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Is It Time To Bring Back The West Michigan Grand Prix To Downtown Grand Rapids? [Poll]

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Even if they could get the money now, Steen says a reprise is unlikely now because of all of the changes and development downtown.

Monaco seems to handle it just fine, and they've got far less space to work with than we do.  The tight spaces of that track help make it even more famous, actually.

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I think when people pose questions like these, it should be something that the CITY could possibly do, or the DDA. The city would never put on something like this, as it doesn't really put on any of its own events. I'm sure if someone came to them with a good solid plan for this, the city would consider it (like they did Bike Week(end) and Rock The Rapids).

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I don't understand what they mean by how the "changes and development" downtown make organizing the event more difficult.  There hasn't been much change along the route.  Are they worried about running into conflicts with future construction projects that spill into the street?

 

It was a great circuit, by the way.

 

176669005_38e92bdcd8.jpg

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I don't understand what they mean by how the "changes and development" downtown make organizing the event more difficult.  There hasn't been much change along the route.  Are they worried about running into conflicts with future construction projects that spill into the street?

 

It was a great circuit, by the way.

 

176669005_38e92bdcd8.jpg

 

 

It was a cool course. And strangely I remember that the Monroe Center ramp where Leo's is now was not there and they had an outdoor half pipe for skateboarders going on??  And a big bounce house? Anyone else remember that? They also had a children's play area in the parking lot where the JW Marriott now stands. So weird to think about.

 

I agree I don't really see what the difference would be logistically. Some of those streets are in horrible shape (Pearl for instance) and would have to be seriously brought up to a better state.

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I could very easily see those "playgrounds" being at the BOB.  And if it were me, I'd change that little section of Ionia to go down Louis and Fulton, because every good circuit needs a hairpin.  Something those oval-loving nascar fans could learn a thing or two about.  I certainly don't see how any logistics may have changed, though.  Perhaps the guy who said that never really goes downtown and just knows "downtown" has changed?  I suppose the JW Ramp may cause some complications for guests, necessitating that they commandeer another ramp and provide shuttle service to and from the Amway for JW guests, but that's about all I can think of, really.

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Just saw this after posting that video a few days back. Wish we would have more events like this.

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7 hours ago, WMrapids said:

Just saw this after posting that video a few days back. Wish we would have more events like this.

This type of auto racing just does not have the following,  Especially with the impact of road closure.  It made more sense when downtown was more empty.  Cultural events have taken over much of this from sporting events.  

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4 hours ago, EastownLeo said:

This type of auto racing just does not have the following,  Especially with the impact of road closure.  It made more sense when downtown was more empty.  Cultural events have taken over much of this from sporting events.  

Yes I understand that. Plus if you look at the videos, we can only wish our roads were that good right now.

I'm talking about just more than ArtPrize. Having a Grand Prix here seems pretty unique. What other events besides ArtPrize draw that many people in?

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They just closed the streets last weekend for the MSU Gran Fondo didn't they?  I imagine the Grand Prix would draw more than that.  Heck, Berlin does good business plus there's Martin and Grattan too.  This type of auto racing may not have a giant following nationwide, but on a local level I think there's a lot of motorsports fans in West Michigan who would enjoy the sights, sounds, smells of watching loud cars race around downtown.  I don't necessarily seek out this kind of racing on television but I'd go downtown to watch.  Kind of like baseball - on TV it's a bit of a drag but I love me a ballpark experience.

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19 hours ago, wingbert said:

They just closed the streets last weekend for the MSU Gran Fondo didn't they?  I imagine the Grand Prix would draw more than that.  Heck, Berlin does good business plus there's Martin and Grattan too.  This type of auto racing may not have a giant following nationwide, but on a local level I think there's a lot of motorsports fans in West Michigan who would enjoy the sights, sounds, smells of watching loud cars race around downtown.  I don't necessarily seek out this kind of racing on television but I'd go downtown to watch.  Kind of like baseball - on TV it's a bit of a drag but I love me a ballpark experience.

