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High-flying riders now have place to soar south of Laurel

By By Richard Strength/EMG-Laurel Leader-Call
Nov. 15, 2001
Some people can have a good time watching two turtles race.
But if you like high-flying, dirt-spitting, full-bore racing in a fun-for-the-whole-family environment, then you're in luck.
Walter Bartran of Laurel, one of only two licensed motorcross racing professionals from Mississippi, has opened the Bartran Motocross Park off Hwy 15, seven miles south of Laurel. Marcelle and Tom Harwell of Laurel, Bartran's aunt and uncle, are partners in the venture.
The track is open every weekend for practice, excluding race weekends. The park opened in mid-September and Bartran said it has already experienced growth with almost no publicity.
Bartran hopes to install lights and a grandstand in the future. And he has other big plans to make it a successful track.
The big races would be icing on the cake for Bartran. What he's enjoying now are the 40 races he puts on every third Sunday each month.
Forty races are run each racing Sunday to determine winners in 20 different classes.
The track awards trophies for amateur riders and money for the professionals. He expects 125 bikes to show up each racing Sunday. Racing starts at 11 a.m. and wraps up around 5 p.m. Admission is $8 per person, but children six and under and seniors 65 and over are admitted free of charge.
Bartran indicated that the park provides a good environment for family entertainment, free of alcohol or drugs.
Once the park opened, word of the track spread quickly in motorcross racing circles. Bartran hopes the park will become a regular recreation destination for families who enjoy racing.