In August of 2010, a group of volunteer landscapers known as the Mower Gang decided to fix up the Dorais Velodrome in Detroit, which sat abandoned for 22 years. They cleared everything out, cut down overgrown brush and made it like new.
Shortly thereafter, a group of friends organized a racing event, which is now known as The Thunderdrome.
(Disclaimer: first and foremost, for those of you who may not be in the know, a velodrome is a track for cycling. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s proceed).
The two-day race is open to mopeds, scooters, go-karts, bicycles, mini-motards and mini-bikes, and will take place this Saturday, September 21 and Sunday, September 22 from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Each year has been bigger and better than the last—the first race in 2010 drew in just over 50 racers and approximately 400 spectators. Last year’s event included over 120 racers and 1,800 plus spectators, and those numbers are expected to grow even more this year.
This time around, the event includes nine different races, which are broken down into the following categories:
Basically, this means that whether you have a dirt bike, a Schwinn or a Razor scooter, there’s a race for you to take part in.
However, if you’re not a racer or a fan of racing, this is still an event worth attending. In addition to all of the races, there will be a craft beer tent, vendors and fowling—a football, bowling hybrid. Several food trucks will also be in attendance, including El Guapo, The Mac Shack and Dago Joe’s.
After all of the races are completed, prizes will be given away on Sunday at 10:45 p.m., and each class will award a first, second and third place prize.
If you’re just going to watch, tickets cost $10 for adults (children 12 and under are admitted for free). A Pit Pass costs $15 and will get you a front row seat. If you’re the one doing the actual racing, it’ll cost you $25 or $40, depending on the category.
A portion of the funds collected at the door will go towards further repairs of the velodrome, while the rest will be donated to Camp Casey, a local nonprofit organization for childhood cancer.