Closing streets for the Grand Prix is not the same thing as closing streets for a bike race [EDITED FOR WINGBERT :P].  I remember reading about what they had to do last time.  They needed to individually forklift over a thousand concrete barriers, which weighed over 9000 pounds each, to line the course, then place miles of cables and fencing on top.  Then they had to weld all the manhole covers down into the street to keep them from flying off during the race.  Then they built the grandstands, skyways, etc.  IIRC it took about a week to prepare the whole course, as they were closing off traffic to different portions gradually.  Then the week after the race, they had to reset everything.

I don't remember what condition the roads were in before the race, i.e. if they had to be resurfaced, or what - but yeah, the road had to be in good shape, and had to fit certain sloping & crowning specs.  I imagine if it were coming back today, there'd have to be some work done.

It's doable.  Other cities do it.  Long Beach has done it every year since 1975, and it's fantastic.  Would love to see it come back to GR myself. But, larger cities than GR or Long Beach have hosted street circuit races that folded; I think successful races tend to be the exceptions.  It's no wonder with over 100,000 in attendance both years, the West MI Grand Prix still couldn't get a corporate sponsor.  This is a much bigger beast than a simple road closure, and I can understand why it's difficult to line up sponsorships or make the logistics work.

Edited by RegalTDP
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15 hours ago, RegalTDP said:

The Grand Prix is not a bike race. 

Really?  I had no idea.  Next thing you're gonna tell me is that skateboarding is not a crime. :whistling:

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1 hour ago, wingbert said:

Really?  I had no idea.  Next thing you're gonna tell me is that skateboarding is not a crime. :whistling:

Arrest all skateboarders.

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21 hours ago, wingbert said:

They just closed the streets last weekend for the MSU Gran Fondo didn't they? 

The Gran Fondo had Fulton St between Monroe and Ionia and Ottawa Ave between Fulton and Weston closed for one Saturday from 6 AM to 5 PM. Hardly comparable. 

I was working at 'The Zone' in the Arena during the Grand Prix and those streets were closed for days. We did get all access, employee badges for the duration and that was pretty cool. 

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Just for reference, I actually was there.  I received the pitch at the time for corporate sponsors from Tony Gates, etc. prior to the first year's launch.  I loved attending the GP and could tell the organizers felt strongly about it too.  However, without a national TV audience, etc. it was rather on the pricey side for a largely localized opportunity.  They did have high hopes of eventually having the racing graduate to a higher tier of competition and stronger media coverage.  I don't recall if it was Speedvision or some other fledgling cable network that broadcast some of the activity but it was fun to see cars racing on the streets of GR.  My point wasn't an apples to apples comparison of the Gran Fondo to the Grand Prix.  It was more the fact that if it brings more vibrancy to downtown, a little inconvenience is worth it.  However, thinking about it now with all the new downtown residents, they would probably bitc... complain up a storm with all the noise and street closures.

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7 minutes ago, wingbert said:

However, thinking about it now with all the new downtown residents, they would probably bitc... complain up a storm with all the noise and street closures.

I wouldn't blame them. I remember being able to hear the roar of the cars from my family's house 2 miles away from downtown.

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The biggest hassle I remember from the Grand Prix is that they had giant fences lingering around for what had to be a good month (before, during, after) the races all along the course. It was pretty annoying. 

Also, didn't this fail the first time? Is there really a compelling reason to bring it back? I remember at the time, people liked it, but it was pretty inconvenient to get around if you were attending, and impossible to get around if you were not. 

Joe

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23 hours ago, joeDowntown said:

I remember at the time, people liked it, but it was pretty inconvenient to get around if you were attending, and impossible to get around if you were not. 

Joe

That was all part of the charm.  I'm sure there's plenty of wags in Monaco too.  :silly:

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