Steven Bradley, Beausejour, Manitoba (January 20) Stop number two on the 2019 Winnipeg Sports Car Club (WSCC) Ice Racing tour took place in Beausejour, Manitoba at the home of the Canadian Power Toboggan Championship (CPTC) snowmobile track. This year’s tour has been one of the most diverse in terms of track design and host towns this reporter has witnessed in the half-decade I’ve been covering the club. The CPTC facilities are spectacular, and I can’t wait to see the club return to the half-mile ice oval in coming years.
On Saturday, the first cars that took to the track were greeted to an ice surface resembling that of a skating rink – super smooth and extremely slick. After a full day of test and tuning, studded racers were able to put some grip into the track, which set the stage for a perfect Sunday race day.
The WSCC are a hearty bunch – proving it this weekend as they competed in temps diving under minus 30 degrees on both Saturday and Sunday. The coldest days of the year couldn’t chase away competitors, or volunteer track workers who spent the entire weekend outside – celebrating the sport they all love.
On Sunday, Studded driver Al Marcoux opened the day with 4 consecutive race wins in the before mechanical failure knocked him out – creating an opportunity for Lee McRae to collect wins in the last 2 races. In the Rubber division, Damon Surzyshyn remained perfect after sweeping all 6 races – increasing his winning streak to 12 races in a row after 2 events.
In Studded race 1, Al Marocux used the pole to lead Lee McRae through the opening laps. On lap 12, Dean Smith raced by Wayne Kehler on the back stretch to move into the top 3. Smith continued to climb positions after getting by McRae on the front straight – moving in to second spot. As Marcoux continued to lead, he put the fifth place car of Trevor Hudey down a lap on lap 19. As the leaders began navigating through lap traffic, Smith managed to claw his way up to Marcoux’s back bumper. Smith attempted a couple passes, however on lap 17 bobbled high exiting turn 2, which sealed the win for Marcoux. Smith settled for second while McRae rounded out the top 3.
In Studded race 2, Al Marcoux and Lee McRae split the front row pairing of Trevor Hudey and Wayne Kehler entering turn 1, and Marcoux emerged with the lead exiting turn 2. Marcoux stayed out front the entire race, running lap times of 34 seconds with average lap speeds of 53mph. By lap 10 the leader was already taking on lap traffic. Marcoux collected his second win of the day. McRae was unable to close the gap, which was good enough for a second place finish while Wayne Kehler finished third.
In Studded race 3, Dean Smith returned to the track after mechanical issues kept him out of the previous race. Smith used the pole to secure the point, while McRae picked up 2 spots in the opening corners to climb into second. On lap 2, Al Marcoux beat McRae out of turn 2 to move into the runner-up position. It only took Marcoux 2 more laps to get by Smith for the lead as he out-powered Smith exiting turn 2. The field lined up and Marcoux easily scored his third win of the day. Smith finished in second ahead of McRae in third.
In Studded race 4, Marcoux continued his dominance as he passed 4 cars in the opening corners – climbing from fifth to first. On lap 3, Dean Smith completed a pass on Lee McRae for second low exiting turn 2. Just half a lap later, Smith and McRae got together exiting turn 4 when Smith nearly lost the handle high on exit – coming down on McRae who was running the bottom line. Despite some contact, both drivers managed to continue green flag racing. On lap 4, Smith regained second spot after a pass on McRae on the front stretch. Smith began slowly biting into Marcoux’s lead, and by lap 8 was right on the leaders back bumper. As the battle for the lead was playing out – both racers were approaching the lap car of Trevor Hudey. Smith managed to use the opportunity to squeak by Marcoux exiting turn 4 and grabbed the lead. Marcoux spent the next 7 laps battling back, and on lap 15 powered by Smith high exiting turn 4 to regain the lead at the flag stand. Marcoux held on during the last lap to collect his fourth win of the day. Smith finished 4 seconds behind in second, while McRae rounded out the top 3.
