Steven Bradley, Gimli, Manitoba (March 7) The Winnipeg Sports Car Club returned to Gimli, Manitoba to wrap up their 2015 Ice Racing season this past weekend. Serving as the headline act to the annual Gimli Ice Festival, race teams in both studded and rubber divisions put on a great show for the spectators.
Weather was perfect for Saturday – temps only fell to about 10 below which drew a large turnout to witness the last studded points race of the year.
Bill Langner won 5 of 6 events to clinch the season points championship in a convincing fashion. Jordan Sharples was the only other driver in the studded class to earn a checkered flag. Tim Gordienko topped the rear wheel drive portion of the studded division after a season of consistent finishes.
In race 1, Bill Langner quickly jumped from third to first on the opening lap. Langner opened up a huge lead and after 17 laps, was able to put second place Jordan Sharples down a lap in the back S-curves before taking the checkered flag. Sharples finished second ahead of Marlene Jakabek in third.
In race 2, Jordan Sharples quickly picked up 2 spots to grab the lead in turn 2 of the opening lap. As Langner settled into second, Marlene Jakabek got by Peter Jakabek for third. Sharples continued to lead for the remainder of the race and earn the win. Langner finished second about 5 car lengths back and Marlene Jakabek rounded out the top 3.
In race 3, Jordan Sharples jumped from fourth to first on the opening lap. Sharples held that lead until lap 2 when Bill Langner completed a pass at the start/finish line to take over the point. On lap 4, Marlene Jakabek got hung up on a snowbank in turn 2. Just 2 laps later, Peter Jakabek joined her a few yards away when his car suffered from alternator issues. After 13 laps, Langner took the win ahead of Sharples in second and Tim Gordienko in third.
In race 4, just 3 cars took the green flag. Bill Langner moved to the point on the first lap and held that position for the whole race – winning over Jordan Sharples in second and Marlene Jakabek in third.
In race 5, Jordan Sharples lead the first 4 laps until Bill Langner got by low in turn 1. As Langner was pulling away, Peter Jakabek looped his car around entering turn 1 at the end of the long front-stretch. Tim Gordienko was just able to avoid Jakabek’s spinning car. After 10 laps, Langner earned the race win ahead of Sharples in second and Marlene Jakabek in third.
In race 6, Jordan Sharples led the opening 2 laps. Once again, Bill Langner was able to complete a pass low at the end of the front stretch to steal the lead. Langner continued his season long dominance and collected the last race victory of the year. Sharples finished in second ahead of Marlene Jakabek in third.
After a 5 race season, Bill Langner collected 104 points – 26 points more than second place Jordan Sharples and 72 points over third place Peter Jakabek. Tim Gordienko accumulated 42 points to lead the rear wheel drive segment of the studded class. Rookie Marlene Jakabek collected 31 points and was the class’s highest placing rookie.
In the rubber to ice class, Lee McRae cut into Colin Mckee’s points lead by just a single point – winning 3 of 6 races. Mckee collected 2 wins, and Mike Demchenko edged Andre Toupin by a bumper to earn a win in the day’s closest finish.
In race 1, Alex Dixon lead the early laps from the front row. On lap 2, Lee McRae and Andre Toupin jumped up to second and third after squeezing by Brett Sharples. On lap 3, McRae completed his charge to the front when he got by Dixon low in turn 1. Dixon surrendered another spot on lap 5 when Mike Demchecnko got by for second. After 13 laps, McRae earned the win ahead of Demchenko in second and Colin Mckee in third.
In race 2, Alex Dixon grabbed the lead for the first 3 laps. However, Colin Mckee took the spot away in turn 2. On lap 8, Mike Demchenko moved into second when he completed a pass on Dixon low entering turn 1. On lap 10, Dixon coughed up third place when he bounced off the outer front stretch snow bank – spinning out and finding himself in fifth. On lap 11, Lee McRae was mounting another charge to the front after getting by Demchenko for second. After a few attempts to take the lead, Mckee was just able to hold off McRae for the win. Demchenko rounded out the top 3.
In race 3, Andre Toupin used the pole position to lead early. After battling hard for the first 3 laps, Mike Demchenko finally got by Damon Surzyshyn for second. As laps wore down, Colin Mckee was making his way to the front, moving into third by lap 9. In the closing laps, a 3-way battle for the lead was forming. Just when it looked like Toupin had the win, Demchenko made a hard drive out of the last corner – out-racing Toupin to the checkered flag and winning by a bumper. Toupin settled for second ahead of Lee McRae who got by Mckee for third.
In race 4, the lead was finally settled after 3 laps of door-to-door racing. Lee McRae used the low line entering turn 1 to move to the point. Nothing changed over the 11 lap race as McRae went on the win. Mckee finished second ahead of Andre Toupin in third.
In race 5, Andre Toupin lead most of the race as Colin Mckee battled Alex Dixon hard for second. Mckee won that battle after 3 laps and set his eyes on the lead. On the last lap, Mckee took advantage of Toupin getting too wide entering turn 1 and moved to the point. Mckee took the checkered flag ahead of Toupin in second and Mike Demchenko in third.
In race 6, Lee McRae used the pole to take the lead early. On lap 6, Mike Demchenko got a little too close to the outer snowbank wall on the long front stretch. Demchenko bounced off the wall, spun right around and ramped the inside wall of snow backwards. Eventually he got moving again, but now found himself at the back. With laps winding down, McRae was able to secure his lead and earn the win. Colin Mckee finished right behind in second and Andre Toupin rounded out the top 3.
Going into Sunday’s final points race, Colin Mckee has a 13 point lead over Lee McRae for the rubber to ice championship. Andre Toupin sits comfortably in third.