Google, eBay, Cisco and Apple are some of the names that come to mind when most think about the Silicon Valley. An area known for it’s technological innovation, most motocross riders and fans would look past this area of Northern California as a riding destination. In the heart of San Jose’s concrete jungle lies a small motocross oasis: 408MX.
The Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, located in San Jose, has a rich history of motorsports. Being the home to some of the biggest flat track races in the nation, the San Jose Mile was a big name in racing circles until the legendary stadium was demolished. Years later, the fairgrounds had built a motocross track where the stadium once resided.
Known for it’s tight and sometimes-dangerous obstacles, intimidating level of competition and loose leadership, the track never lived up to it’s potential as a famed Nor-Cal track. After realizing the issues, local motocross rider Ralph Davis decided to take action, and in 2009, 408MX became official.
“We need somewhere to ride. There is nowhere to ride,” says Davis when asked about his motivation to take over the track. “I watched as a kid all kinds of tracks close around me.” Davis’ passion to ride motivated him to drop everything in his life, take over the track and create the community that 408MX is today.
Coming to a new track can be intimidating for the average rider. Almost every track can be considered “another high school.” Clicks are bound to happen, but Davis pushes to eliminate the trend by providing community events for the riders.
Events like Super Sunday and the Red Bull Ride Day have brought riders from all over Northern California to interact and connect with the common passion for the sport. No matter the skill level, beginner to pro, all riders can hang out together and share stories, relax and most importantly have fun through motocross. But it is not just the community feel that keeps enthusiasts coming back to 408MX.
With the help of Jonathan Valdez and one of California’s most promising up-and-coming track builders Sal Cricchio Jr., Ralph Davis has managed to create one of the premiere tracks in California.
“Built for riders by riders” is the theory of the 408MX crew, and is extremely evident every time a rider rolls onto the track. From the perfectly tilled and watered loamy dirt (very rare in California), to the perfection in the jumps and corners, the 408MX crew puts in an excessive amount of attention to detail and pride in their work.
“We build the track to please everyone from minis to vets to professionals,” says track builder/designer Cricchio. “The layout is challenging, yet fun and safe. We are constantly making small changes to the track to keep the riders progressing. 408MX has built a reputation on a perfect and fun track, which has brought many top professionals and amateurs to race the growing track.
Davis sees the importance in fun with racing, and building up confidence in riders of all skill levels. The Saturday Night Summer Series has become a staple for 408MX. Hole-shot awards, fair competition and the chance to stand on a real podium are just some of the reasons that attract racers of all ages and levels to the track.
Behind every track there is a huge support group. MxClinic, Fox Racing, SCS Wraps, Shift, SVM, TRS Consulting, GP Sports, DirtTech and Red Bull have all been huge supporters of 408MX; but the reality is there would not be a 408MX without the support of the riders.
“It’s really cool to see all the hard work be appreciated by riders,” says Cricchio in regard to the success of the track.
With the continued support of the local motocross community and beyond, the future looks bright for 408MX. Free Red Bull Ride Days, racing and track perfection are in store for riders in the upcoming years in San Jose’s best kept secret: 408MX.
Video by Kevin Lavoie