Steven Bradley, Winnipeg, Manitoba (January 24) The Winnipeg Sports Car Club officially dropped the green flag on their 2016 Ice Racing season this weekend at Mazenod Pond. Because of unusually warm winter temps, the touring winter motorsports series got off to a late start due to lack of sufficient ice thickness. With the January 9/10 season opener getting cancelled, the season opener shifted to this weekend.
Nearly 20 teams attended the opening events with most taking advantage of Saturday’s test and tune as they looked to gain an edge for Sunday’s competition on the frozen 1KM ice track. Jordan Sharples was among the quickest cars in the Studded division, qualifying first for Sunday’s race day with a 41.30 second lap time. Mike Demchenko topped the Rubber to Ice field turning a 51.60 second lap time to also earn a pole starting spot.
On Sunday, mild temps and minimal winds made for a great day of racing and spectating. Fans lined the south-west half of the track to get their first ice racing fix of the year. Jordan Sharples swept the front wheel drive Studded division – winning all 6 races. Tim Gordienko topped the Studded rear wheel drive division in all 6 races. In the extremely competitive Rubber to Ice division, each race served up a different winner. Mike Demchenko, Lee McRae, Damon Surzyshyn, Collin Mckee, Andre Toupin and Steve Leiding each collected the checkered flag.
In Studded race 1, Jordan Sharples used his top qualifying time to lead the 9 car field to the green flag. Sharples opened up a healthy lead while Peter Jakabek and class rookie, Alex Dixon battled for second. Jakabek peeled into the pits on lap 4 – serving second up to Dixon. On lap 6, Darin Wach completed a pass on Jamie Gillespie for third position. By lap 10, Sharples had found the fastest line around the track and was already taking on lap traffic. On lap 14, Wach took his car to the pits for the day with mechanical difficulties – handing third spot back to Gillespie. Sharples continued to lead and took the checkered flag well ahead of Dixon in second and Marlene Jakabek, who got by Gillespie late in the race to finish third. Tim Gordienko finished first in the rear wheel drive division.
In Studded race 2, Sharples quickly jumped from row 2 to enter turn 1 three-wide when the green flag dropped. Sharples emerged from turn 2 on point with Dixon and Gillespie settling second and third after a hard fought opening couple laps. On lap 5, Peter Jakabek got by Gillespie in turn 5 to move into third position. There was some excitement in mid pack as class rookie Matt Levielle found himself in and out of the snowbanks at the back of the track, but managed to keep racing. Sharples raced unchallenged to the checkered flag with Dixon finishing second and Peter Jakabek third. Gordienko finished first in the rear wheel drive division.
In Studded race 3, Peter Jakabek used the pole to lead the opening 3 laps as Sharples had an encounter with the turn 3 snowbank – knocking himself back to fifth. However, Sharples recovered and found himself in third spot just 1 lap later after beating Gillespie to the turn 1 entry. Sharples continued to climb and completed a pass on Dixon in turn 1 to move into second. Jakabek held the point until lap 11 when Sharples dove inside to pass on the long straight away to take the lead. On the last lap as Sharples was on his way collecting another win, Dixon, Levielle and Gordienko came together entering turn 1 as Levielle slowed up for Dixon high in the corner and Gordienko had nowhere to go. Sharples earned the win ahead of Dixon and Peter Jakabek. Gordienko finished first in the rear wheel drive division.
In Studded race 4, Peter Jakabek beat Gillespie off the front row to lead early. Sharples got by Gillespie in turn 1 on the second lap to move up to second position. Jakabek held the point until Sharples completed a pass for the lead entering turn 1. A full course stoppage came out moments later as Marlene Jakabek got stranded in the turn 4 snowbank and sat dangerously exposed to oncoming traffic. Race officials wisely pulled her car from danger and Jakabek rejoined the field at the back of the single-file pack. A couple laps after the race went green, another stoppage came out after Levielle stuffed his car into the turn 1 bank at the end of a long straight away. Dixon was following Levielle close in a battle for third and was unable to steer inside – making heavy contact to the rear of Levielle’s car. A lengthly stoppage was needed to get both damaged cars off the track. Both drivers were checked out my medical and were cleared to continue racing. However, Levielle’s car was done for the day. On the single-file restart, Sharples continued to dominate and collected his fourth checkered flag of the day ahead of Peter Jakabek in second and Marlene Jakabek who recovered nicely to finish in third. Gordienko finished first in the rear wheel drive division.
