*A Requiem for Trackstar
*Burn-Out Fest ’01
by Tony Marx
A Requiem For Trackstar
If you flip back a few pages and look at the inside cover you’ll notice something is different with this issue. Trackstar Motorsports who has consistently run a witty, sometimes poetic, full page add in that space touting their unique line of European and Japanese motorcycles has unexpectedly ceased operations. The Trackstar building, just east of Hiawatha on 32nd, is truly a motorcycle joint with the Motoroil Cafe, Tom the Tailor and Doug Schultz Insurance all housed under the same roof. Even MMM had an office there at one time before moving because Victor couldn’t get any work done, as he’s a sucker for a good BS session. The entryway has enough diamond plate aluminum to make a baby kangaroo feel manly and, until recently, always had a half dozen Ducatis and a Guzzi or two spilling over from the showroom which was integrated nicely with the cafe giving rise to a comment I heard more than once. “Trackstar is great scenery for the Motoroil.” They hosted the post rally parties for the last three Minnesota 1000 events as well as assorted poker runs, open houses and the cafe is still the favorite meeting place for Saturday & Sunday group rides. Until recently Trackstar was also one of MMM’s key supporters.
So, what happened and what now? Rumors have been flying like mad even though anyone who knows anything is smart enough to not be talking. All of the following is based on hearsay and casual observation. All bikes were gone by late August and currently the place is being run with a skeleton crew. The service department is there to wrap up any work that remains and I was told that parts ordered before August 20th would be received normally. I ordered and paid for some stuff after that date and haven’t seen anything yet, though word of mouth is that Trackstar is working to make good on any unfinished business with customers.
The word on the street is that the European marques have been sold or traded to someone interested in opening a place in St. Paul more tightly focused on sexy red Italian bikes kind of like Trackstar was in it’s old location on Cedar Ave. No one has ventured a guess as to the Yamaha rights or the Suzuki brand name that the Hitching Post stores fought so hard to keep Trackstar from selling. Some say that the winters were tough and the shop stayed too true to it’s original purpose of dealing with motorcycles. Surely everyone in town has heard of that ST4 frame swapping fiasco. I’ve even heard a few people floating a conspiracy theory saying that there were no real money problems and that certain people behind the scenes just wanted something different in a motorcycle shop. Again, the only people who really know anything are not talking.
With the motorcycle shop gone and with no concrete answers to be had the building’s future is up in the air and so is the future of the businesses that remain there. The Motoroil Cafe is owned and operated completely independent of Trackstar and has no plans to close or relocate though, as I wrote earlier, the cycle shop and cafe operated beautifully together and unless another dealer moves in to the space right away it may be hard for the cafe to recover from what was already a hard summer due to the road construction right outside their front door. If you like the Motoroil Cafe then stop by and show your support. There’s plenty of parking, Speedvision is still on the TV, and despite the lack of the sound of big twins being fired up in the service department there’s still lots of bikes to be seen from the deck and you can still pull block long wheelies down Snelling without any hassle.
Tom the Tailor, on the other hand, is taking the opposite approach and will not stay in the building unless a new dealer (did I hear BMW?) moves in very soon. At the end of September he will be moving his leather business to a new shop set up at his home address just west of 280 on Como Ave. He will have the same phone number, his work will still be top notch, and he will still have that freaky three-armed lab coat around somewhere.
Regardless of the way things are now, Trackstar Motorsports is the entity that went in there, laid down the diamond plate aluminum, and got the whole complex going and should be remembered not for it’s hasty retreat from the scene but for creating and supporting a good part of it.
Burn-Out Fest ’01
Every year Roy’s Repair hosts an open house in the beginning of October. It’s billed as an open house though I’ll bet most folks don’t ever get inside to check the place out. Instead they do as I did last year and stand on the curb slack jawed and in awe as people vaporize rear tires in every maniacal way imaginable. Hundreds of people line the street, which is unofficially blocked off for the event and gaze at the huge array of bikes and the nuts on the street performing for the smoke hungry crowd. It’s pure mayhem and a must see event on the Minnesota motorcycle calendar and it’s on the first Sunday of October, the 7th, contact the shop for details. Roy’s Repair is located at 3232 Snelling Ave within walking distance from the Motoroil Cafe.