So it’s that infamous and much reviled (by the rest of the world) ‘winter in Los Angeles’ (you know, when it rains for three days) and so itching for a motorsports fix if you will, I went carousing the internet for something to do on this particular day.it was a Friday morning – and then, wow, I stumble onto Icespeedway.com and it turns out there’s a race the next night out in Ontario.
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Slideshow Media Credit: Richard Kontas
Utilizing my vast investigative research skills (google) I determine that media credential requests are too late to be submitted -hmmm, like that’s ever stopped me before – my MO is to inquire ‘diplomatically and politely’ (to a woman whenever possible – they love to ‘help’ us poor clueless males when approached properly) and hey I just want free admission and preferred photo access that’s not asking too much is it?
So as it turns out I actually contact the publicity dept of the venue and the female employee was very receptive to my plea and furnished instructions for credential pick up upon arrival – woo, whoo I’m going to the ice races!!
The irony is this being LA where the average median temperature is like 90+ degrees on any given day and yes I’m from Detroit where he winters are typically 10-30 degrees BELOW 0 with wind chill and I had never seen or heard of ice racing – go figure!
Here’s a brief (and I mean brief) lowdown on ice racing: it is yes a descendant of dirt track/speedway (racing on an oval shaped track and to turn they add throttle and power slide around the bend-very exciting)style racing dating back to about 1975 when someone decided lets try this on ice. One thing led to another and it evolved into the finely honed format known today as ICE / World Championship Ice Racing.
The bikes are all 450cc motocross bikes with moderate mods – the main one being the studs added to the tires. They run 8 qualifier heats with 4 bikes each, with the first place finisher of each heat advancing to the main event final.
The second place finishers will move into what’s called the LCQ (last chance qualifier); and the top 2 from this also make the Main Event.
The LCQ and the Main Event Final are the high points of the night as there are 8 bikes running instead four. For an added bonus in the Main Event they start with the pole position and each racer is offered the chance to relinquish their starting position and move to the back row outside (last) spot – with the stipulation that if they win its an extra $500 cash bonus – if #1 passes then #2 gets the chance all the way thru #7.
ICE runs a national series covering 11 states and 1 stop in Canada (3 stops in Cali) with a points system to crown a ‘world champion’ when all is said and done.
They also run quads in the same race format with some women racers side by side with the men (and boys as case may be) and offer an amateur round on quads to build the next generation of racers.
Then during intermission the ‘Vertical Mischief’ stunt team comes out, featuring Ryan S. a famous American stunter who has a prosthetic leg, which most of the spectators don’t even realize until they announce it.
Yes wheelies, on ice -with studs in both their tires and shoes!
It was well worth the ‘winter’ drive (it actually did rain-like a torrential downpour on the way there which extended my 40 minute drive to over 2 hours – so not everything in LA is that great!) to make this event and I even acquired one of the coolest media credentials I’ve ever gotten (a plastic badge with my photo printed on it with the standard lanyard for around my neck).
On the downside if you ever get the chance to see these guys -dress warmly – duh, it’s in a ice hockey arena it HAS TO BE COLD so the ice doesn’t melt. (You guessed it – I wasn’t dressed warmly!)
Oh and they add 3-5 inches of ice to the regular surface as these guys really tear it up!
Lastly the Main event winners in both classes get a trophy that’s a giant metal stud.
For more information on ICE Racing visit: http:www.IceSpeedway.com