Street runners may soon be hitting the trails at Enterprise Park in Calverton for the first legally sanctioned event at the huge property that once housed the Navy jets.
Riverhead City Council discussed a special event request during Thursday’s working session for the Scrambul Runway Challenge, a two-day competition to be held in June and open to amateur runners. Andre Baxter of Hempstead, who submitted the request in February, discussed security measures for what he described as an “epic event”.
âThe best part is not only that it will be fun, but that it will be safe,â said Mr. Baxter, President and CEO of Scrambul Inc. âWhen developing the plans for this event, we started through security, then we backed off. . With every idea we had for this event, we asked a simple question: what could go wrong? “
The event would include races on tracks of three lengths: 1/8-mile, 1/4-mile and 1/2-mile. Mr Baxter, who spoke virtually during the working session, said the airport runway provides the perfect space to host a drag racing event.
The Scrambul Runway Challenge is a different proposition from that discussed by city council a few weeks earlier for a series of 14 special events over seven weeks. Officials said the Scrambul dates would not conflict with the proposal, which has yet to be finalized.
Mr. Baxter’s event would take place the weekend of June 19-20 if the special event is approved. He said he has already piqued the interest of runners and expects there to be between 100 and 200 participants with up to 1,000 spectators, although he expects it to be a “continuous audience” with people coming and going throughout the day. He said when filing the initial request that he did not know how COVID protocols would affect the number of spectators, but he said he hoped with the relaxation of restrictions that accommodation for fans would not be a problem. problem.
Runners would pay $ 150 per day or $ 250 for the weekend, which would entitle them to as many races as they can. Drivers could potentially compete in 10 to 15 races, he said. Spectators would pay an entrance fee of $ 15 and children under 12 would be admitted free.
Mr Baxter said he viewed it as a family event. No alcohol would be served and everyone – participants and spectators – would receive free bottled water, he said. Vendors would be on hand to sell food.
The minimum age to participate is 18 years old. The half-mile run on the 7,000-foot track would require runners to be 21 years of age or older.
Drivers would be required to wear helmets.
“We have not received any reluctance from the pilots interested in this event,” said Mr. Baxter. âThe point is, most people who enjoy street racing and motorsports already own helmets. Whether they wear them or not is another story. For this event, they will be required to wear them.
Drivers would be required to attend a morning meeting where safety procedures are outlined. Cars must also have a fire extinguisher mounted in plain sight. Cars that should exceed a certain speed should also have a roll bar and a seat belt with four point harness.
âMost drivers will have a five-point harness,â Baxter said.
No spectators would be on the half-mile track, Mr Baxter said, so that spectators do not venture between the two tracks. A jumbotron would be installed so that spectators sitting on the 10,000 foot track with the 1/8 mile and 1/4 mile runs could still see the action.
Mr Baxter said the cars can reach up to 115-120 mph.
The request is to use the local fire and ambulance services on reserve and the requester would cover these costs. Mr Baxter said emergency crews would be set up on each of the three tracks.
City attorney Bob Kozakiewicz said he would be interested in speaking with anyone who has worked with Mr Baxter who can vouch for how he is handling events. He noted how Mr. Baxter said he and his crews have over 30 years of combined experience.
City council members spoke positively about the proposal.
“The people of Riverhead love the races,” said City Councilor Catherine Kent.
City Councilor Tim Hubbard said as long as the Fire Marshal and Chief of Police approve the safety measures he is “all in favor.”
City Councilor Ken Rothwell introduced Mr Baxter at the start of the business session and noted that there are some updates to be made to the app, such as where it lists spectators. The current app said zero, due to COVID restrictions at the time.
âI think this is an exciting event,â Mr. Rothwell said.
A resolution approving the special event is not expected in time for Tuesday’s city council meeting. The next meeting after that is May 19.