Mike Andrews flies high above the Stokes Gulch Motocross Track last week. Andrews and Eric Lodwick helped redesign the course this spring, and local motocross enthusiasts have been quick to take advantage. A season pass is available from the Hayden City Hall for $50.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Mike Andrews flies high above the Stokes Gulch Motocross Track last week. Andrews and Eric Lodwick helped redesign the course this spring, and local motocross enthusiasts have been quick to take advantage. A season pass is available from the Hayden City Hall for $50.

Motocross taking off in Hayden

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Interested riders can get a membership for the track at the Hayden Town Hall for $50 per rider. A family pass is available for $110.

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Thedo Remmelink leads the way in front of a pack of riders last week at the Stokes Gulch Motocross Track in Hayden.

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Richard Hallenbeck catches air last week at the Stokes Gulch Motocross Track in Hayden.

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Thedo Remmelink swings around a corner at the Stokes Gulch Motocross Track in Hayden.

— The Stokes Gulch Motocross Track is hidden from Hayden. It sits tucked behind a bluff and underneath a hill, exposed only to a passing road. Routt County Road 53 is paved, but traffic is light — it’s not on the way to anywhere but home for many of its commuters.

There can be a rush hour, however. The traffic comes after people get off work or out of school, rumbling pickups pulling groaning trailers, and then the quiet, bird-chirping evening is overtaken quickly by the ripping of dirt bike engines.

The track has come to life and gone again several times during its history, but it’s alive now, and it’s a magnet for local riders eager to fly high on its jumps, turn tight on its dirt corners and relish the simple fact that it exists.

The track came to be about eight years ago, built initially with the city’s permission by a small group of high school students. It fell into disrepair after the teens left until a group including Mike Andrews took over and made some repairs.

Andrews came back into the picture this year after the track again slipped toward dilapidation. He was spurred on by Corey Hunter, whose Hayden Motorsports Association is running the Hayden Speedway’s resurrection this summer.

Andrews teamed with Eric Lodwick, and the pair redesigned the track in eight hours, about a quarter of the time they had estimated the task would take.

They got plenty of help in terms of donations, including $1,000 used for diesel fuel from Steamboat Powersports.

“It (the track) had grown in and hadn’t been ridden a lot recently,” Andrews said. “We revamped it, redesigned it. We rebuilt jumps, laid out the track differently, and now, it’s an entirely new track.”

Lodwick and Andrews set out to redesign the track in the way they would want to use it and in a style appropriate for one of the only tracks in the region.

That means they did it with an eye toward young riders but with features that experienced riders could make the most of.

“We were looking out for all ability levels,” Lodwick said. “This is a track you can drive a pickup over. It’s safe for kids to roll, but it won’t be boring for expert ability levels.”

There’s certainly avenues for big air. The 6 p.m. crowd flooded in one day last week on a perfect evening, and soon, seven riders were roaring around the circle. A trio of Hayden high schoolers went big off jumps, and Andrews, Lodwick and Thedo Remmelink joined them, flying even higher.

All three of the “old guys” have been involved in the sport for years. Andrews was encouraged to start riding by friends in Steamboat Springs in 2001. Lodwick grew up around friends with bikes then finally bought his own as a teenager.

Remmelink, meanwhile, rode motocross while growing up in the Netherlands.

It was his first sport, actually, but injuries pushed him away and toward snowboarding. There, he became an Olympian, competing in Nagano, Japan, in Alpine snowboading in 1998, before eventually coming to the United States, where he now guides the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club’s Alpine snowboarding program.

“It was motocross only for me, and I’d go skiing on vacations,” Remmelink said. “Back when I competed, there always were 15,000 spectators for events.”

He came back to it after retiring from snowboarding, not at the same level, but still competing.

“I have a deep love for the sport,” he said.

All three were eager to show off the track, what they could do on it and what it could mean for younger riders just getting into the sport.

“We need somewhere to train and to get some seat time,” Lodwick said. “We want to be able to go to the Front Range, not riding those tracks like they do every weekend, and be able to compete at the same level.”

Andrews continued, “Then, for the little guys, it’s a safe track but also something they can look to progress on. There are obstacles where they will look and them just saying to themselves, ‘Next week!’”

They raved about the sport, the sense of freedom they derive from the jumps and smooth curves in the track, the peace they find on a long trail ride and the punch they feel when they race on the Front Range.

This track isn’t all of that.

It’s not as big as some tracks, and it doesn’t offer the same thing as a ride deep into the forest. It certainly isn’t large enough to play host to big competitions.

But it’s another place to ride, and on one weekday night on the outskirts of Hayden, that was enough to cause a traffic jam.

Interested riders can get a membership for the track at the Hayden Town Hall for $50 per rider. A family pass is available for $110.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9

Comments

Joey Bowman 6 months, 1 week ago

Nice to see the dream is still alive! Thanks,Guys.

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