Steven Bradley, Winnipeg, MB (February 4) The Winnipeg Sports Car Club (WSCC) reached the halfway point of the 2018 schedule this past weekend at Murdock Ski Pond. This was the last event of the season inside the City of Winnipeg, as the club now takes their show on the road – headlining special events in Portage la Prairie and Gimli, Manitoba.
The fair-weather temps the WSCC have been receiving to date were withdrawn by Mother Nature for event 3. Racers toughed out 2 days of racing in extreme cold weather warnings as the mercury dipped below minus 25 degrees in windy conditions. This didn’t stop action from heating up on the track though, nor did it chase away loyal volunteer race officials as they worked the entire day outside on frozen Lake Shirley.
In the Studded division, Lee McRae earned victories in 5 of 6 races. Al Marcoux was the only other driver to find the checkers in 1 race. In the Rubber to Ice series, Damon Surzyshyn crossed the finish line first in 4 of 6 races as Mike Demchenko collected wins in the other 2 races.
In race 1, Lee McRae quickly stole the point from Al Marcoux in the Studded field while Damon Surzyshyn held the lead in the Rubber field through the opening laps. Both racers led wire-to-wire to grab opening race wins. Marcoux finished second and Dean Smith rounded out the top 3. Mike Demchenko finished second in the Rubber class ahead of Jared Halpin in third.
In race 2, Al Marcoux used the outside line to rocket by Studded pole sitter, Wayne Kehler. Mike Demchenko picked up 3 spots on the opening corner – vaulting past the first 2 rows to take the lead in the Rubber field. On lap 5, Marcoux and McRae’s battle for the lead included the 2 leading cars of the Rubber division in turns 5 and 6. Marcoux was able to take advantage of the slower cars and opened up a decent lead over McRae, to earn the win ahead of McRae and Kehler. Demchenko managed to hold Surzysyhn at a safe distance to collect his first win of the weekend. Surzysyhn finished second and Halpin rounded out the top 3.
In race 3, Lee McRae and Al Marcoux continued their day-long battle as they blew by the front row pole sitters in the opening turns. Damon Surzyshyn and Mike Demchenko also drove from the back of the pack to the front on the opening lap to continue their own battle in the Rubber division. Racers at the back of the pack were starting to use the short pace area to get a jump on the front of the field, and officials began watching this more closely. On lap 4, Marcoux drove in and stuck the inside line in turn 6 to steal the lead form McRae. However, McRae regained his lead on lap 9 when Marcoux had trouble navigating lap traffic in turns 2 and 3. McRae opened up a half lap lead and collected his second win of the day ahead of Marcoux and Kehler. Surzysyhn maintained his lead the entire race and earned his second win of the day ahead of Demchenko and Halpin.
In race 4, Al Marcoux and Lee McRae quickly moved from row 2 to row 1 in the opening corner with Marcoux leading the Studded field. Mike Demchenko and Damon Surzysyhn once again climbed from last to first and resumed their battle at the front of the Rubber to Ice pack. On lap 4, Surzyshyn got a front fender inside Demchenko in turn 6, but Demchenko managed to keep his car straight and maintained his lead. On lap 9, officials dropped a red flag on the race after Dean Smith came to a stop in the middle of turn 6. Because Smith was positioned in such a dangerous place, officials decided to pull him from the track. On the single-file restart, McRae took advantage of the stacked field and took over the lead. Surzysyhn also benefitted from the restart, and after some contact with leader Demchenko, stole the lead in turns 2 and 3. Jared Halpin also managed to get by Demchenko with 3 laps remaining to move into the runner up position. Nothing more changed as McRae topped the Studded division with his third win of the day ahead of Marcoux and Kehler. Surzyshyn collected his third win of the day ahead of Halpin and Demchenko.
In race 5, Lee McRae picked up 3 spots on the opening circuit to climb from last to first – leading all 15 laps to collect win number 4 of the day. Marcoux finished in second ahead of Smith in third. In the Rubber field, Demchenko moved from third to first on the opening lap to collect his second win of the day ahead of Halpin in second and Surzyshyn, third.
In race 6, Lee McRae once again moved from last to first in the opening corner. McRae’s biggest challenger of the weekend, Al Marcoux, unfortunately ended up wedged in the outer turn 3 bank. Officials quickly paused the race to pull Marcoux from this extremely dangerous position. Marcoux couldn’t get his car restarted and was towed to the pits to the rest of the day. On the restart, McRae checked out on the Studded field and wrapped up his fifth win of the day. Dean Smith finished second ahead of Wayne Kehler in third. In the Rubber division, Damon Surzysyhn grabbed the lead on the opening turn and held it all race long, picking up his fourth win of the day. Mike Demchenko overtook Jared Halpin on lap 3 after some contact and ended his weekend with a second place finish. Tim Gordienko collected his top finish of the day – placing third in the last race.
After the midseason event, Lee McRae holds a 12 point lead over the second place team of Al Marcoux and Mat Leveille in the Studded division. The Wayne Kehler / Greg Eastwood team sits in third, 20 points back of the leader. In the Rubber series, Damon Surzysyhn holds a 14 point lead over second place Mike Demchenko, and a 59 point lead over third place Jared Halpin.
The WSCC now turns their attention to the last 2 events of the 2018 season – both double headers with racing on both Saturday and Sunday. On February 17 and 18, the club visits Portage la Prairie’s Island Lake. Then they close out the season on March 3 and 4 at Gimli’s annual Ice Festival near the famous Gimli Pier.
For more information on the WSCC, for upcoming events or how to get involved in racing, visit them online at www.wscc.mb.ca