The Loudon Road Race Series (LRRS) is set to become North East Motorcycle Road Racing (NEMRR) under its new owners, veteran racers and businessmen John Grush and Eric Wood.
Just before the start of 2020, Grush and Wood were appointed Co-Executive Directors of LRRS, which was owned by New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS).
Now, NHMS has taken another step back and transferred complete ownership of LRRS to Grush and Wood, who intend to reinforce the things that made their club great while instituting changes to secure the future of the club and the sport in general.
“We want to get back to a club feel,” Grush told Roadracingworld.com in a telephone interview. “We think it got away from a club feeling and became more of a corporate feeling. We want it to be a welcoming [environment] to help grow the sport.
“There are so many barriers in the corporate world. NHMS is part of a big corporation [Speedway Motorsports, which also owns several other NASCAR racing venues] and they have more exposure, and because of that they have lawyers dictating a lot of the rules, like the age kids can come into the sport.”
“A few years ago,” said Wood, “we kind of developed a pathway to racing for younger riders in New England that really wasn’t there before. If you go back just a few years ago, we [LRRS] had no youth participation in the sport, almost none. If you looked around you saw a paddock that mostly had gray hairs.
“I’m not sure how to re-engage [the Millennial] generation, but I know that we can appeal to kids. So, our goal is to fill the paddock with as many kids in the 12- to 17-year-old range as possible. We went from five years ago having one or two kids racing and now we’re tapping on a dozen of them. It doesn’t sound like a huge deal, but if the trend continues my goal is to have 20 or so kids. And that’s 20 or so kids that are going to have this bug for the rest of their life.”
In addition to ensuring good customer service and a streamlined registration process that allows pre-registered racers to go directly to tech inspection when they arrive on a race weekend, Wood and Grush said they want to develop a new “for fun” racing class for new riders on motorcycles with track day-level preparation.
“We really believe in our heart of hearts that if people get the opportunity to taste it and see it and experience it in a low-pressure environment they will understand the real reason most of us race instead of just doing track days,” said Wood. “With that in mind, we may bring in a kind of class structure that was similar to what we did with our Penguin Riding Schools. At the end of the day we had a ‘fun race.’ It was described as being for fun. ‘Just go out there and take the green flag and take the checkered flag, and if you want to start from the back of the grid, no problem. It’s low, low, low pressure.’
“Over the course of three years of doing that at Penguin, we brought in a ton of people. Some of the people we brought in have become cornerstones of our racing community. We want to see how we can do that within the confines of a NEMRR race weekend.”
Grush and Wood also pointed out that even though NEMRR will race at venues other than NHMS, the Loudon Classic, which is three years away from its 100th edition, will continue to run as an NEMRR event at NHMS.