YUCCA VALLEY — The Yucca Valley BMX program had to postpone its big May race due to the health crisis, but track leaders are hoping the regional qualifiers can return in July.
The Gold Cup Southern California state qualifier is now scheduled to start at 3 p.m. July 4.
Travis D. Hill, who volunteers with the track, spent the past few months restoring and renovating it with grant money and the help and donations from local businesses.
“They have all stepped up to help our dream and mission,” Hill said.
While the track was closed, improvements made include a new family area, a revamped turn three and fine-tuning of some of the obstacles.
Hill also laid down fresh dirt and are working hard to be ready to open as soon as possible.
Hill, who works full-time on the Marine base in Twentynine Palms, said he used his time off from work to make the repairs.
“I’m the only one out there,” Hill said, stressing there was no way to have exposure to COVID-19. “Everything we do is volunteer.”
The naturally sandy track gets slammed with wet weather every rainy season and the repairs were much needed, Hill said in a phone interview on April 30.
“So much got done,” he said. “It looks amazing. It’s a whole new track.”
Local rider Kuylee Pettit, 14, will also soon return to the local track to ride.
Pettit, who lives in Lucerne Valley, is sponsored by Precision BMX and rides nationwide. Her mother, Keri Dillman, is the local track operator.
“It’s one of the better tracks,” Pettit said earlier this year.
Hill said he also hopes the July 4 race will be a huge success and the fireworks from the town of Yucca Valley will be on full view from the track. Plans are also in the works to have a live music performance and possibly a military fly-over during the races.
“It will be a lot of races coming down,” Hill said.
The closure has caused some financial losses, but overall Hill said he is confident they can fully recover.
“We’re doing OK. We will make it work,” he said.
As a nonprofit organization, Hill said they are able to accept donations that are tax-deductible. He asks anyone interested to contact him through the program’s Facebook page. The Yucca Valley BMX program is a nonprofit organization with three board members.
In February, the program received $15,000 from the Yucca Valley Town Council to improve lighting, build a new picnic area and put down a track cover. The money will come from sales taxes raised through the Measure Y half-cent tax increase.
Hill praised town staff and Town Manager Curtis Yakimow during the crisis.
“Their communication has been great,” Hill said. “They have been wonderful. We have the best town!”
Michael Mack is helping install the new lights.
“He used to ride BMX track when he was a kid,” Hill said.
The track’s award podium also received a bright blue paint touch-up.
“I freshened it up,” Hill said. “It was the final touch.”
The podium was donated a few years ago by Paulden Hepler, of Desert Hot Springs.
Hill said he also thanks ORCO Block & Hardscape and Whitewater Rock & Supply Co. for helping with the project and supplies.
Jake Rogers, who has been riding BMX for the past 35 years, said he is happy to have an established BMX track in Yucca Valley.
“It’s an amazing track,” he said. “The effort and the support are wonderful. We used to race in Desert Hot Springs because there was no track up here.”
Once it fully reopens, the track welcomes riders and spectators every Monday and Wednesday, with practice from 5:30 to 7 p.m. and racing afterward. Everyone is welcome.
The track is at 6989 Sage Ave. For information, visit www.usabmx.com/tracks/1318.