BARK RIVER — Great weather and a growing popularity in off-road racing are credited with continued growth during races this month at the Bark River International Raceway.
Fans filled a fourth set of stands rented for the event and spilled over on the hill in front of the stands.
“The races were incredible,” said Roger Charbonneau, raceway marketing director. “There was a little wind Saturday but the weather was fantastic throughout the weekend and racing was exciting.”
Attendance during two days of the TORC Off-Road Championships at Bark River was 11 percent higher than 2011. Records show 17,446 people attended the off-road races Aug. 11-12 compared to 15,711 last year.
There were two races in 2010. Attendance was 10,802 in July and 11,978 in August.
Revenue was also up 9.32 percent from 2011. Food concession was up 2.53 percent and the bar was up 5.8 percent. Mug sales were up more than 25 percent. The surprise was the increase in the 50/50 raffle. Record payouts were set both Saturday and Sunday for a 38.71 percent increase over last year.
The increase in attendance kept volunteers at the gate very busy. Matt Hanson, raceway gate director, said about 70 volunteers were scheduled throughout the weekend to assist campers, register racers and sell wristbands to race fans.
“I share the role with a lot of very dedicated people who volunteer and give an enormous amount of time at the admissions gate, getting everybody in, getting everybody into the right camping area as well as handing out the wristbands so they can get on the hill,” Hanson said.
More than 300 people volunteered at the races. Most of them preparing the track before and during the races.
“We couldn’t possibly host the races without the support of volunteers. Nobody gets paid. We all volunteer. But there are not enough members of the Bark River Lions Club to pull it off. It’s amazing how people are willing to support the races,” said Charbonneau.
Charbonneau said they are now in the process of finalizing bills from the event before looking at this year’s charitable contributions from the Bark River Lions Club.
Proceeds from the Bark River International Raceway are used to support local organizations and charities.