Eli Tomac’s second-half push propels him to No. 2 finish in motocross seriesCortez rider benefits from strong riding, Roczen crash Eli Tomac of Cortez on Saturday capped a comeback season with a fourth-place finish and a win at Hangtown to overtake Ken Roczen in the motocross standings and finish second overall.Dylan Ferrandis, the rookie sensation in the 450cc class, won the 2021 title.Entering Hangtown Raceway in Sacramento, California, nine points behind Roczen, Tomac set up a strong race day with a fourth-place finish in Moto 1. He started the race in fifth place and passed Christian Craig in Lap 2. Roczen grabbed the early lead over Ferrandis. Cooper Webb was in third.In Lap 6, Tomac raced nearly 2 seconds faster than Webb and passed him for third. Then, with the leaders in his sights, Tomac laid down the fastest lap of the race in Lap 7, at 2 minutes, 14.5 seconds – nearly 2 seconds faster than Ferrandis’ time.His charge was short-lived, however. He crashed in Lap 8, and finished fourth after Webb regained third place. Ferrandis overtook Roczen for the lead and eventual victory in Lap 10. “I felt like I was gonna be able to catch those guys, and of course just missed my one main line,” Tomac said in a post-race interview. “And I washed my front end out.”He also said he injured his thumb in the crash, which hindered his speed after he remounted his bike. Part 2 of the race day storyTomac got his break in Moto 2.He avoided a crash at the first turn, which snagged Ferrandis and Roczen. Ferrandis dropped to 23rd place after Lap 1, and Roczen dropped out of the race altogether.Tomac finished Lap 1 in fourth place and passed Max Anstie for third in Lap 3 while Craig and Webb raced for the lead.It was the green light that he’d been waiting for.Webb and Tomac passed Craig in Lap 5 and engaged in a duel for first. Tomac posted his fastest lap in Lap 8, and passed Webb for the lead and eventual victory with seven laps to go.Ferrandis ran perhaps the most striking comeback race of the season. After crashing in the first turn, Ferrandis started Lap 2 in 23rd place. But he charged into sixth place in Lap 5 and into third in the 14th of 15 laps.Ferrandis’ combination of a first and third in the two motos gave him the overall victory, his sixth of the 12-race season. Tomac was second overall, with a fourth and first, and Webb was third, with a third and second.Tomac’s victory in the second moto gave him his sixth moto win of the season and his third since winning the second of two motos in the Ironman in Crawfordsville, Indiana, on Aug. 28.It also capped the end of a surge that gained momentum in the second half of the series.The second half of the seasonSince racing in Washougal, Washington, on July 24, Tomac was on the moto podium nine out of 12 tries. In the first half, he was on the podium just four times.He started the second half in fourth place overall, two points behind Justin Barcia at 207-205, and 25 points behind runner-up Roczen at 230-205. Ferrandis led with 262 points.This season, Tomac won two of the 12 races and finished on the podium 13 times. His average finish during the first half of the season was 5.5. In the second half, he cut that average to 2.6, for an average of 4.1 for the entire season.Ferrandis, the rookie for Yamaha who made the leap to the 450cc class this year, won eight of the season’s 24 motos, and finished on the podium 22 times. His average finish was 2.1.Roczen won seven motos and was on the podium 15 times. His average finish for the season was 6.1.What’s next?Tomac can’t comment until Oct. 1, when his contract with Monster Energy Kawasaki expires, but insiders say he’ll join the Star Racing Yamaha team. The move would give Star Yamaha Ferrandis and Tomac, the top two finishers in the 2021 AMA Motocross series.On Saturday, Tomac said he had mixed feelings about leaving the Kawasaki “family,” and though he and the team were on good speaking terms, he was “pretty emotional.” “It was tough that way today, leaving the track, but, um you know, it’s this life-goes-on kind of thing, and that's all you can do.” Tomac’s move helped set in motion a series of changes.Jason Anderson of Albuquerque, who had talked with Star Yamaha, likely will take Tomac’s place on Monster Energy Kawasaki. Aaron Plessinger, on the way out at Star Racing Yamaha, likely will go to Red Bull KTM, and Malcolm Stewart has signed with Rockstar Energy Husqvarna.And after that? The Monster Energy Supercross season begins Jan. 8 in Anaheim, California, and Tomac, who first raced in 2010, will be there.