MODESTO — Modesto officials expect thousands of spectators to line downtown streets in August for three days of superkart racing in what they are billing as the citys first grand prix.
The City Council voted 6-0 Tuesday evening to partner with Southern California-based SuperKarts! USA to bring the 2014 Pro Tour Summer Nationals here Aug. 1-3. Councilman Dave Geer was not at the meeting.
The superkarts look something like miniature Formula One race cars but there is nothing puny about their performance. They can reach speeds of more than 100 mph and go from zero to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds.
The city expects the event will draw 10,000 spectators along with 1,560 drivers, pit crew members and race officials. The city expects these out-of-towners will spend $968,000 during their time in Modesto for lodging, food and other purchases.
Modesto will have to spend money to make money.
The deal calls for SuperKart! USA to run the race and take care of the races technical details, while Modestos duties would include promoting the event, and providing security, fencing and the safety barriers for the racetrack. Modesto estimates its costs at $286,000. But it expects to raise about $338,000 through ticket sales and sponsorships, allowing the city to net more than $50,000.
Council members were revved up.
They said there is always risk in a venture of this scope, but that they believe Parks, Recreation and Neighborhoods Director Julie Hannon and her staff have done their due diligence and that the event will provide a huge opportunity for Modesto in terms of its economic impact, drawing people to the downtown and raising the citys profile.
Modesto has been in search of such an event since the Amgen Tour of California the biggest bicycle race in the nation stopped including the city as part of the annual race.
Council members added that superkart racing is an excellent fit for Modesto because of its strong car and racing culture.
I think the sky is the limit, Councilman Dave Cogdill Jr. said. ... I hope people will get behind this and support it.
The event will have eight classifications of racers. The first day will be a preview with the racing taking place over the next two days. The city will set up pedestrian bridges over the race course so spectators can walk about and view the races from different vantage points.
In other action Tuesday:
• Mayor Garrad Marsh said before the meeting that the council would discuss next week whether to pick an attorney from the city attorneys office or hire one from a law firm to serve as interim city attorney. City Attorney Susana Alcala Wood is resigning effective Nov. 15.
• Recognized 11 Modesto police officers who each will receive the Governors Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor on Thursday from Gov. Jerry Brown in Sacramento. The officers are being honored for risking their lives trying to save a sheriffs deputy and locksmith who were fatally wounded during a tenant eviction in April 2012.
• Listened to a plea from parent Jason David, whose son needs a certain type of medical marijuana to control his seizures. David was joined by a few dozen other people who said their children or parents also need the medication. David and the others wanted help from the city to produce this drug without fear of being arrested. Councilman Dave Lopez asked David and the others to make a formal presentation before the councils Safety and Communities Committee in November.
Bee staff writer Kevin Valine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2316.