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Community Rallies To Help Storm-Damaged Brainerd

The damaged bleachers at Brainerd International Raceway The damaged bleachers alongside the drag strip, twisted by Sunday night's storms.All pictures: Brainerd International Raceway
 Neil Tipton
 Saturday, July 18, 2015

Community volunteers joined circuit staff in a race against time to restore Brained International Raceway to operating condition after a freak storm caused major damage across the facility. Sunday night's storm saw winds clocked at 60-70 mph as it swept through the Brainerd Lakes region of Minnesota.

The high winds toppled and twisted a section of bleachers on the dragstrip, ripped off the roof from the press box and the main shop, rolled at least two RVs in the campground, blew down dozens of signs, flipped over large dumpsters and knocked down too many trees to count. Power the facility was also knocked out.

With a round of the CRA Superbike series schedule for the weekend, there was considerable clear up and immediate repair work to be done, prompting circuit bosses to call for community volunteers to help with the clean up. In particular people with chainsaws were needed to help clear the large number of fallen trees.

A large turnout across Monday and Tuesday helped ensure that the track could be cleared of debris and by Wednesday morning power was restored to the ticket office. While a scheduled drag evening on Wednesday was cancelled, it was soon clear that the weekend's motorbike racing on the full 3.1-mile Donnebrooke road course would be able to go ahead as planned, albeit with a facility that was somewhat less-than-usually-pristine.

In a twist of events, BIR officials opened the circuit on Thursday to accept trees and brush from anyone who was affected by the storm, as the wider local clear-up process across the region began. The debris will be piled up and later burned.

The circuit will assess the damage to its bleachers in the coming weeks as repairs continue. All events currently on the BIR schedule are expected to take place, including the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals set for August 20-23.


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