The Ridge Motorsports Park: Hosted by The Speed Syndicate
Not one. Not Two. There were three red NSX’s at this track day. One without a wing. The other two both had wings and were distinguished by the wheels! Photo Credit: Andy Roulston.

The Ridge Motorsport Park road course was designed by Steve Crawford. He also designed Thunderhill and the new track at the National Corvette Museum. This 16 corner track with multiple blind corners and elevation changes throughout the course as the track follows the contours of the land is simply exquisite. The way the track flows absolutely inspire a driver. The front straight makes you wish for another gear and even more horsepower. Respect is demanded at the braking zones and the corners with substantial run-off room built in. Because we all know that incidents will happen. The course has a number of high-speed sweepers that mesh perfectly with the straights. Then there is Turn 13; aka the corkscrew. From the bottom, it looks incredible. Walking the course at first you literally cannot see 13 from 12 because of a small crown in the straight. Then the first time driving through I would guess that the most common reaction is ‘Cool, but not as fun as I thought’. That is because the first few times you simply are not doing it right. Then you start hitting it with some speed and, while it is likely different than what you first imagined, it does add an exhilarating aspect to the track. The corners invite the racer to push into them. The blind corners demand that you trust that God did not change anything since you last came through the corner. The forty foot wide track encourages you to use up all of it. As you have likely already noticed from looking at the track map, The Ridge runs counter-clockwise like most oval tracks. It seems to me that a majority of road courses run in a clockwise fashion but I will look forward to your responses and input about that in the comment section. Counter-clockwise includes Area 27 in the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. Crawford’s Thunderhill Raceway can be run either direction but I believe counter-clockwise is the most common for that track. Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Watkins Glen, Calabogie, Buttonwillow to name a few are all clockwise. Back to the Ridge Motorsport Park, this track is 2.47 miles of pure enjoyment. (A bit of trivia: the common thought that clockwise versus counter-clockwise stems from the American revolution and wanting to be different from the British is a misperception. There are both right-hand turn and left-hand turn tracks in Britain and have been for centuries. Obviously, horse racing and not auto racing.)

Civic RMP
This Civic was absolutely incredible out on the track. Stay tuned because I guarantee that there will be an article about this incredibly fast ‘Budget Track Car’ in the not too distant future. Here it is coming through what is obviously a photographer’s dream corner, Turn 13. This corner is also unofficially known as the Corkscrew. Photo Credit: Andy Roulston.

The Ridge Motorsport Park began breaking ground around 2010 but has really only been in operation for about four years since 2014. Unlike Area 27 and VIMC (I have to get to the Island and check this track out) in British Columbia which are membership tracks, The Ridge follows the model of another one of my favorite tracks, Calabogie Motorsports Park near Ottawa, in that it is privately owned. This private ownership model is a rare model for new tracks in North America. Partners Joe Manke and Rusty Gill have a vision for the track. This includes a 9200 square foot two-story Performance Centre. This facility will greatly enhance the track experience as it will house the business but also offer a cafe, banquet facilities, and a training room. Eric Schmitt, the director of operations, gave me a tour of the track and facilities. There has been a change of partners from when ground was first broken, with this new partnership having a shared vision and a strong foundation. The track, the kart track, and the motocross course certainly make The Ridge Motorsports Park a must visit location for auto enthusiasts.

I attended a track day at The Ridge organized by The Speed Syndicate. TSS is a Canadian group (Burnaby, B.C.) and they were host to both Canadian and American track enthusiasts. There were three groups. I really liked that the organizer, Kalson, had all drivers check in with him after their run. This was a great way to ensure that the day proceeded smoothly. Forgot to check in? Then you don’t get your track ticket and will miss out on your session. Photo Credit: Andy Roulston.

The morning driver’s meeting with TSS was led by Kalson – he also did the majority of communication leading up to this event. Kalson was backed up by a large support team that included The Speed Syndicate principals Curtis and Alex. Also trackside were an ambulance, paramedics, and a flatbed. These are supports that should be at every track event. August 26th was my first day at The Ridge and also my first time meeting the crew from The Speed Syndicate. I signed up for this event through just like you would. Based upon my experience at other tracks I signed up for A group, the advanced group. After going through the usual instructions for drivers, Kalson introduced a new concept for me. Driver’s had to check in with him after their session – and get any necessary feedback that the marshals or other driver’s had shared. Miss that check-in and you also missed getting a plastic token which was required as a key to get out to your next track session. This is a really great idea as it ensures that feedback is happening in a timely manner. This driver’s meeting also shared that all drivers new to TSS and The Ridge must have a ride along and start in the introductory group. This was absolutely fine by me. As a track day organizer, I have done something similar. As a driver, I always appreciate the opportunity to glean experience from someone who knows the track and can assist me in getting up to speed quickly.

Matt's Miata
Matt rode along with me to ensure that I could drive and that both myself and my car were ready for the group that I claimed I was prepared for. TSS had a number of instructors on hand. They weren’t providing a school, the instructors were merely ensuring that the driver was prepared for the event.


