AZTEC — City commissioners on Tuesday approved a new manager for the Aztec Motocross Track.

 

Beginning Sept. 1, the track will be operated by Evo's Powersports. The track site, which lies just off of Navajo Dam Road, was last operated by No Limit MX Racing, a company run by retired motocross pro Robert Settles, who ended his oversight of the track in February.

Evo's Powersports owner, Evan "Evo" Rahm, is a pro motocross racer who grew up in Farmington, where he opened his second motocross repair and retail shop on Miller Avenue last year. The 30-year-old opened his first shop in Phoenix while he was a still a student at Motorcycle Mechanics Institute. Rahm is head technician for pro Aztec racer Killy Rusk. His nickname was given to him by his mother when he was a boy for his fearless stunts on his bike.

"I started riding at around age 4, and my mom started calling me 'Evo' around then because I had no fear," Rahm said. "My dad was also one of those Evel Knievel types. He was a pro racer. He'd ride for miles doing a wheelie the whole way."

Aztec Parks and Recreation Director Steve Mueller confirmed Rahm's selection for the job on Tuesday.

"Right now, the track is on city property and is open to use, but ride at your own risk," Mueller said. "The city has an operating agreement with Evo's (Powersports) for their use of the property. They'll pay electric and water, and they can put on year-round events there and arrange practice schedules."

Under the terms of a two-year contract, which expires Aug. 31, 2016, management of the track will continue to be an unpaid position. Rahm must maintain a $1.25 million insurance policy on the track that lists the city as an additionally insured party.

"Having the motocross track operated by a company that is familiar with the sport of motocross and track maintenance will greatly enhance the motocross riding experience for local and visiting riders," Mueller wrote in a staff summary report late last week. Mueller will conduct annual inspections and reviews of the site to ensure Rahm maintains the track and the $1.25 million insurance policy, both conditions of the lease.

"I definitely want to take the track to the next level," said Rahm in a phone interview on Wednesday while en route to a race in Muddy Creek, Tenn. "I'm trying to put it on a national schedule. I've been riding and racing my whole life. The guy before was a pretty good dude, and I felt that I could actually bring the track back to where it used to be."

Rahm plans to hire paid emergency medical technicians to be on site during races and put up fencing to secure tracks in an effort to avoid accidents, especially involving younger riders. Last year, Sammy Cordova, a Mesa View Middle School seventh grader, suffered severe injuries — including head trauma, a punctured lung, a broken pelvis, internal bleeding and broken bones — when he crashed his bike at the track. Cordova is still recovering from those injuries, and Rahm, who has had plenty of injuries himself, said he wants a track that's safe and professional.

"Cordova — that was a bad accident. I'm going to make sure we have trained EMTs right there, in case of anything," Rahm said. "I want to make the track seen on a national level — bring pros in to train and race. I remember when I was young, there'd be over 200 entries racing."

For his part, Settles said his stewardship of the track was a good experience that saw multi-track development and a growing community of motocross fans and riders. He said discontinuing his lease was simply a chance to do something new.

"Time to move on. Finished off the season last year, and life's taking me in a new direction," Settles said by phone on Tuesday. "We got a lot of support from the community. I would like to thank all the families who supported the organization over the years, as well as the city of Aztec."

Settles, 33, was a leaseholder at the track for five years. He plans to build a motocross track later this year in Dubai for a private motorcycle club under his other company, No Limit MX Tracks.

"The impact we had over the years in Aztec was huge," Settles said. "We had a lot of success. I'm hoping the track continues to grow and get better. I'm wishing everybody in Aztec the best wishes for the future."

James Fenton covers Aztec and Bloomfield for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4621 and jfenton@daily-times.com. Follow him @fentondt on Twitter.