Thursday, January 12, 2012

Airdrie ice racer looking forward to 2012 season

Covy Moore/Rocky View PublishingAirdrie ice racer looking forward to 2012 season

Jan 11, 2012 06:18 pm | By Covy Moore | Airdrie City View
The Second Gear Club ice racing season will begin Jan. 15 with the Chestermere Chiller.

Ice racing is a sport featuring dirt bike riders, riding on an oval track on a frozen lake using studded tires. The Second Gear Club holds six races from January through March, starting with the Chestermere event.

“Simply put, if you want to ride on ice all you need is tires and to turn logic off,” said Second Gear Club Technical Director and Airdrie resident Mitch Brown. “The unique ice tires are key to being confident and having seemingly unlimited traction.”

The oval races, which feature three heat races of six laps each for nine classes that feature everything from an open class, the most powerful bikes, down to four wheel ATVs.

Brown also participates in the racing, running a 500cc two-stroke bike in the open expert class, and says he hopes the weather can improve for the Chestermere event, but not the extreme temperatures seen in last year’s event.

“Chestermere is always a question mark with our chinooks and the depth of ice. We have alternate locations if need be,” said Brown. “As long as it is not -30° C for the first race, I will be happy.”
The Second Gear Club championship is decided by a points system that awards riders based on their finishes in each heat at each event. Brown says the rider who is crowned at the end of the season must be consistent at every race.

“If you make zero points on one heat that is your day out the window. A crash or false start can rob you points with no redemption in sight, but anything can happen,” said Brown.
“I have seen racers be dead last two heats in a row and then destroy the entire field by a half lap lead. It’s racing and anything can happen.”

New to the Second Gear Club’s winter ice racing season is two-way sprint races, which will see eight riders taking to a track that features left and right hand turns. There are only three planned events on the schedule for the two-way racing, with the first event Feb. 12 at Cow Lake.

“This year, we are starting sprint two-way. Imagine a 15-20 minute race with eight racers battling it out,” said Brown. “Instead of six hours, you have 15 minutes to prove yourself. It will be epic.”
Brown hopes to have a more relaxed season than he experienced last year, suffered from multiple engine failures, and competed in multiple classes.

“I want to have a clean season. No crashes, no bike issues. I really want to enjoy this season and be more of a spectator,” said Brown.

“As an expert racer, the bar is set quite high and every racer of that level does not shut off on the ice. It can be pretty cutthroat and if you let off for one second, it will bite you.”

For more information on the Second Gear Club ice racing event, visit