The Ridge Motorsports Park is a 2.47 mile long drivers’ track. I call it a driver’s track because I am positive that you will be smiling all the way around the course, just like I was. In fact, I am smiling just thinking about the course. Located just south of Olympia National Park and not far from Shelton, Washington, this motorsports facility is a reasonable drive from Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia, Canada. About 2 hours from Seattle, 2.5 hours from Portland, 4.5 hours from Vancouver, B.C. (be ready for some heavy traffic), and about 19 hours from MotoIQ’s headquarters. If you are further than a couple of hours away, then you need to plan a road trip and build in some vacation time in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. This track is one that has come up in discussion, since I moved to the west coast, at almost every gathering of track orientated friends that I have – with the consensus being that I had to drive it myself. Searching for opportunities I came across an event hosted by The Speed Syndicate. This is an automotive shop based in Burnaby, B.C. and about five years ago they started hosting track days. It was economics – hosting track days allowed them access to the track and obviously promoted their business also. Win-win.
The venue that TSS works with is The Ridge Motorsports Park. Driving on the road towards the track entrance the first thing that you notice is the motocross course. This AMA sanctioned course is buzzing with flying bikes – if you arrive early enough in the day. Next up is a skid pad where you will pass drivers testing the limits of themselves and their cars as they go through a range of drifting activities. The next eye-catching scene is a go-kart track. I later discovered that this kart track is actually a 1/5th scale version of the road course. This is very cool. Please note – you must be 15 or older to drive the kart track.
Then you see it. The road course … well, not so much the road course but you see the ridge that appears to be a straight drop of fifty to sixty feet (depending upon who you talk to) and you see the forty foot wide track just drop over the edge. It literally looks like it drops off from nowhere. Everyone loves some blind corners but from the entrance level, you simply cannot imagine how the car is going to handle dropping over this embankment. The physical ridge bursts out of the forest and runs east where it appears to soften slightly. After the track drops over the edge, it corkscrews its way around into a very long straight that simply makes your throttle foot want to go. And that is all you can see. Your introduction to The Ridge is complete – a full adrenaline rush in which you must see the rest of the track. To do that you must either drive the track or walk it – I did both. And both made me smile.