Recon The 4K Ranch in Malakoff, Texas
then, it's that time again, round up your best gear, slap
on some new tires, and let's get out to the "04
season opener at Malakoff.
you may know, this venue was voted track of the year from
last season, and with good reason.
didn't actually make it out to the track this week, but
spoke to Marty on the phone.
tells me that the track is pretty much the same as I've
described it here ( from a few months ago ) with the
exception being that the track will be run in reverse (
making the map backwards of course ) and he tells me that
he left out the parts that "may not be so much
fun". He also said that he's gonna open up a little
more parking and that the PeeWee track will be about the
same as last time.
I say I can't ever recall having raced at a place like
this I mean it. Check the map and pictures...and I'd
advise you to come out and race!!
then. Other other thing, a good buddy of mine, and a
fellow TCCRA member, Tom Moore ( H4 ) busted his ass out
in New Mexico a couple of weeks ago. It was pretty
bad. Bad enough that we can't even get him home yet.
He's runnin' up hospital bills like crazy, and could use a
little financial help.
will be a few of his friends at the gate. If you can help
out, do so. If not don't worry about it. We'll be happy
with what we can get.
opener, same place as last track last season, runnin' in
reverse of last time...so...uh...that's it.
remember, this is last year's report, so bear with me on
this until I'm up and running again. And you
can use the map to see where the track access is, but the
track map is gonna be backwards.
just like going to Athens. If you're coming from Dallas, take Hwy 175
South / East towards Athens. In fact, just go on as though you were going
to the Athens track, and when you get to the 317 loop, go to the right
instead of to the left like we did to go to Ross' place. After a couple of
miles the loop ends, and you'll continue to the right on what is now Hwy
31. It's about 6.4 miles to "the" traffic signal. You'll go left
there, I think the sign says "To Crossroads". It's FM 3441.
another 6.5 or so miles, you'll turn right on CR 1309, which is kinda like
a long driveway, 'cause it ends at the gate to the 4K Ranch. When you get
through the gate, keep to the right, and stay on the dirt road until you
get to the camp entrance.
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I said before, this is not only a new venue, but also a
fairly unique place to ride. Ya see, it used to be ( and
still is in some parts ) a rock quarry.
guys who work it, would, some years ago, dig these long,
fairly deep pits, to get whatever they were after and when
they moved on, what was left was these long skinny
trenches about 30 feet wide and several hundred feet long.
Now, years later, most of them are filled with water
and have become ponds, tanks, and swamps, depending on
their age. It's this mining effort that makes this
property so unique. The reason is, that a byproduct of
digging long trenches in the earth is the leftover dirt,
which is now lots and lots of what appear to be levies.
They're not of course, but with a 300 yard long, fifteen
foot high, ten foot wide hill along side of an equally
long pond, it just appears so.
what would normally be a huge open flat piece of land, now
becomes a place with lots of room for haulin' ass, and
lots of man made terrain as well, in the form of all these
"levies" all over the place. Did I mention the
Out in the flat areas, the dirt is mostly black and ( at
the time of my report ) very tacky. Around the swamp areas
( between mile 6 and 9 ) there's a lot of heavy sand, not
silt, remember, this place hasn't been ridden before, and
is still "virgin". As I saw it on
Saturday, and with the black clay on one side, and the
heavy sand on the other, I'm not predicting too much dust
it fast? Let's put it this way, and this is no bullshit, I
counted just under a hundred major direction changes in
nine and a half miles. That's about ten turns a mile...you
figure it out.
one place around mile four and a half, the track just out
and out turns into a road. The grass section around mile
5.5, only has 45 degree turns, no 90s or 180s. And between
mile 3.5 and 4.25 you only change direction once or twice.
It's kinda weird to pass two mileage markers without
having made a change in direction!
then I said it was straight, I didn't say it was smooth.
Or flat. In fact, go ahead and change your
suspension fluids today. There's no rocks...I guess they
"quarried" them all away. But there's about six
or seven small creek crossings, that may get a
little...dirty, and about 37 deep "G-Outs" (
from going up and down the levies) and an equal number of
off camber turns for when you come off or go onto a levy.
Oh, and 6438 rain ruts across the fields. I think I lost a
filling at mile 4.These may be smoothed out after the
track gets run in on Saturday though.
Between miles six and eight, the track winds back and
forth between the huge trenches, that have long ago filled
with water, and turned into some kinda swamp thing.
Sometimes one swamp overflows into the adjacent swamp (
trench, strip mine, whatever ) and a big rut / whoop is
left when the water pulls back. So these otherwise
straight trails between the trenches are laden with uneven
whoops. Pretty fun to ride, but you wouldn't wanna loose
your line and go off into ...well you wouldn't wanna do
track promises to be loads of fun, and with the exception
of the trails between the swamps, there's no excuse for
not makin' the pass on your buddy. Intermediate tire. Gear
up. No rocks. Firm suspension. +/- 0 tire pressure.
camp area seems pretty level after all it was a quarry at
one time and was probably flat as a board. It's a little
bumpy from years of rain ruts but nothing bad. Just don't
go racing across the field to get to your favorite camp
spot in the motorhome, cause you'll bounce your TV set off
you come in the gate you'll be on a road that'll take you
all the way through the camp area, and Marty says that you
can park anywhere after you get in. If it get's too
crowded Marty has an overflow camp area.
the camp area is fairly nice, and the property has grass,
and is fairly flat. Not too much shade though.
caution though. We quite a few ant hills, I tried to jump
over one and wrecked my fourwheeler, and landed in another
one. ( not really ) You would be wise to take this into
consideration. Please watch your children and animals, and
maybe bring some ground treatment, for your camp
area...and bite treatment for yourselves, just in case.
phone rating is high here, AT&T and Verizon both show
4 outta five bars.
at the map. There are roads everywhere. The terrain is
fairly open and easy to get around on, But PLEASE, watch
what ta hell you're doing and don't hurt one of our racers
while goofing around on the fourwheeler. You won't have
ANY excuse for doing so. If you or one of your brood hits
a racer on the track, not only do you risk injury, but
...well you don't wanna be forever labeled a
"squid" in a club this size.
I didn't see too much in
the way of overnight accommodations in the "one light
town" of Malakoff, so I would imagine that Athens
would be your best bet. There is this one...
Country Side Inn, 1614 W
Royall Blvd, Malakoff, TX 75148, (903-489-0400)
And the rest are in
Best Western Inn, 2050
State Highway 31 E, Athens, TX 75751, (903-675-9214)
Budget Inn-Athens, 305 US Highway 175 W, Athens, TX 75751,
La Donna Motel, 611 W Corsicana St, Athens, TX 75751,
Spanish Trace Inn Motel-Athens, 716 E Tyler St, Athens, TX
Super 8, 205 W US Highway 175, Athens, TX 75751,
Victorian Inns, 1803 State Highway 31 E, Athens, TX 75751,
open Friday at noon.
actual soil was sampled during the gathering of
information for this report.