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The Villages
Friday, June 9, 2023

Sumter County takes emergency action to try to halt noisy motor cross track racing

In an effort to halt illegal motor cross racing at a Center Hill farm, Sumter County has filed an emergency circuit court motion for a temporary injunction.

Filed March 16 by County Attorney Jennifer Rey, the motion seeks court relief to stop daily motor cross racing that has continued at the Rattray farm on County Road 702 despite denial of a permit last October.

Rey told commissioners Tuesday night that a hearing is scheduled for April 19.

Tyla Rattray, a former professional motor cross racer from South Africa who trains other racers, was granted a special use permit, but it was revoked last May due to numerous violations.

Tyla Ratta
Tyla Rattray is a former professional motor cross racer.

After the revocation, neighbors complained that the racing continued. Rattray was cited for code violations and levied a fine.

A special use permit request to reopen the track was denied again in October after attorneys for both sides sparred at a county meeting.

At that time, Rattray said the track was used by invitation only and limited to six riders at a time. Neighbors complained about dust and noise.

Commissioner Andrew Bilardello said he recently visited the area and spoke with residents. One resident told him that his wife works nights and is unable to sleep during the day because of the noise.

“Everywhere I went, all I could hear was motorcycles,” he said. “I can’t wait to give these people some relief and put this issue to bed.”

The county’s motion seeks damages as well as reimbursement of code enforcement costs and attorney’s fees.

An enforcement order last Nov. 7 gave Rattray until Dec. 26 to bring the farm into code compliance. A subsequent inspection found that motor cross racing continued and the zoning special master found Rattray in violation.

“Defendants’ conduct to date shows a consistent pattern of flagrant disregard for compliance with the Sumter County Land Development Code such that the unpermitted motor cross activity continues to occur on the property on a daily basis,” the county’s court filing stated.

Central Florida is a mecca for motor cross riders and another track, Baker’s Factory, where professional riders train, is nearby.


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