  1. I disagree about turn 1 not terrifying you… its easily the most butt puckering corner on the track. Assuming you’re running at least 200tw tires, you should be doing at least low 90’s (mph) at the apex of T1 and then hard on the brakes to scrub off about 25 mph in that tiny little space between T1 and T2 where your car never really straightens out… that and a coworker of mine rolled his car there (caged race car, he’s ok), so that adds to the pucker…

    and holy balls! I never realized your GTi-R was this fast… 130 on the front straight takes a pretty good amount of shove, I’m only doing 114-116… usually closer to the 114 😀

    you should also check out Pacific Raceways if you plan on coming out to the area for track days again, its about 1-2 hours (depending on time of day and traffic) closer if you’re coming from Canada… in my opinion its more fun than RMP and possibly has even more elevation change, but its a lot less forgiving in the run off department. Rumor has it Phil Hill once called it the “mini Green Hell”… I used to think it was locals trying to make a claim to being as cool as a world famous track, but after driving it I realized its much more about the green forest surroundings and lack of runoff areas. But its a fun track and the scenery is great!

  2. Hi Bob, the Budget Track Car Civic is doing at least 2:03’s. Maybe even hitting the :02’s. It’s an awesome little car. There’s no intercooler there (yet). I promise there will be more details coming.

    I don’t want to discredit the speed of Turn 1 or the challenge of the 1 – 2 combination. That is what makes it so beautiful – the combination of speed, danger, and joy. My track time since coming west has been limited and I haven’t run a really high speed corner since being in the east. As a result, for me turn 1 at the Ridge was simply to die for. The NX GTi-R was also really well planted through 1 which possibly caused me to downplay the risks of any type of corner at those speeds. That is in comparison to turn 8 at Mosport where, at similar speeds, braking after the crest at the back straight and before the 3 digit apex speed of 8 the rear of my NX was dancing all over the place and truly making me realize that some aero would be a tremendous advantage. I haven’t looked at the data to see what my turn 1 speed were but I have no doubt that it was as you indicate, 90mph+.

    There are absolutely more tracks in Washington and Oregon that I hope to visit. I’ll look forward to seeing you!

    1. Oh I’m definitely not saying its a bad corner or anything, just that I disagree with you “not terrifying” comment about it… another thing that just hit me is that you hitting 130 on the straight, makes the brake zone before T1 an actual brake zone, which prolly does a lot for “deterrifying” T1… for me its full throttle to about halfway between the last orange cone and the yellow turn in cone, quick stab of the brakes and turn in…

      well if a “budget track car” article threshold is a 2:03, you should do an article on my Miata… my best lap there is a 2:01.48 and thats with only 150whp… and going off the fact that the Civic has a K20 in it, my car is definitely more budget too. Thats on Hankook RS4 tires, I just got some R888R’s and hoping to break the 2 min barrier, hopefully the weather behaves next week! then again, my car is pretty basic, it’d be kind of a boring article 😀

  3. Great comments, Bob. No problem at all. I’ve driven a Miata in both Time Attack and ChumpCar and love the car and chassis. I don’t doubt that there is a story there. I’ve said before that my articles are usually about cars, events, things that I really find interesting. It doesn’t need to be an exotic build. Of course, it needs to be easy for me to access too.

    Both the Budget Civic and my Nissan are capable of better times. Both drivers need more seat time. I’ll look forward to hearing that you’ve set your new personal best and broken the 2 min barrier.

    There are lots of forum discussions about the challenge of driving a momentum car versus the challenge of driving a HP car. They both have there high points and lows. Usually at very opposite spots on the track. You are correct that 1 is a braking corner for a HP car. The challenge is to not overbrake and lose time as a result.

    1. yeah, momentum cars and HP cars are definitely different to drive.

      my car is definitely not article worthy, its just a really basic coilovers/brakes/exhaust NC. If you are interested in writing an article about a local car, there’s a build getting wrapped up on an NC with an EFR turbo on a 2.5 swap with a dry sump. that car will be worth writing an article about… basically what my car wants to be when it grows up, haha

  4. Here is a few 1:50 laps in traffic on chorded hoosiers. Not my best laps but the only ones with limited traffic. T1 in other laps was over 100 when i didnt have traffic in front. I think 1:45s are doable if i went back with new tires.

    1. well yeah, Hoosiers certainly change things for the T1-2 section.. in addition to being able to carry more speed you also don’t have to slow down as much for T2 going up hill. And Hoosiers handle combined g forces much better than mere mortal tires, meaning you can turn and brake much harder… or turn and accelerate.. with mere mortal tires you can’t combine those 2 jobs as much as you can with Hoosiers.

      But great driving!

      1. Hoosiers are the best way to mask bad driving habits lol. This was my dads car, my normal track car is a 2004 gto (pig) kn 200tw tires, its a workout and you have to use all driving skills to get it to do what you want. I know what you mean exactly, it kind of makes it fun

        1. yeah, so far I’ve only been on ride along’s on hoosiers… I wanna try them but they’re really pricey! the first time I experienced them my mind was kinda blown…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *