Portable motor racing track to debut in July to help struggling Ramona businesses

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A 40 foot portable race track for miniature cars to promote local restaurants and businesses? This is the idea behind the Ramona Diecast Car Rally.

The trail, built by Estates resident Roger Housgard with four segments of 10-foot PVC pipe, was brainstormed by Housgard and his fellow Estates resident Lora Morel.

Last holiday season, Morel dressed in a Santa Claus costume and, accompanied by elves, visited struggling restaurants to help attract more customers during the coronavirus pandemic.

But a Santa costume is seasonal, and Morel began to wonder how to continue his mission during the summer. She saw a company donate cardboard tubes and noticed a box of Hot Wheels type cars in their garage.

After meeting Housgard, the two decided to create a kid-friendly running track that could be moved to various restaurants and businesses to attract customers. They could charge a dollar for six races, said Morel, who is still finalizing the cost and other plans.

“The profits would go to this business,” she said. “Over time it will become more popular and people will want to stop and bring their kids and race the cars.”

Roger Housgard and Lora Morel hope their Ramona Diecast Car Rally racetrack becomes a popular summer pastime for kids and a way to attract customers to local restaurants and other businesses.

(Courtesy of Lora Morel)

Housgard, 66, a retired plumber for the San Diego Unified School District, designed and built the track. The PVC pipe and other materials were donated by Ramona Irrigation and Electrical Supply, he said.

“I like to do stuff like this when I can,” Housgard said. “The project was big. I spent about a month working on it.

The first version had a 30 foot track, but tests on children showed it was not ideal.

“You blinked and the race was over,” he said. “I straightened the track and flattened it to make it 40 feet. It created more suspense.

On June 11, the two took to the race track for a test drive with about 20 children at the Ramona Oaks Recreation Center. They provided a bucket of cars and the kids were able to grab one.

It was a huge success.

“I don’t know how far it will go, but these kids were great on the track,” Housgard said.

Morel said the Ramona Diecast Car Rally will begin appearing at local businesses in July. She rode a Ramona Diecast Car Rally Facebook page where companies can request it and she can share a schedule of where the track will be.

She is also thinking about ways to include coupons and contests as part of the project. Additionally, she and Housgard plan to set up the running track for free every now and then at local parks or schools.

Sponsors include Ramona Irrigation and Electrical Supply, Ballpark Printing and Graphics, and Diversified Accounting and Tax Services, Morel said.

“It’s a small idea that turned out to be a pretty big idea,” she said. “It went well. It’s a great trail.


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