By Beth Dodd (Related Front Page Story)
What were several hundred people doing outside at a frozen lake on a Sunday in January when they could have been home watching the Broncos play-off game? They were enjoying the annual Harry’s Roamers Motorcycle Club ice races at Rainbow Falls Mountain Trout Park.
Every winter since 1966, motorcycle enthusiasts have gathered north of Woodland Park to race on the ice. This year’s event is the 48th annual Colorado State Championships Ice Racing Series. It features the state’s fastest professional and amateur racers on motorcycles, quads, mini bikes, and speedway bikes with or without studded tires in events throughout the day. The racers include adults and children, and guys and gals.
The second set of races in the 2014 series on January 12 started with sunshine, but soon the temperature dropped and a squall of snow blew in. In spite of the nasty turn in the weather, cars were parked bumper to bumper along the dirt road beside the frozen lake. People gathered on the ice and lined the fence with their kids and dogs to watch the action.
The sound of roaring motors filled the air as the racers sought to reach maximum speed while negotiating the turns and keeping under control on the slick surface. Depending on the event, the course across the ice is either a standard oval or a straight-away followed by a series of switchbacks.
The event draws competitors and fans from across the state, such as business owner Jason Knipp of Silverthorne who came with his wife Deanna Knipp and their sons Axel, age 3, and Cru, age 18 months. Knipp competed in two classes at the January 12 event, Open A Studded Bike and 0-300 Studded Bike.
“I race in all types of motorcycle races, but this is the most fun,” he claimed. Knipp is originally from Michigan, where ice racing is a popular sport.
His wife Deanna agreed. “This is a fun family activity. Our son Axel pretends he is on the pit crew, fixing the bikes,” she said. Mrs. Knipp has recently become a rider herself after receiving a dirt bike as a Mother’s Day gift last year.
Harry’s Roamers Motorcycle Club of Denver, the organizer of the Rainbow Falls event, is the oldest active American Motorcyclist Association chartered riding club in Colorado. Harry Tagaris and a group of his riding buddies founded Harrys’ Roamers in 1929 and became an official AMA club in 1933. They are a nonprofit dedicated to promoting the sport of motorcycling. In addition to ice racing, the club promotes regional vintage motorcycle races and half mile races each year. Other events are just for fun, like their Turkey Run, a road ride each November. Club members ride all brands and types of motorcycles.
If you would like to watch or participate in this year’s races, there are still three days of racing left in 2014 on January 19, 26, and February 9. To reach Rainbow Falls Mountain Trout Park head north out of Woodland Park on State Hwy 67. 12 miles out, look for the first right hand turn after crossing the Douglas county line and then turn left at the fork. Admission is $10. For more information, visit www.harrysroamersmc.com.