Rocky Hi Speedway celebrates 15 years of making memories |

Rocky Hi Speedway celebrates 15 years of making memories

Rocky Hi Speedway owner and operator David Raffaelli checks over the go-karts at his track in Grand Lake.
Lance Maggart /

It has been a full 15 years since New Jersey native David Raffaelli opened Rocky Hi Speedway in Grand Lake and while plenty of things have changed in the picturesque mountain town since that time Raffaelli’s focus on providing a unforgettable experience for the local citizens and visitors remains as strong as ever.

Located off Center Drive and just south of the intersection of Center and West Portal Road, Rocky Hi Speedway is a fun center specializing in mechanical amusements for the whole family. The Speedway offers go-kart racing, bumpers cars and a collection of rental bikes to patrons during the summer tourism season. Rocky Hi Speedway also offers bicycle repair services from tune-ups and flat repairs to something as simple as helping air up a tire. While the business offers multiple services it is the Speedway’s go-karts, and go-kart track, that is the marquee offering.

“It is a unique track,” Raffaelli said. “It is a slick track, so people can drift and slide. For the better drivers we even throw a little water out on the track to make it slicker. You don’t find many slick tracks.”

The bumpers cars at Rocky Hi Speedway offer a different option for younger and shorter patrons, who might not meet the height requirements to drive the go-karts at the Speedway. The go-karts at the Speedway require drivers be at least 56 inches tall. As such some of the younger patrons visiting Rocky Hi Speedway are unable to drive the carts.

“That (bumper cars) is for the kids,” Raffaelli said. “Some come that aren’t big enough to drive a go-karts. But with the bumper cars you only have to be 42 inches tall.”

David Raffaelli waits for customers from inside the office of his Grand Lake business, Rocky Hi Speedway.
Lance Maggart /

Rocky Hi Speedway offers a modest selection of rental bicycles as well including mountain bikes, road bikes and cruiser bikes, all of which come with multiple gears according to Raffaelli. Rental rates are offered at various increments from two to 24 hours. The shop also offers a collection of items folks might need when heading out on a ride such as helmets, tubes, brakes and bells.

Over the Memorial Day weekend Raffaelli passed his official 15th anniversary and as of right now he is charging forward for many years to come. The multi-decade Grand Lake resident talked about how much he relishes his business and the joy he gets from providing patrons will an exhilarating adventure.

Two patrons ride around the go-kart track at Rocky Hi Speedway.
Courtesy photo

“It is a fun business,” Raffaelli said with a slight smile. “The tourists love it. There are a lot of families where this is a tradition. Every summer they come in. I have watched a lot of the kids grow up to the point where they are finally big enough to drive their own go-kart. That is quite a celebration.”

Born and raised just outside of New York in New Jersey Raffaelli worked as a tennis pro in his youth before heading south to Miami Beach. He eventually took to the road and traveled throughout the country before choosing Grand Lake as the place to put down his roots. He has lived in the community for 40 years now.

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