First annual Thunderdrome
On a warm Saturday, rare for October in Detroit, more than 200 people climbed through a hole in a fence to watch the first annual Thunderdrome. The battle for glory among cyclists - from as far as North Carolina - took place at the Dorais Velodrome. The 'drome - a steeply banked oval track - was first built in 1969 by Mike Walden for the Cycling National Championships, but for the past 22 years has been used for little other then illegal drag racing.
This summer, a group of motivated people, Andy Didorosi, 23; Ben Wojdyla, 29; and Alan Schlutow, 27, with the help of the Mower Gang, and Kilburn’s Equipment Rental (to name a few) took it upon themselves to rebuild the time worn track. They removed trash, mowed and whipped the weeds, and poured over 4000 lbs of concrete to make the track safe.
Thunderdrome invited cyclists of all kinds to compete, anyone who could get 5 of the same style bikes together could create a class. The event organizers plan to donate half of the proceeds from the event to the Detroit Parks and Recreation, and use the other half to continue improvements to Dorais park. The diverse racing classes included fixed gear, pro and amateur road bikes, mountain bikes, electric scooters, mo-peds, and pit bikes. At the end of the day everyone in the crowd with equipment and safety gear that qualified were encouraged to race. The top three of every class received prizes, and there was even a powderpuff class for the ladies. Notable victories were Mike Han from streetculturemash.com in the fixed gear class, and Devin Biek from Motion Left Mo-peds' first place win in the mo-ped class and his impromptu photo-finish win over the fastest pit-bike.
-- Vanessa Miller/Special to Metromix