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Ice racing is a form of motor racing. It utilizes cars, motorcycles, snowmobiles, All-terrain vehicles, or other motorized vehicles. Ice racing takes place on frozen lakes or rivers, or on carefully groomed frozen lots. As cold weather is a requirement for natural ice, it is usually found at higher latitudes in Canada, the northern United States, and in northern Europe, although limited indoor events are held in warmer climates, typically on ice hockey rinks ( motorcyles and ATVs only )[1]. Tracks in North America vary widely, from 1/4 mile long ovals[2] to several mile-long road course designs.

TrackEdit

There is a variety of types of tracks used for ice racing. Some tracks are dirt track racing tracks with the snow plowed off them. When there is no natural snow, an icy surface may be created by spraying the dirt surface with water when the temperature is below freezing. Artificial ice tracks (usually speed skating ovals) are used where it is not possible to construct natural ice tracks. Some tracks are made by plowing the snow off an area of a frozen lake. Spectators frequently park their cars around the outside of the track on a frozen lake. [3] In the UK ice meetings have been staged at a number of ice rinks. The longest running event, at Telford, features riders using conventional machines with spiked tires. In the late 1960s ice racing was staged at a number of rinks in Scotland but the machines used were "scrambles" type machines fitted with spiked tyres.

TiresEdit

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Ice racing tires are either studded or non-studded. Studded tires have some type of stud such as a screw or bolt to provide better traction and increasing speed. [3] Some studs are sharpened to increase penetration. [3] Tires cannot be purchased with studs, so the pit crew needs to attach the studs to the tire. [3] The sanctioning body's rule book generally specifies the length and/or type of stud. Through 2008, Menard's Racing in Wisconsin manufactured and sold studded racing tires for cars, and they were required in many ice-racing classes. These tires are no longer produced.

Non-studded tires are standard production snow tires, as used on highway-use passenger cars in colder climates. Favorites among ice-racers include the Bridgestone Blizzaks and Nokian Hakkapeliittas.

Motorcycle ice racingEdit

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File:Ice Racing.jpg

Ice racing includes a motorcycle class which is the equivalent of Speedway on ice. Bikes race anti-clockwise around oval tracks between 260 and 425 metres in length. The race structure and scoring is similar to Speedway.

The bikes bear a passing resemblance to those used for speedway, but have a longer wheelbase and a more rigid frame. The sport is divided into classes for full-rubber and studded tires. The studded tire category involves competitors riding on bikes with spikes up to 30[mm] (2.5 inches) in length screwed into each tread-less tyre, each bike has 90 spikes on the front tyre and 200-500 on the rear. The use of these spikes in this discipline necessitate the addition of special protective guards (similar to mudguards) over the wheels which extend almost to the ice surface. The spiked tyres produce a tremendous amount of traction and this means two-speed gearboxes are also required. As with speedway, the bikes do not have brakes. Historically Czech made 4-stroke Jawa motorcycles have been the dominant force in this sport.

In the studded tyre class there is no broadsiding around the bends due to the grip produced by the spikes digging into the ice. Instead, riders lean their bikes into the bends at an angle where the handlebars just skim the track surface. Speeds approach 80 mph (130 km/h) on the straights, and 60 mph (100 km/h) on the bends. The safety barrier usually consists of straw bales or banked-up snow and ice around the outer edge of the track.

The riding style required for studded ice racing is different from that used in the other track racing disciplines. This means riders from this discipline rarely participate in Speedway or it's other variants and vice-versa.

The majority of Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme sanctioned team and individual meetings are held in Russia, Sweden and Finland, but events are also held in the Czech Republic, Germany, the Netherlands, and occasionally other countries. Countries that dominated and won the majority of titles in World Individual Ice Racing Championship (held since 1966) and World Team Ice Racing Championship (held since 1979) were the USSR and since 1991 — Russia.[4] Canada's national touring series is sanctioned by the Canadian Motorcycle Association.

Automobile ice racingEdit

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Automobile ice races have been most successful in France, where the Trophée Andros series, sponsored by an industrial jam manufacturer attracts ex-F1 drivers like Alain Prost or Olivier Panis, manufacturer-backed entries of sophisticated 4WD cars and international television coverage. In fact the Trophée Andros races mainly use damped snow (that is not very different from ice regarding car handling) tracks in French ski sations with a final race on artificial ice in Paris Stade de France. The 2006 trophy includes one round in Andorra. On several occasions a round also took place in Canada.

Elsewhere, ice racing has proven to be a largely recreational pastime. There is no professional ice-racing in North America, but there are active clubs in several Canadian provinces (Ottawa, Ontario, Manitoba, Quebec, Saskatchewan) and American states (New York, Michigan, Maine, Wisconsin, Minnesota). Some amateur and professional dirt track and paved track racers use ice racing to hone their skills or to practice for the summer season.[3]

There is a new class in Canada called SS (street studs) where a car can run with the same modifications as a rubber to ice class, without the need for a roll bar. [5] Some clubs even encourage people to ice-race their daily driver, and have strict no-contact rules to allow that safely[6].

Conventional rallying also takes place on ice. Most notably, the tarmac of the Monte Carlo Rally is occasionally covered with snow and ice. Also, the Sno Drift Rally in Michigan.

Race vehicleEdit

There are many classes of racing vehicles. The racing vehicles are frequently divided into studded or non-studded tire classes. Nearly all dirt track racing vehicles could be raced on ice. Flying snow and ice powder limits visibility, so some vehicles are required to have a bright light, normally red or yellow, on the back of the car for greater visibility in the powder. [3] and in TOCA race Driver 2.

Ice racing in filmEdit

Ice racing was featured in the 1969 James Bond film On Her Majesty's Secret Service with George Lazenby and Diana Rigg as they attempted to evade their pursuers. The track was in Switzerland.

Motorcycle ice racing footage can be seen in the Bruce Brown documentary On Any Sunday.


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