Old San Benito airport could be new home to mud racing

SAN BENITO – Resident Henry Thomae would like to create a legacy here.

He’s finally getting closer.

On Tuesday night, his idea to hold mud racing on a portion of the old San Benito Municipal Airport took a step forward. Following a closed session meeting with San Benito city officials, leaders agreed to meet further with him to discuss his proposal.

“I think we are making progress,” Mayor Celeste Sanchez said at the very end of the meeting to a round of applause from those seemingly in support of the concept.

“I want to give people reason to come to San Benito,” Thomae said. “I am trying to leave a legacy by bringing something to down that is safe and beneficial to everyone.”

The good news for Thomae came weeks after concerns were brought up regarding insurance for the events.

Sanchez suggested any delay has never been about not wanting something like this. Instead, it was about ensuring spectators are safe and the city is not liable in the event of an accident.

Thomae seemingly solved that issue when he presented his most updated plan on Tuesday.

Following a couple months of what he called “homework,” Thomae said he thought he had it all together now.

A mud racer himself, he was involved with the races years back that were run in San Benito.

Now, his hopes include a long-term lease with the city for $750 per month on the property. He said he has created an LLC, called South Texas Racing, and will have $2 million of insurance per event.

That would release the city from any liability if there is an accident or injuries at any of the events held there.

He said he had an architect create a map for the property and it follows Mud Racing Association requirements and standards.

He expects the events would be weekend races and bring people to the area.

That’s one reason why Thomae said he has had the support of the people and businesses in the area, since presenting the idea in April.

He claimed to have 1,000 signatures from community members and that he had received much support from the business community.

“Everybody is for it,” he said.

“It would bring jobs and put San Benito on the map,” he added.

But, nothing is a done deal.

What is mud racing?

Also known as mud bogging, it’s a form of off-road motorsports in which different types and sizes of vehicles drive through a pit of mud or a track of a certain length.

Winners are then determined by the distance traveled through the mud pit or track.