medical personnel standing by. While illegal street racing has become an epidemic for most cities and states nationwide, San Diego has seen a significant decrease in the number of deaths and injuries related to illegal street racing since RaceLegal began in 1998. In 2002, there was 16 deaths and 31 injuries, in 2010 there was no deaths, and only 4 injuries.
Obviously, racers will need a current driver’s license and registration. However, motorcycle riders must also follow strict rules for racing. Each motorcycle race is assigned a fastest allowable elapsed time based on the level of safety equipment carried. Due to safety reasons, racers cannot exceed 115 MPH, or 6.00 seconds on the 1/8th mile track. There is a 1/4th mile slowing down area for safety also. The check off list to race includes: secure battery and hoses, no leaks, street legal exhaust, approved street tires (no knobbies), Snell 2005 or better full face helmet, operational front and rear brakes, headlight and taillight, front suspension minimum travel of 1.5”, proper operation of radiator overflow, dual throttle springs/snap back, and chain/ belt guard. As for clothing, rider must have full length pants, and jacket, and closed toe boots. Riders racing with NOS need motorcycle SFI Spec 40.1/1 suit or leather jacket and gloves. An approved Nitrous bottle must be marked DOT – 1800 PSI with a firewall and sheet metal across the opening (aluminum or steel).
RaceLegal puts the racers and spectators safety first and foremost. They work with the local community, law enforcement, and many city and state organizations. I watched as many racers did burnouts in designated boxes before the starting line which was fun. However, no donuts or e-brake slides are allowed! It is a fun and safe event, I can only hope other cities follow and invest in a legal street race setup in their area.
For more information on the San Diego RaceLegal program, click here. Pre-Registration information is available by calling: (619) 265-8159