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Bike racing proposed for EPCAL runways in 2021

A Riverhead man with a passion for bike racing is hoping to start a series of bicycle races on the runways at the Enterprise Park at Calverton in 2021.

“I am seeking a permit and permission to hold a series of weekly amateur bicycle races on the Calverton Executive Airfield during the summer of 2021,” said Alex Barouh at Thursday’s Town Board work session. 

“The permit would request access to the airfield runway and taxiway for a period of three hours from 6-9 p.m.”

The town has been in the process of trying to sell more than 1,000 acres at EPCAL for the past few years, but has been stalled in the subdivision process.

Mr. Barouh — who’s coached youth cycling programs and organized large high-level sporting events in Brooklyn, Barcelona and Milan — said the races would be similar in style and attendance to the long running, but recently canceled Kreb Cycle Bike Shop race, held weekly at the Suffolk County Community College campus. 

Similar bicycle races have also been successfully held on vacant airfields such as Brooklyn’s Floyd Bennett Field, he said. 

Mr. Barouh’s proposal calls for a bike race every Friday from June 18 to Aug. 27 in 2021, beginning at 6:30 p.m. in June and July and at 6 p.m. in August.

The races would not be held on the popular bike trail at EPCAL, and there would be no need to close that trail during the races, Mr. Barouh said.

The races would take place on either the eastern or western runway and taxiway, with the actual racing circuit being delineated using traffic cones. The total length of a lap would be approximately 2.8 miles with athletes completing multiple laps of the circuit, Mr. Barouh said. 

Councilwoman Jodi Giglio said that both the east and west runways at EPCAL are currently being leased.

“I don’t know how that would work with the lessee’s that we have,” she said. 

She suggested Mr. Barouh appear before the town’s Alternative Transportation committee to discuss possible locations for the races. 

“We’ve had other venues that wanted to use the runway for certain things, and we need to be consistent with what we allow,” she said. 

Liability to the town is also a concern, she said, given the conditions of the runways and taxiways at EPCAL. 

“I understand,” Ms. Barouh said. “I’m very flexible, and I’m willing to meet and discuss it more. It’s a grassroots effort that will have no more than 30 to 40 participants and spectators in the first year. I’m just happy to get the conversation going.”