The Many Faces of Motorcycles - Ice Racing

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Many Faces of Motorcycles - Ice Racing

Fall has arrived; the weather is starting to cool off and soon snow will be falling. The lakes that we've been fishing on and swimming in all summer will start to feel the bitter bite of the cold and frost over. And while this means throwing on some skates and participating in the long time ice skating tradition, going around in circles at a humanly slow speed doesn't take away the pain that came along with packing up your motorcycle for the winter. So what do you do? Do you concede to day dreaming about spring riding? No. You buy some spiked tires, kick the kids off the skating rink and you race on the ice! We're not kidding.

Ice racing is a chilly spin off of speedway racing in which riders race counter clockwise on a quarter of a mile long oval track. And though the bikes are slightly modified to better suit the differences in terrain, the biggest difference between the two types is that the ice racing tracks are most commonly plowed out on frozen lakes. While most people are attempting to avoid riding on ice in the winter, ice track racers grab it by the - handlebars.

The sport is broken up into two different classes: studded tires and all rubber tires. Studded tires utilize a post apocalyptic layer of spikes attached to the tread of the tire. Of course, studded tires produce more traction on the ice whereas all rubber tires utilize the ice for speed and broad siding around bends. Racers typically reach up to 80 mph on the straightaway's while they slow to 60 mph around turns. Think racing on ice isn't hardcore enough? Try taking out the brakes. Just as with speedway racing, ice racing has no brakes and riders are forced to use their limbs to slow themselves before going into turns.

The studded tire category allows riders to install some serious spikes to gain traction on the ice.   Much like Speedway racing, the riders run counter-clockwise on an oval track.
The studded tire category allows riders to install some serious spikes to gain traction on the ice.   Much like Speedway racing, the riders run counter-clockwise on an oval track.

We wouldn't recommend tearing the brakes out of your Harley and trying to enter an ice race for obvious reasons. While the weight of a Harley-Davidson alone should make you want to stay away from iced over lakes, ice racing uses motorcycles that are a lot similar to their speedway counterparts but with a longer wheelbase and a more rigid frame. In both the all rubber and the studded classes, the competition extends to add sidecar rounds if enough competitors sign up. Many racers choose to build their own sidecar attachments that can be removable so that the motorcycle can race in both the solo and sidecar rounds. Either way, hats off to the racers who trust their riders enough to get into a sidecar on ice with them.

So this winter, when the snow begins to fall and you find yourself complaining about riding in the cold, head to an ice racing track and appreciate the riders who embrace the chill. Russia, Germany and the Netherlands all have some spectacular ice racing competitions and there are some great events held a little closer to home in Canada. But many of the frozen states of the United States hold ice races during to frosty months. The American Motorcycle Association (AMA) also holds the Ice Race Grand Championships in Millington, Michigan in January. Whether they go to race or to watch, ice racing fans are some of the only motorcycle enthusiasts that love when winter hits and loath the ice melting warmth that spring brings. Talk about hardcore.

Winter Motorcycle Gear:

heated gloves face masks heated jackets

comments powered by Disqus

  Categories   Recent Posts