Lake Susie Dirt Track

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 11, 2012

Middle-age dream turns into dirt-kicking reality

By John Howell Sr

The Lake Susie Dirt Track will hold its second monthly race this Saturday after opening day races on April 14 attracted over 30 vehicles and 1,500 spectators.

The May 12 race anticipates 60 to 70 competitors with a proportionate increase in spectators, Susan Camp said Tuesday at the meeting of the Batesville Rotary Club.

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Camp said the track began as the project of her husband, Tommy Camp, who “decided he wanted to do something in his middle age, so he decided he would get him a race track,” she said.

Though she said she was initially cool to her husband’s idea, “It has worked out really good.”

“It’s a family-owned thing; our children work in our concessions,” Camp continued

The racing pits specially-equipped four-wheel drive trucks racing side by side, two at a time, on a 300-foot straight dirt track. This Saturday’s lineup includes “super trucks” capable of covering the distance in two seconds, Camp said. Some trucks in the May 14 races will also be equipped with “paddles and scoopers,” she continued — large tires with wide, tall treads crossing the tire to grip the dirt much like the paddle wheel of an old river steamer pushed water.

Another 600 feet of track at the end of the track is allowed for “stopping room,” she said.

“Some people put a little money in it (preparing their trucks), and some people put big dollars in it,” Camp continued. Drivers must wear helmets and a five-point racing harness, she said. Trucks must be equipped with a roll cage and tires that are Department of Transportation approved for dirt racing.

“You can’t just take a truck up there and say ‘Okay, I’m going to run my truck,” Camp said. “It goes through an inspection before they get on the track. We call it ‘teching-in.’”

Trucks are divided into eight classes according to engine size and modifications. First through third places in each class win cash prizes.

Spectators are kept a safe distance from the track, Camp said. An ambulance is on standby at the site during races as is a fire truck and a deputy sheriff, she added.

Spectators pay $10 admission. The Lake Susie Dirt Track plans races on second Saturdays through October. Gates open at 3 p.m. and races begin at 6 p.m.

The Camps plan to hold two races during June and September, she said. Proceeds from October’s final race of the season will be donated to a charity to be determined, she said.

The track is located near Highway 6, just west of the Tallahatchie River. West of the bridge, turn south on Waldrup Road and watch for signs leading to Lake Susie Road, Camp said.