RIVERSIDE (CBS) — A local family has made their dreams come true, turning their passion for go-karts and cars into a full-blown legacy.
For more than a half century, one African-American family has blazed a trail in the field of motor racing. Their track, the Adams Motorsport Park, in Riverside has long been the hangout for fans to come and feel the action and speed of racing.
“It’s been a lot of work and it’s been rough, but like anything else. If you want something you got work at it and if you want it hard enough, you just got to work at it a little harder,” said Tim Adams.
Believe it or not the family’s race track business began with a Christmas gift more than 50 years ago. This tight-knit family of 11 got together to give their niece and two nephews a go-kart.
“We were all excited and they took it outside and started riding it around my mother’s house. And finally, one of the kids almost hit the house,” Helen Adams recalled.
Seeing one of her grandkids almost getting hurt was enough for Mary Adams, but with 14 acres of land, she immediately knew what to do.
“She came out there and says, ‘down on the hill, you will not drive around here no more. You get down there in that field,’” Helen said.
Since their father, Frank Adams, was a farmer, the kids had plenty of experience in plowing fields to raise crops, so they had no problem cutting out a dirt track. Once it was laid out, the fun began
“We would ride cars until dark. It was a dirt track. We didn’t wear helmets, no goggles and about the time we got to the house our teeth was full of dirt,” Jerome “Jerry” Adams said.
Soon people from all over were coming to the track to race their go-karts. In a year’s time the Adams had not only expanded the track, putting asphalt down, but suddenly they had business – one that somehow defied the racial unrest of the early 60’s.
“In ’62 we put in for the grand nationals and we told them, if you give us this big race, we will add more track. So they gave us the race and ran the grand national,” Jerome said.
Kart racing at the Adams’ track was color blind. People from all walks of life just loved it.
“There were people that called my mom, ‘mom’ and my dad, ‘dad.’ They wanted to be at the house after the race to continue to talk racing. Racing is an exciting sport,” Eunice Adams said.
Racing for the Adams family is truly a family business. Even today, it is still running strong with the family’s third and fourth generation, evolving, growing and changing with the times.
“Now that I’m older and my kids are old enough to enjoy it, I get a chance to work with generations after generations. It feels good,” Timel Adams said.
“Expansion is everything. With where the market is today, you have to continue to diversify and that’s what we’ve been able to do over the last years. Our karting market is extremely strong and we’ve developed racers, not just for go-karts, but NASCAR, IRL, off road. Now what we’ve had today with the drifting, it is a part of a new culture we’re bringing to the Inland Empire.”
For the Adams family, this business is for life.
“It’s part of our life, something that I love. I’m 74-years old and I’m still coming down here. I love the track,” Jerome said.