“I still have the itch for chasing green flags and checkered flags and being on the start line,” Tomac said Saturday. “I still like to do it, so that's it: I still like to do it. I still enjoy trying to win races and trying to be the best guy. So, um, that's why I'm still around. “
First fly-in to take place at Cortez Airport Go on a discovery flight and learn more about the history of the Cortez Airport Sept. 25 Fly alongside Mesa Verde National Park in a chartered sightseeing flight. Residents can do this and more at the Four Corners Fall Fly-in Sept. 25 — the first event of its kind in Cortez. “It's going to be an open house into the local aviation community, which hasn't really been facilitated much in the past,” said Cortez Airport manager Jeremy Patton. “So, my goal is to open people's eyes to their airport locally, and then the general aviation in the country.” He’s organizing the event with the airport and the Cortez Flying Service. Visitors can dive into the history of the airport, as well as what Patton says has come to be known as “The Miracle at Cortez” — a Lockheed U-2 spy plane emergency landing at the airport – with special presentations from the airport and Cortez Flying Service. Gerald Vincent from the Cortez Aviation Heritage Society will help facilitate the presentation. Vincent will dive into the history of local aviation, as well as remarkable events in the airport’s timeline – like the emergency landing and a single-engine aircraft that traveled around the world, taking off and landing at the Cortez Airport, he said. Another local veteran flying enthusiast, Garth Greenlee with the Cortez Flying Service, will share his aviation expertise at the event. In 1953, at 14 years old, he got his first job at the airport fueling airplanes. It wasn’t the airport Cortez now knows — rather, it had a dirt runway to the west of where the planes take off today, he said. That sparked the start of his 49-year flying career, which saw him leave and return to Cortez. He was compelled to write a book about his flying career, and tells the story on Youtube at https://bit.ly/GarthGreenlee.“I spent a lot of time — I know every pilot that ever was working there in their early years. I know every one of them. They're all gone. But I'm still hanging,” he said. “I just love airplanes.” Patton hopes the event will give the public a glimpse into the different types of aircraft – for instance, privately owned, military, firefighter —–as well as better acquaint them with the daily functions of the airport. The event promises static aircraft displays, a hot air balloon display, activities for children, food trucks, door prizes and appearances from local law enforcement and classic air ambulance service providers. Members of Over the Hill Car Club will feature classic and muscle cars. Motorcycles from Chrome Mafia also will be on show, Patton said. “I came up with the idea so we could get Cortez involved a little bit more and get their airport a little more exposure. And if that gets a kid interested in flying, then that's that's a win,” he said. “If it's one kid, if it's 20 kids, it'd be great. If it's people that never thought they could fly, and they're 50 they can realize ‘Oh my gosh, there's a flight school here in my own town.’”He plans to make the fly-in a yearly occurrence, with the goal of sponsorships that would provide scholarships to students in areas such as pilot training and aircraft mechanics.
