ADREN­A­LINE RUSH

FLORIDA TRACKS & TRAILS

Gulf & Main - - News - BY J. J. BRIT O

The beauty of Florida Tracks & Trails is that ex­treme sport junkies can not only get their fix, but we mere mor­tals can play, too.

Lo­cated in Punta Gorda, this ex­hil­a­rat­ing and mas­sive 1,000-acre venue is about buzzing en­ergy with spe­cific ar­eas des­ig­nated for mo­tocross and ATV rid­ing, paint­balling, a planned zip-lin­ing course and music fes­ti­vals. Heck, the place even has a 12-acre wa­ter fea­ture with white sand and crisp, clear wa­ter.

Here’s our Florida Tracks & Trails be­gin­ner’s guide:

TRACKS Built by Dream Traxx, this Amer­i­can Mo­tor­cy­clist As­so­ci­a­tion-sanc­tioned fa­cil­ity of­fers a pro track for hard-core rip­pers, an ama­teur track to boost your game, and a be­gin­ner’s track for those just get­ting into the MX scene. There’s also a pee-wee track for young­sters groov­ing on smaller equip­ment.

FTT pro­vides MX train­ing, an ATV/UTV fam­ily track, and a mud track tar­get­ing ATV/UTV rid­ers. A Mo­tor­sports Pro Shop has sup­plies and equip­ment, in­clud­ing a rental fleet.

J.T. Lib­erty, owner of Lee County Black Smoke, a Florid­abased events firm, ap­pre­ci­ates the scope of the FTT play­ing field and has drag-racing events lined up through­out 2017. “It’s a one-of-a-kind fa­cil­ity,” he says, “and one of the na­tion’s largest out­door mo­tor­sports are­nas.”

EX­TREME MO­TOR­SPORTS While colos­sal tires grind through heavy dirt, and driv­ers rip along aided by metal mus­cle, ex­treme mo­tor­sports and the Mega Truck Se­ries fire se­ri­ous ex­cite­ment in South­west Florida. Steve Gorr, owner of the mega truck Kill Shot, and driver Chris Libak head the for­mi­da­ble team that left Libak as the 2016 Mega Truck Se­ries cham­pion. Gorr loves to com­pete at Florida Tracks & Trails. “It’s nice be­cause it’s like our home­town crowd,” he says,

“and while we do a lot of drag­ging, [FTT] also has some of the big­gest jumps we’ve ever done.” Although a lot of these rac­ers are friends, they all want to win― it’s the com­petive­ness that mo­ti­vates these crews to keep their ve­hi­cles fit and amped for in­tense ac­tion.

TRAILS What­ever your trail-rid­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, you’ll feel the thrill of nav­i­gat­ing through 22-plus miles of gen­uine Florida coun­try. Watch out for wild beasts as you work through the back­woods with the throt­tle cranked, or just cruise at your fa­vorite pace. It’s yet another fun, all-lev­els zone for ev­ery­one in your tribe.

PAINT­BALL Eighty-plus acres of sce­nar­ios and speed­ball fields cre­ate the ul­ti­mate set­ting to psych you up for the show­down. New­bies are en­cour­aged to charge into bat­tle, and vets will feel at home among fel­low troupers. Year-round events are held; late Jan­uary kicks off with a Dreaded Leg­ends tour­na­ment. There is an on­site sup­ply shop for pur­chas­ing paint (manda­tory).

ENTERTAINMENT Fifty-six acres are re­served for all oc­ca­sions. You can book space to get hitched; see some fa­mil­iar, if not ripen­ing, faces at a reunion; throw the bash of the decade cel­e­brat­ing the won­der­ful day you were born, or rock out with your fa­vorite mu­si­cians at a venue fit to ri­val Wood­stock. En­ter­tain­ers such as Reba McEntire have ap­peared at this very spot. Ad­mis­sion fees ap­ply.

ZIP-LINE If you’re at least 8 years old and a bit smaller than the av­er­age NFL line­backer, you can get that high-fly­ing feel­ing amid the pines. With acres upon acres of zip­ping set to soar into ac­tion in 2017, this at­trac­tion will add a new di­men­sion for those ea­ger to do some sight­see­ing, eco-style. You’re har­nessed for safety, it’s not too dif­fi­cult to man­age, and zip-lin­ing is wildly pop­u­lar in Florida.

THE BEACH Here you can pull up with the fam­ily to set up camp, mak­ing a re­lax­ing home base. While the kids are frol­ick­ing in shark-free wa­ters, you can prop up grandma’s fa­vorite chair un­der a palm so she can take plea­sure in the view, or she can visit a beach tiki bar while you ef­fort­lessly tra­verse and ex­plore this unique ad­ven­ture park to your heart’s de­sire.

Check the Florida Tracks & Trails Face­book or web­site for more in­for­ma­tion, videos and up­com­ing events.

Florida Tracks & Trails is near State Road 31 in Punta Gorda. The grounds hold up to 20,000 vis­i­tors for spe­cial events.

Ex­treme mo­tor­sports and the Mega Truck Se­ries fire se­ri­ous ex­cite­ment in South­west Florida. Pic­tured are driv­ers Chris Libak and Craig Gra­ham (left in­set) and Steven Gorr (right in­set).

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