Tristen Blackburn on the Ellings park BMX track May 19, 2011
Paul Wellman

The roll-in is ready, the curves smoothed and primed, the tabletops solid and set and rock free. After a long winter of rain and an even longer period of all too frequent neglect, the BMX raceway at Elings Park — thanks to some long hours of work from volunteers and new track management — is ready for the biggest weekend of racing it has seen in quite sometime.

Some of the brightest stars from the Central Coast and Southern California BMX universe will be on hand Friday through Sunday as the park hosts three days of pedal-powered action culminating with Sunday’s triple points Redline Cup Qualifier. Showing off the newly tuned-up course on Thursday evening, longtime BMX veteran and Santa Barbara resident Henry Sarria summed it up as a crew of practicing racers blasted by him: “It may be mostly empty here right now but, come this weekend, it is going to be a mini metropolis of people with some real good racing going on.”

Sanctioned by the American Bicycle Association, Elings plays host to all ages and divisions of local races, typically on Friday nights or Saturday afternoons in the summer, and the occasional larger, more prestigious qualifier events like this Sunday’s Redline Cup. There is also “open practice” hours throughout the week and a Summer Camp, starting in June, designed to introduce children to the sport and, of course, help those already in love with BMX to take their game to the next level. As summer camp instructor Chantal Blanchet put it, “We like to keep it simple [here at Elings]. It is just three letters that matter: B-M-X.”

However, before the summer season could get underway, the track needed a pretty solid facelift in the wake of such a rain-filled winter. To that end, with their eyes on this weekend’s festivities, track manager Frank Marino along with a crew of volunteers like Sarria and Blanchet and former top pro Jarret Kolich spent much of the past few weeks whipping the place into shape. “The winter just kicked this place’s ass,” said Sarria but, after some long hours of weeding, reshaping, Bobcat-powered earth moving and rock hauling, the place looks basically brand new. And the timing couldn’t be better — the first race of the season starts Friday at 7.

For more detailed info on this weekends races and the park in general go to


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