It appears that storied Lake Whitney Cycle Park — the site of numerous National, International, and amateur motocross events since 1972 — has finally succumbed to economic pressures after years on life support.
Based on these sources the property on which the track sits is part of WB Ranch, a property owned by a limited partnership with Bruce Whitehead listed as General Partner.
Whitehead is a hunting enthusiast and investor and it appears the property is being converted into something that can make more money — a managed hunting preserve, corporate retreat, and housing development.
Whitehead does not feel that motocross is compatible with these activities. The track, races, and blue-collar RV camping are probably putting a crimp in his ability to sell $200,000 housing lots. Well, it is America and we are not (yet) communists here.
It looks like Whitehead’s group has run the ranch since 2000 and allowed the track to remain operational under the supervision of Dave Martin (of Honda of Houston and managing partner of Moto-Mgmt. LP) until 2006.
In June 2006 the track operating lease was transferred from Martin’s Moto-Mgmt. group to Allan and Jamie McWilliams of Millcreek Race Promotions. Millcreek operated Lake Whitney MX, along with other racing facilities, from 2007-2010.
I haven’t been to Whitney since the late ’80s but am told the facility had suffered from economic neglect for the last several years and was in serious need of modern upgrades. Some riders indicated this was just the last nail in a coffin built 10 years ago when Whitehead took over the property.
That’s unfortunate as Whitney was Mecca for Texas motocross racers in the ’70s and ’80s. I personally witnessed John Banks hammering the lower section of track by the river bank on a thundering CCM at a Trans-AMA race in ’76 or ’77. I also attended a number of AMA Nationals there.
My high school friend Tom Holtan (AMA #516 in the early ’80s) got blown off the track by Kent Howerton during practice at one National at Whitney and was never quite the same afterward.
I hate to see this change, especially given that the heir apparent track is Freestone County Raceway which qualifies as a motocross track only under the broadest, most wildly optimistic definition of the word. But time moves on.
Lake Whitney Cycle Ranch may no longer exist, but the memories will live on. And who knows, some corporate fat cat may still hear the rumble of John Banks’ CCM as he putts his little golf cart along the river where the Men of Motocross once ruled.