Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Red Bull Catalina Grand Prix 2010 ... And Beyond – Competing Interests

The Red Bull arch adorns a whoop-d-whoo section of the Motocross challenge part of the nearly seven mile course laid out by the Catalina Island Company for the event. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2010)

Red Bull Catalina Grand Prix 2010 ... And Beyond – Competing Interests  

Against all odds and the thinking of many pundits residing on the island as well as the mainland, by all accounts the new era of the Catalina Grand Prix was a resounding success.

About one month or so before the event was scheduled to take place, things were looking a little dodgy, in that, the course was laid and conservationists that stand at the gate of all that happens on the interior of the island sighted about three Island Gray Foxes and at about the same time, Red Bull decided to step up and become the cornerstone sponsor lending invaluable visibility to the venue and additional importance of the agreed to event.

Local turnout was fantastic with the most common form of transportation being gas-powered golf carts. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2010)

Estimates on the influx of tourists place the two-wheel racing lovin’ crowd at around 20,000 racers, family, spectators, press and organizers. From the looks of all of the primary transportation golf carts with canvas and custom rims parked at the bottom of the rise along the East side of hole number 6 (or 7), the residents loved dropping in on all of the action as well.

There were around 800 racers entered to participate in 12 races spread over two days of costal Southern California late fall weather. As is the custom, many of the dirt motorcycle clubs throughout Southern California assisted the Avalon Fire Department in the race course management of this AMA sanctioned event.

Catalina Grand Prix action with the iconic Casino in the background. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2010)

This excerpted and edited from Cycle News –

Norman Caps Off Catalina GP With Pro Win
Kendal Norman races to victory
By Ryan Sanders - December 06, 2010 - 11:04 AM

Seventy class championships were up for grabs over the weekend, including the premier class - the Pro race, which marked the final event of what was a very successful weekend of racing. And that race belonged to JCR Honda rider Kendal Norman.

The racing action got underway Sunday morning with the Heavyweight event, and FMF/KTM rider Kurt Caselli rode off to victory but not before a tussle with Norman. At one point, the two riders locked handlebars with Norman getting the raw end of the deal.
[Catalina local, Mini-class rider/winner, Tucker] Larriew had the crowd in awe as he cleared some of the large doubles and triples on his Kawasaki KX85 that some of the A-class riders would not dare.
Overall, the return of the Catalina Grand Prix was well-received by city officials and the local residents, but no decision has been yet been made as to if the event will return next year.

From France, this 1968 Triumph and rider just made it from LAX to the Fright Line at the harbor under the wire to have the bike shipped for the event. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2010)

The event, in its first year of a new era approach, attracted people from all over the United States. One racer flew in to LAX from France with his 1968 Triumph (pictured above) and he barely made the equipment container shipping cut-off to Santa Catalina. His participation made this restart and first event of the new era one of international participation and reach. If this is the first of a decades long tradition, the event would become as internationally famed as the Isle of Man TT races, even though they would be completely different style events. The international draw however would create a tourist following for the rest of the year from Europeans visiting Southern California in a big way. Heck, they would love to visit the track site, take in a round of golf, and photograph a few Buffalo along the way.

The aftermath glow on the island and from the people who worked the services that support its industry was palpable yet guarded. They were all wondering just how much free range space does a little fox require in order to exist … and does this free range include the Catalina Grand Prix and possibly the town of Avalon itself?

Let us all be honest about this subject on the protection of a species … any species that chooses to scavenge for food from humans on an island that has maybe only 5% (and this might be a stretch) of its restricted land mass inhabited by the only species that can think and act on issues as protection – should have its competing interests curtailed.

Under the current logic that is raising concern … what would happen if ten or twenty gray foxes were sighted when the small area of mostly clear land was sculpted and made suitable for motorcycle competition … would the inhabitants of Avalon be asked to move out as long as they would just leave their food behind? The solution could be as simple as gathering up all of the “left over” food from eateries trash and deposit it on the uninhabited areas of the island to allow the population of gray foxes to expand (possibly at the expense of the indigenous Buffalo – not indigenous? Oh, sorry).

Image Credit: Michael Mandzak (2010)

This excerpted and edited from Wikipedia –

Introduced diseases or parasites can devastate Island Fox populations. Because the Island Fox is isolated, it has no immunity to parasites and diseases brought in from the mainland and are especially vulnerable to those the Domestic Dog may carry. A canine distemper outbreak in 1998 killed approximately 90% of Santa Catalina Island's fox population.[10] (It is difficult to vaccinate against or treat foxes for parasites and disease in the wild.)

Diminished food supply and general degradation of the habitat due to introduced mammal species, including feral cats, pigs, sheep, goats, and American Bison, the latter having been introduced to Catalina Island in the 1920s by a Hollywood film crew shooting a Western,[13] also has had a negative effect on fox populations.

So, it appears that in this Competing Interests set of circumstances, protect the fox while allowing life on the Island to continue or remove all that threaten the Island Gray Fox beyond just a few Golden Eagles.

A trap out on the track at the top of hole 6 (or 7). Is this a Gray Fox trap? Maybe this is a good omen. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2010)

A balance can be achieved if one wanted to become a bit more focused on species protection options (through trap, relocate, and impound programs), yet protect some of the interests that have been already established for the betterment of all concerned.

It strikes this author that pet dogs and Buffalo are greater threats to the gray fox than a limited annual event (limited to Avalon and its existing infrastructure) that uses existing rights of way and brings additional tourist attention for the good of the residents and support businesses that enjoy the tourist income-based life that Avalon and the chaparral island ecosystem can provide.

… notes from The EDJE

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