15 January 2013

Ice Racing!!!

I had never even heard of motorcycle ice racing until a couple of years ago. Charlie Dallas, one of our props carpenters at the shop (Buell, AJS, 1976 Honda CB200) has been trying to get to the races for years, and each year I have thought I might go. This year, I finally went. I'm pretty sure the temps never made it out of the teens, and we were standing on a frozen lake, but we had a blast!

Gorgeous blue sky made up for the fact that it was freezing. Once the sun went behind the mountain though, it got cold. Quickly!

We headed south to Rainbow Falls and the Harry's Roamers Motorcycle Ice Races, but none of us really thought about how long it would take. It is off Hwy 67, just north of Woodland Park. It was almost 11am when we arrived, and we thought we might have missed a lot of it. There was so much more to come.

Motorcycles, trikes, and quads all race in their own classes, and there are bare tire and studded tire classes. The quads and trikes were fun to watch slide around the track, but I thought the real fun was the two-wheeled races. Duh.

Studded tire class. Long low fenders prevent ice chips from flying dangerously.
Studded tires on a stadium bike

The studded tire races were pretty incredible. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but this wasn't it. They were riding on ice and HAULING ASS around the track, taking the turns at insane lean angles. After reading some posts on ADV Rider, I expected a lot more riders to be wiping out. Those instances were actually pretty rare.

First rule of ice racing on two wheels--the left foot always stays down
Bummer dude

The bare tire races were my favorite. They were a little slower, and riders stayed nearly vertical, but there was a constant worry about whether they would stay upright or not. The amateur class only had three riders, but two out of the three were women, and a woman won!

The amateur beginners' class the two far riders are women.
Siped bare tires. I'm sure it helps, but it was still iffy out there.

The variety of motorbikes out on the ice was impressive. Professional racers on high dollar bikes were in the pits next to beater, late model trail bikes. I saw one Harley Sportster, and there were four or five stadium bikes. The stadium bikes were especially fun to watch. The back ends would swing forward in the curves so the riders were basically sliding through the curves sideways. There was one class of bikes with single wheel outriggers, and the children's class of motorcycles had several little ones riding with two-wheeled outriggers. The kids on the bikes were so cute!

The stadium bikes were awesome
Trail/dirt bikes were the most common

The best race of the day involved riders starting on foot. They had to run around a smaller track in the infield, then head to their bike which was being held up by a friend. They would then jump on, start the bike, and take off. The field of competitors was huge and they must have run close to twenty laps, but watching them run/slide/eat it on the way to the bikes was hilarious.

I have found what I will be doing next winter. Beginner bare tire class, you better look out! Whatever trail bike I pick up this year will become an ice racer next January. Fun all year 'round!