~ by Bob Volpe ~
Last Sunday (January 5), the first official competition of the Harry’s Roamers Ice Races, at Rainbow Falls Mountain Trout Ranch, kicked off.
This is a revered winter tradition that is warmly welcomed by off-road vehicle buffs and Nordic aficionados in Teller and Douglas counties.
Every winter since 1966, motorcycle enthusiasts have gathered north of Woodland Park at Rainbow Falls Mountain Trout Ranch, to race on the ice. This year’s event is the 54th 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.
Adult classifications (15 years or older) are broken down into four categories: Studded tire motorcycle, Bare tire motorcycle, Studded quad and Bare tire quad. For racers less than 14 years of age, there are mini-quad and mini-bike studded and bare tire classifications.
Last year, due to unexpected warm weather, the races had to be canceled. The surface of the lake the races take place on was covered with two inches of water, making the track dangerous and unsuitable for the event.
This year there will be five ice races at Rainbow Falls. The first occurred on January 5. The following races are scheduled for January 12, 19 and 26, with the final race scheduled for February 9.
Days before the event, the track is plowed to remove the insulating layer of snow in order to allow the ice to harden as much as possible.
Winners of the youth and amateur classes take home a trophy. The pro class winners get a cash prize. Prize money is determined by the number of riders who pay their registration fee. Pro riders pay a $40 dollar registration fee, and amateurs pay $30 to register. Minibike riders, which are the young boys and girls, pay $15 to register. The cash prize is generally in the neighborhood of $100-$150.
Gates open at 6 a.m. on Sunday, sign up begins at 6 a.m., practice begins at 7:30 a.m., and the races start at 9 a.m.
There is a $10 fee for riders and for spectators who wish to come out to see the races. Children under 12 are admitted free and must be accompanied by an adult.
No alcohol or drugs are allowed on Rainbow Falls property.
This year they will have a food truck on-site to feed the hungry racers and spectators.