Feb 6, 2012
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By John Ulrich
Willow Springs International Raceway owner Bill Huth has closed down the track's motorcycle race sanctioning body, Willow Springs Motorcycle Club, effective immediately.
"I lose money with it every weekend it runs," Huth said during a phone call to Roadracing World today. "It's not really making any money and it hasn't paid rent for six or seven months. It's a shame. The economy is the main thing."
Asked about riders who have already paid for a 2012 season license, Huth said, "We're going to reimburse their money. We'll have to give it back to them."
Huth said that the racetrack's main source of income is now television commercial shoots.
He added that riders will be able to race with AFM at Buttonwillow Raceway, CVMA at Chuckwalla Valley Raceway and WERA West at Auto Club Speedway. "They'll have those places to go and run, so that's OK," Huth said.
"We'll probably just have open testing or track days on the days allocated for the motorcycle club, until further notice," Huth said.
Bill Huth, age 88, bought the track in 1962; it was built in 1953. He started WSMC in 1991 after kicking out AFM and now-defunct ARRA, which both ran on the 2.5-mile main road course at the racetrack located in the Mojave Desert of Southern California, near Edwards Air Force Base.
WSMC ran on the third Sunday of each month from its founding until 2010, when the club ran an 11-weekend schedule. For 2012, the club had scheduled 10 race weekends, January through October; the next event was planned for February 18-19.
The track will continue to rent to track-day organizations, according to General Manager Chris Huth. "We're not going to shut it all down," said Chris Huth, "just the motorcycle club."
Reached by phone, WSMC General Manager Stephanie Huth said "We're all blind-sided by this." Stephanie Huth told Roadracing World that WSMC workers Ashley Tanner and Megan Tanner--her daughters and Bill Huth's granddaughters--will be looking for work.
Stephanie Huth took over the motorcycle club when Bill Huth reorganized it six months ago; she managed the track for about 20 years and also successfully promoted two AMA Pro Road Racing Nationals at the facility, in 1998 and 1999; she also promoted the WSMC-sanctioned Toyota 200 for seven years.