Ice racing is an insanely cool sport which involves cars, snowmobile, and motorbikes slip-sliding on the ice as they compete for the checkered flag. Soaring around frozen turns and balancing themselves on slick ice, ice racers love the sport because of the adrenaline rush that it brings along with it. Taking one of the most popular motorsports and bringing it to ice can sound dangerous, but then where’s the thrill to it if it did not have that element of danger lurking around.
From tires that have no traction to those that are specially fitted with screws, the vehicles that are used could be anything from modified ones to the average cars and motorcycles that you would take to your local pub. You can use a variety of vehicles to race on ice depending on the racing levels and the type of championship you are racing for. The dependency of this sport on ice makes it popular in the snowy regions of Canada, North America, and Europe. There are events that take place in ice rinks at places that have a warmer climate.
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The history of ice racing is not very clear and there isn’t much information on who exactly got the idea of putting a motorbike on ice to race. We can obviously ascertain that the sport bears its origin in countries where the climatic conditions could allow such a sport. The earliest record of ice racing has been recorded in 1924 in Sweden. As the game gained attention from racers, motorcycles began to be modified for getting more traction. In the 30’s, the tires began to be fitted with short studs that made the bikes skid a little sideways on the curves. Slowly, people got more creative and began using longer studs and motorbikes got faster while racing. These long studs were first seen in a race which was held in Stockholm in 1933.
Once the Second World War ended, championships began to be held in Scandinavia and the then USSR. Gradually, the race began to get a wider audience and it spread to Central European countries as well.
International events began to be organized in 1961 in Ufa and Moscow with the first FIM cup being organized in 1963. International championships have continuously been held since and the game has garnered a lot of attention from racing enthusiasts.
What started with motorbikes has now included other types of vehicles and the sport is globally appreciated now. Snowmobiles, cars, and all-terrain vehicles are now used in ice racing. The races are categorized into those that have studded tires and vehicles with non-studded tires. Almost all dirt-track racing vehicles qualify for ice racing.
If you would imagine racing on ice, you may be picturing bikes and cars slipping and sliding as they try to reach the finish line. That is exactly why tires were modified and studs were added to it for traction and better speeds. Many racers use sharpened studs because it improves traction by increasing the penetration.
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Tires do not come pre-studded so racers buy the tires and then the pit crew screw the studs into the tires. Menard’s Racing in Wisconsin was manufacturing studded tires for cars in 2008.
Ovals and road courses are usually used as tracks in ice racing. Very often, dirt track racing tracks are used for racing with the snow plowed off the tracks. Sometimes, tracks have to be created by spraying a dirt surface with water so that the extreme temperature could turn it into ice. In places that enjoy warmer climates, artificial ice tracks are used. Certain racers also create a track by plowing away snow from frozen lakes. Some of the most popular tracks are:
Georgetown Lake – Located in the spectacular Rocky Mountains in Colorado, Georgetown Lake has a team of ice racing enthusiasts who have been enjoying the sport for over 40 years. Racers can take part in the championship or those who love the sport but prefer to watch it, can join the spectators. There is no entry fee for spectators.
White Lake – The small township of White Lake Michigan has a cool way of spending its long winters – ice racing. The AMA Grand Championship 2016 has chosen the White Lake as its track to hold the championship.
Alpines – Not very far from Geneva and Chamonix in the French Alps is an exclusive ice racing circuit which can give you the experience of pure adrenalin. At an altitude of 5,000 feet the 1 kilometer track is the best tracks that ice racers can find.
The love for extreme sports and the need for thrill drive many racers to enjoy racing on ice. This is a sport that can never be rendered dull.
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