In Studded race 5, Lee McRae used the outside second row to blow by Trevor Hudey and Wayne Kehler in the opening corners. Dean Smith who was running in second spot, stole the lead from McRae on lap 4 after some light contact in turn 1. Just 2 laps later, McRae took back the lead using the outside line exiting turn 4. Smith surrendered second spot on lap 7 when Al Marcoux passed low on the front stretch. Smith began falling off the pace, and took his ailing car to the pits. McRae hung on to grab his first win of the weekend. Marcoux finished in second ahead of Wayne Kehler in third.
In Studded race 6, McRae passed all 3 cars in front of him when the green flag dropped – jumping from last to first in the opening lap. Marcoux settled into second position, but his efforts came to an end on lap 7 when he began slowing – eventually making a hard right turn into the pit area. On lap 11, McRae put third place racer, Wayne Kehler down a lap. McRae easily earned his second win of the day ahead of Trevor Hudey on second and Kehler in third.
In Rubber race 1, Damon Surzyshyn used the pole to secure the early lead. With Tim Gordienko in second, Steve Leiding got by Manuel Fetzel in turns 3 and 4 to move into third. On lap 12, Surzyshyn began navigating lap traffic. Surzyshyn easily scored his first win of the weekend ahead of Gordienko in second, and Leiding in third.
In Rubber race 2, Tim Gordienko used the outside front row to secure the point with Surzyshyn close behind in second. On lap 8, Surzyshyn used the low line to out-power Gordienko exiting turn 2 and grabbed the lead. Gordienko and Surzyshyn spent the next 2 laps swapping the lead -– Surzyshyn running low and Gordienko high. Eventually, Surzyshyn proved the low line was the fastest way around the track for the Rubber racers – securing the lead and the win. Gordienko finished 2 seconds back in second spot, while Leiding rounded out the top 3.
In Rubber race 3, Tim Gordienko and Damon Surzyshyn quickly got by pole sitter Steve Leiding as they set race pace. The front pair were knocking off 44 second lap time with average lap speeds of 41mph on the slick ice oval. On lap 8, Gordienko opened the door for Surzyshyn to make a low pass exiting turn 4 and move to the point. Gordienko fought back on the next lap as they raced side-by-side down the back stretch, however Surzyshyn was able to keep his car glued to the bottom and pick up his third win in a row. Gordienko settled for second while Leiding rounded out the top 3.
In Rubber race 4, Tim Gordienko lead the opening 3 laps until Damon Surzyshyn got by low entering turn 1 to move to the point. It looked like Gordienko might battle back and challenge for the lead, however a bobble high in turn 3 and 4 sent him sideways through the snow – scrubbing off major speed. This allowed Surzyshyn to walk away with the win. Gordienko found himself with a second place finish ahead of Leiding in third.
In Rubber race 5, Tim Gordienko used the outside front row to lead the opening 6 laps. However, Damon Surzyshyn once again out-motored Gordienko on the back straightaway to steal the lead. Nothing more changed as Surzyshyn collected his fifth consecutive win. Gordienko finished in second and Leiding, third.
In Rubber race 6, Tim Gordienko lead the opening 2 circuits until a bobble on the outside line opened the door for Steve Leiding to grab his first taste of clean air of the day. That lead only lasted half a lap, as Gordienko battled back in turn 4 to regain the spot he lost. On lap 3, Gordienko remained committed to the high line, which opened the door for Damon Surzyshyn to race by and steal the lead – bringing Leiding with him in second spot. As laps wore down, nothing more changed. Surzyshyn picked up his sixth consecutive win of the day to sweep the weekend and remain perfect in 2019. Leiding finished with his best run of the day in second, while Gordienko rounded out the top 3.
The WSCC ice tour roars to Portage la Prairie’s Crescent Lake on the weekend of February 2nd and 3rd to mark the halfway point of their season. Saturday will be a test and tune and Sunday will serve up a full day of racing. For more information on this event, to learn how to get involved in ice racing or anything club related, visit them online at www.wscc.mb.ca