Back on Track- at Gatorback
By: Ryan Webb
Here we are for round 3 of the ATVA Motocross Nationals at Gatorback. This racetrack is located near Alachua, Florida. There were only a few changes that were made to the track for the race this year, but they made a big difference in the quality of the track as far as we were concerned. This year, they added some much needed jumps and also, put in a section up top where there was a double berm through the turn that allowed for two lines. This track is still very straight and very smooth though overall. However, this track could be a great track instead of a good track with just a little bit more work. Well, let’s take a look at the changes that were made. As usual, we will begin at the start, the starting line that is. This was a nice layout with the start gate on the top of the hill followed by an immediate sweeping left turn. This start gate wasn’t like the concrete padded gate at Glen Helen. This gate was line with the pros setting with their back tires on dirt waiting for that gate to drop and the race to begin. As you come out of the gate, there was that sweeping left turn that did a full 180 degrees to a downhill drop that would fall about twenty feet and then ride down another twenty. The bottom was nice and smooth and led to a small uphill double. After you came off of the small double there was a slight left to a step up tabletop. Then you would curve around to the right for another uphill double that would send you flying about fifteen feet in the air. This year, they added a couple of singles that really helped out on this top section. Then there was another downhill drop that was about twenty feet. This little drop was a nice setup for the speed that lies ahead.
After you made the drop, then you came into a nice sweeping left turn where you could come out and really open up before the next left turn that made a full 180 degrees. As you come out of the turn, there was a step up followed by a single and decent straight with a right turn at the end. After the right there was a small set of doubles. After that double, you come up a steep little hill with a very sharp two level 90 degree turn at the top. That was followed by a nice downhill run with a small single and a straight into the snake section with a 180 left turn. After that turn was a straight to an uphill single that led to another 180 to the right and a downhill drop. There was straight to a 180 left that had a straight behind it. You might now be seeing why I called this the snake. Oh yeah, and we’re not done with the 180’s yet. At the end of the straight was a double with a single bump and another, you guessed it, 180 to the right. After that turn you had just enough space to get up speed to do the long doable.
Then you make a right turn to dazzle the crowd by doing the tabletop that is set directly in front of the stands. As you come off of the tabletop, there is a soft two level turn to the left that takes you in front of the announce booth. This is followed by a small single and then another 180 to the left that takes you down the hill. You pick up speed going down the hill and hit the small single that is at the bottom on the straight. At the end of the straight is an uphill very sharp 180 to the right. This year, they realized that the cut into the uphill just before the right sharp 180 into the downhill wasn’t such a good idea, so they left it out. Coming off of the downhill was a nice long straight that set you up nice for the finish line. After you do the straight you come up a large hill to do the finish line jump and head right back into the sweeping left that got it all started, only this time it is a bit tighter. This year though, they decided to change it up a little bit and make it a double berm on the inside turn, with a small kicker in the middle of the close line. There is one thing to keep in mind before you start thinking that this doesn’t sound that hard, these pro riders are out there riding their butts off to do this race and they have to race for twenty minutes plus one lap, which worked out to about 12 laps two times per day.