11 Jan 2017
- By Bryan Manabat - firstname.lastname@example.org - Variety News Staff
MOTORSPORTS enthusiasts gathered in the American Memorial Park parking lot on Friday to support a petition to establish a Saipan International Raceway Park and to start a charity drag race series called “Race for Cause.”
The petition is spearheaded by the Commonwealth Racing Federation, a non-profit organization that aims to assemble, promote and support motorsports in the CNMI with the ultimate goal of constructing and operating a world-class racing facility with multiple race tracks for drag racing, off-road racing and motorcross training.
According to federation president Paul Guerrero, many have tried to open race tracks on Saipan, but failed to get government support.
“We can’t seem to get anybody on our side. But here we are again, to petition, and we have more people now, and all we ask for is a piece of property where we can do motorsports,” preferably in Marpi, he added.
“It’s probably is the safest place, and the noise won’t bother people,” he said.
Among the group’s first tasks is to see to it that racetrack legislation is re-introduced in the Legislature.
In May 2006, then-Rep. Martin B. Ada introduced House Bill 15-133 which proposed the development and construction of a Saipan international raceway.
Guerrero said the raceway did not materialize because, among other things, the property they wanted was reserved for an investor that time.
“But that property is still vacant, still unused, still available,” he added.
Mami Ikeda, the federation’s assistant secretary, said the Saipan international raceway was the dream of her late brother, Kazunori.
“He and his fellow motorsports enthusiasts got together and incorporated the federation back in 2006 for the raceway,” she said. “It was made into a bill, had sponsors and was all ready to go, but it didn’t happen.”
She said they are interested in a strip of land in Cowtown, Marpi.
“That’s the location we initially asked for in 2006. Start off with a drag or even a mud drag strip. We can generate funds from it to add more tracks, and gradually expand into a motorsports park.”
Ikeda said there are many motorsports enthusiasts on island, and by creating a raceway the CNMI can attract more visitors from around the world.
“We could also get kids away from illegal drag racing on public roads by giving them a site where they can race with proper safety measures in place.”