Ice Fire near Silverton likely caused by humans, Forest Service saysFire started at boulder 75 feet from Ice Lakes TrailThe Ice Fire, near the popular Ice Lakes Trail west of Silverton in 2020, was likely caused by humans.The 596-acre fire burned for about a week in October 2020 and led to a helicopter rescue of 28 stranded hikers. It started at a large, flat boulder in a meadow near the treeline about 75 feet from the Ice Lakes Trail, according to a U.S. Forest Service investigation released in early August.The boulder was a popular rest stop along the trail, the report said.“The only probable factor as to contributing to the start of the fire is human in nature,” the Forest Service report said. “No evidence or conclusive evidence was found in the point of origin. Therefore, the cause of the Ice Lakes Fire is inconclusive.”Investigators ruled out campfires, fireworks, burning debris and natural causes, such as lightning. Because no road or railroad was nearby, mechanical causes also were excluded.“Though no cigarette butt(s) could be found at the specific origin, this is the leading theory,” the report said.Children were listed as a possible cause because of the boulder’s proximity to the trail.The Ice Lakes Trail is one of the most popular and heavily used trails in Southwest Colorado. It starts at an elevation of 9,840 feet and climbs about 2,500 feet to two turquoise alpine lakes, Ice Lake and Island Lake.The Ice Fire was spotted Oct. 19 about half a mile up the trail. Soon after, Silverton-San Juan County Fire and Rescue crews responded to the area, about 5 miles west of town.The fire spread across the trail and headed uphill, trapping hikers near the burning area until they were rescued by helicopter.By Oct. 26, the fire was 100% contained, and a winter storm knocked it out for good.The trail, however, was heavily damaged by the blaze and closed for the summer. Weakened trees, erosion and flash floods posed safety hazards that made it too risky to open the trail, according to the Forest Service.The closure order for the trail expires Sept 15. Forest Service managers could extend the closure order if area hazards exist that pose a risk to safety. The trail will reopen only when the area is deemed safe for public entry, said Rebecca Robbins, Forest Service email@example.comEditor’s note: This story was updated to clarify the Ice Lakes Trail closure expires Sept. 15. The trail will reopen only when deemed safe for the public.
Mancos cross-country team posts solid finish in annual Bear Chase Mancos High School was the top finisher Friday among Montezuma County schools in the third annual Boggy Draw bear Chase, hosted by Dolores High School.In score-5 formatting – the first five members of a team to cross the finish line – Mancos totaled an adjusted 79 points and finished in fourth place behind Durango (72), Monticello, Utah (52), and Blanding, Utah, San Juan (42).Using a score-4 format, San Juan would have won with a meet-low 28 points, ahead of Monticello (33), Durango (46) and Mancos (54).
Mancos High School was the top finisher Friday among Montezuma County schools in the third annual Bo...
Mancos library sheds light on community with video seriesMidge Kirk remembers how the Mancos Public Library was when she first started: stacks of books everywhere, and a closet that four people called an office. One day, a child about 5-years-old climbed over the counter. “This is the heart,” he said. It’s been striving to stay that way – the center of the community, ever since — she said. The latest in the library’s community endeavors is a YouTube series featuring interviews with locals, which Kirk hosts. “We have a lot of really interesting people here,” Kirk said. The interviews are split into four categories: Business in the Backyard, Life is an Adventure, authors and artists. The latest in the series featured Brent McWhirter, co-owner of the Columbine Bar and Grill. The library has always hosted adult programs, but it had to find a way to adapt at the onset of the pandemic, Kirk said. As it has been for many others, Zoom was the solution. “I think one of our goals during this whole insane COVID time has been to keep community connected,” she said. “It’s been stressful for everybody.” Coming up is an interview with an expert in neuromuscular reprogramming. “If you want to know what that is, you'll have to tune in because it's powerful,” she said. The library will also be pursuing an oral storytelling series, a dream since 1999, Kirk said. A resident for 22 years now, she wants people to feel as moved by the stories that come out of Mancos Valley as she is. “I always wanted to come out West,” she said. “I wanted to do it on a Harley. But I didn't have a Harley — I had a Toyota and two dogs. We just took our time, came across the country, and I drove down River Canyon and tears came down my face. It's like I could feel the ancestors. It was just something so powerful about it. And I've never left.” An East Coast author almost took on the project of capturing the area’s stories, but it wasn’t meant to be — for her. Kirk and the library team didn’t want to give up on the idea, though, and library director Lee Hallberg gave them the green light. “Many of us here at the library have said, ‘Wow, that person is such a source of information for this area, let's get that story’ and then we don't, and they pass,” she said. “I can think of four or five that we said that about, and rest their souls, they're gone.” The library is hoping to begin with stories of Mancos women who fashioned a quilt hanging in the library, each square representing an aspect of the town. She hopes that one day the stories could even develop into a take-home composition in the form of a book or DVD. “We're going to begin it and exactly how it will unfold — it will take on a life of its own,” she said.