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The Villages
Monday, May 30, 2022

Sumter Commission slams brakes on former professional motocross racer’s ‘private’ track

Tyla Ratta
Tyla Rattray is a former professional motocross racer.

The Sumter County Commission has slammed the brakes on a former professional motocross racer’s “private” track that has neighbors up in arms.

Tyla Rattray, a former South African motocross racer who trains other racers, had been granted a special use permit to operate a private motocross track on 52 acres in the Center Hill area. However, due to numerous violations, the county revoked the permit.

Rattray took his appeal of the revocation before the commission Tuesday night at the Everglades Recreation Center in The Villages. When he spoke from the podium, Rattray portrayed his motocross track as reserved for friends and family and claimed he has been a caring and cooperative neighbor.

Residents of the area said that Rattray has abused the “friends and family” pitch he made to secure the special use permit. They alleged he is running a for-profit business.

The neighbors likened the noise from the motocross bikes as the equivalent of “six chainsaws running.”

Myra Scott teared up when she went to the podium to describe how the loud noise has ruined the retirement of she and her husband, who are raising cows on their adjacent property. She described the revving of the engines for hours on end as unbearable.

Commissioner Doug Gilpin took issue with Rattray’s portrayal of himself as a caring respectful neighbor.

“It’s one thing to say you ‘respected, respected, respected.’ But you’ve disrespected the people, the county and the permit,” Gilpin said.

The commissioners unanimously agreed to uphold county staff’s decision to revoke Rattray’s special use permit. That clearly angered Rattray, who won the FIM MX2 world championship in 2008.

He threatened that without the special use permit he could do as he wished on his private property. He implied that it would be difficult for the sheriff’s office to enforce a noise ordinance with regard to his private property.

“I tried to work with you,” he said before walking out of the meeting.

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