Ten years in, a racing family grows at rural Lonetree Creek Race Park – Mitchell Republic

SCOTLAND, SD — Ten years ago, Christian and Eric Sorlien began working on a shared vision — a dirt race track in their hometown of Scotland — on their family’s land.

Now, their vision has become a reality, as Lonetree Race Park has entered its 10th year of operation and has become a standout among race tracks in South Dakota for motorbikes, quads and UTVs.

In May, the quarter-mile dirt track played host to the Midwest Extreme Dirt Track Nationals, as some of the best of the best of dirt track racing in the circuit made their way to rural Hutchinson County to compete.

According to the Sorlien brothers, the family has built a community that is very supportive of their work, akin to a racing family. The track is located 3 miles northwest of the Hutchinson County seat of Olivet and about 8 miles north of Scotland.

“We are a family run race track, and we do a good job of what we do,” Christian said. “For a track that has only been open for ten years getting to host its first Nationals? We are proud of that.”

070222.N.DR.LONETREE3.JPG

Lonetree Creek has a pair of tracks on its Hutchinson County property, with a quarter-mile dirt oval and a half-mile road course.

Erik Kaufman / Mitchell Republic

The idea to build the track came from Eric Sorlien, who always wanted to do something special on the family’s property. Once he was able to get his family’s blessing, the process of turning a former bean field into a dirt track was started.

Christian helped his brother as they shaped the new track to their liking. For the Sorliens, two things were most important; safety and speed.

“We have gotten dust control pretty good, and the dirt gets tacky so it’s super fast,” Christian said. “At its best, it’s like a highway.”

Lonetree Creek aerial.jpg

An aerial photo of Lonetree Creek Race Park north of Scotland in rural Hutchinson County.

Courtesy of Lonetree Creek Race Park

Since its opening, Lonetree Creek has been hosting monthly races that include competitive racing for both quads and motorcycles. Racers accumulate points for their placement in races throughout each season, crowning the racer with the most points at the end of the season the racetrack champion. In the 2022 season, the track plans to host seven weekend races throughout the summer months, concluding with races and rain-out dates in September.

Hosting the MWDET Nationals in late May was a big step for Lonetree Creek, and the effort the family has put into the track definitely showed through to those who put on the national races. The circuit has races in Illinois, Wisconsin and Missouri and Lonetree Creek took over the South Dakota race slot this year.

“The guy that runs the nationals told us if we have the track as nice as we had it for the first race, we would be in the running for track of the year,” Christian said.

In recent years, the track has only improved, adding bleachers and putting together concessions and campsites on the farm site. The track has races on July 2, July 30, Aug. 6 and Sept. 3 for the remainder of the year, with youth, amateur and pro classes.

What the Sorliens value most is the community of racers that has been built throughout the past ten years. Being a family run race track, the Sorliens love the fact that families of racers have turned the Scotland race track into their home track and built something that can be shared with others.

“We have families that come up on non-racing days to have birthday parties and events, and we let them do that,” Christian said. “That’s the way it should be.”

070222.N.DR.LONETREE1.JPG

Christian Sorlien, a co-owner at Lonetree Creek Race Park in rural Scotland, says the track draws spectators from around the country.

Erik Kaufman / Mitchell Republic

That racing family truly has an appreciation for what the Sorliens have provided the South Dakota racing community, and in return, they have helped the Sorlien family when tragedy has struck the track and the family.

Christian was one of the many racers that competed on the track, and was pretty successful, even winning the track championship back in 2016.

That all changed in 2017, when Christian was involved in a serious car crash involving a drunk driver that resulted in multiple injuries that required multiple surgeries.

While that essentially ended his racing career, he did not give up his love for the track. Nowadays, keeping the track in pristine condition is his full-time job.

His hard work has not gone unnoticed and the racers have gone out of their way to show their support for the track and the Sorlien family. After multiple surgeries, Christian needs shoes that require a four-inch lift on one side. Those special shoes are not easy to come by, as each pair costs about $400.

After five years and watching his first pair get torn up from repeated use, Christian was in desperate need of a new pair.

“I hadn’t had a new pair in five years, and I had to hold them together with duct tape,” Christian said.

The racetrack and his family decided to run a 50-50 raffle to try to raise the money for a new pair. The drawing was a success, raising around $350 while almost completely covering the cost of a new pair of shoes for Christian.

However, the racers wanted to do more. The winner of the drawing, Sheldon Wenz, was a good friend of Christian’s and knew how much he needed new shoes, so he decided to donate his winnings towards Christian’s shoes as well, allowing him to buy two new pairs of shoes, one pair for work and one everyday pair.

Christian thinks that is emblematic of what makes Lonetree Creek a special place for racers and track runners alike.

“That shows you the racing family I have. They all care,” Christian said.

070222.N.DR.LONETREE6.JPG

Airbrush art by Mickey Harris adorns a trailer at Lonetree Creek Race Park in rural Scotland.

Erik Kaufman / Mitchell Republic

Leave a Comment