On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, September 14-16, the City of Lancaster hosted the fourth annual Streets of Lancaster Grand Prix race along public streets in Fire Station 33's district. This event took the downtown city streets with a normal posted speed limit of 15 miles per hour and transformed them into a go-cart raceway where speeds of nearly 100 miles per hour were achieved. By closing off Lancaster Boulevard from Sierra Highway to 10th Street West and all cross streets, placing temporary fencing around the entire perimeter of the track and using baled hay and connected plastic safety barriers, both racers and public safety were assured. The Lancaster Fire Prevention Office worked with local officials to make certain that emergency access points were maintained for the dozens of businesses that were almost cut off from emergency vehicular access.
An estimated crowd of 32,000 people attended this event which also included a pit area for the vehicles and RV's, two music stages, a car show, beer gardens, BMX show ramp, fire dancers, food and knick-knack vendors and many other performers. With an afternoon temperature of 100 degrees on Saturday, this event still managed to exceed expectations for attendance. One racer drove from Missouri just to compete in this race which boasted a 1,000-foot long straightaway, the longest in the entire nationwide circuit for these racers.
On Friday, our Department participated in the Guns Verses Hoses race, where our firefighters raced against Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department personnel to defend our three-year winning streak. Our racers included Fire Fighter Specialists Sanford Hofmann and Mike Brown, and Fire Fighters Nick Cunningham and Neal Eggers of Fire Station 33. Unfortunately, the "Hoses Team" came in third place, behind two Sheriff Deputies. On Friday our own "Speed Racer" qualifier for the Mayor's Race Final was none other than local hero and Assistant Fire Chief Gerald Cosey, who put forth a valiant effort. Unfortunately, our Fleet Services Division was not allowed to adjust the race car assigned to Cosey, who despite a great starting location and aggressively pushing the cart to its limit, did not take first place.
Our outreach in events such as this demonstrates to the public that we are an integral part of the community. When the racing firefighter's names were announced there were loud cheers from the crowds in support of our employees. Being out in the community shows our commitment and strength right where we live and serve.