In Studded race 5, Sharples used an outside entry to turn 1 – jumping from fourth to first in a flash. Sharples raced to the checkered flag unchallenged for his fifth consecutive win of the day. Marlene Jakabek finished second ahead of Peter Jakabek in third. Gordienko finished first in the rear wheel drive division.
In Studded race 6, Peter Jakabek grabbed the early lead, but was under attack from Sharples by lap 2. Sharples outdrove Jakabek low exiting turn 2 to move to the point. On lap 3, Dixon appeared to have his damage fixed as he completed a pass on Gillespie inside turn 1 to move into third. By lap 7 Sharples was already lapping traffic as he cruised to his sixth win of the day to sweep the division. Peter Jakabek finished in second and Dixon ended his day with a top 3. Gordienko finished first in the rear wheel drive division.
In Rubber to Ice race 1, Mike Demchenko used his top qualifying run to start on the pole of the 8 car field. Demchenko entered turn 1 each lap in a nice, gradual fade to stay well ahead of Damon Surzyshyn in second. On lap 7, Andre Toupin moved into the top 3 after cutting inside Lee McRae exiting turns 1 and 2. Demchenko stayed on the point for the entire race to collect his first win of the season ahead of Surzyshyn in second and Toupin in third.
In Rubber to Ice race 2, Steve Leiding and Lee McRae battled hard over the opening 2 laps. Eventually, McRae emerged from inside turn 2 with the lead. Leiding held second spot up until lap 11 when reigning class champ, Colin Mckee dove inside exiting turn 1 to move into second position. McRae drove unchallenged to the checkered flag while Mckee finished second ahead of Leiding in third.
In Rubber to Ice race 3, Mike Demchenko inherited the pole starting spot from the previous race’s inversion. Demchenko held a convincing lead while Surzyshyn was trying to hold off pressure from Andre Toupin. Over the last half dozen laps, Demchenko, Surzyshyn and Toupin formed a three-wide battle for the lead. On the second last lap, Surzyshyn snuck inside Demchenko entering turn 4 to move to the point. On the last lap, Demchenko and Toupin made contact after sliding high up turn 1 – which sealed the win for Surzyshyn. Demchenko held on the finish second and Toupin placed third.
In Rubber to Ice race 4, Colin Mckee beat Steve Leiding off the front row to secure the lead. On lap 11, Lee McRae completed a pass on Leiding in turn 3 to move into the top 3. Mckee was able to stay on the point for the entire race to earn his first win of the season. Andre Toupin finished in second ahead of McRae in third.
In Rubber to Ice race 5, Mike Demchenko lost a rear drivers side wheel entering turn 1 in what looked to be a case of loose lug-nuts. After Demchucko was pulled off the track, the field got set for a complete restart. Lee McRae quickly took over the point when the green flag waved until lap 8 when Damon Surzyshyn completed a pass for the lead low in turn 1. Andre Toupin also got by McRae a lap later to move into second. On lap 10, Toupin had caught and passed Surzyshyn for the lead inside turn 3. On lap 12, McRae began applying pressure on second place Surzyshyn which enabled Toupin to set sail and collect his first win of the season. Surzyshyn was able to hold off the pressure from McRae for a second place finish.
In Rubber to Ice race 6, Steve Leiding outdrove Greg Eastwood to the turn 1 entry. While Leiding comfortably settled into the lead, McRae got by Eastwood for second position in turn 5. Surzyshyn picked up 1 spot on lap 3 after completing a pass on Eastwood to move into the top 3. Over the last 5 laps, McRae and Leiding battled back and fourth for the lead. On the white flag lap it looked like McRae had taken the point from Leiding to become the class’s only repeat winner of the day, however, Leiding fought back and regained his lead in the s-turns of corners 3 and 4. Leiding drove out of the final turn with the lead and took the checkered flag for his first win of the season. McRae settled for second ahead of Surzyshyn in third.
Photos from the event can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/thedirtreport
The Winnipeg Sports Car Club returns to action on Sunday, February 7 at Murdock Ski Pond in Winnipeg. The event is free to watch from the comfort of your car. For more information on the Winnipeg Sports Car Club, or how to get involved in Ice Racing, visit them online at www.wscc.mb.ca
Be sure to stay tuned for all the local motorsports action this winter by visiting www.thedirtreport.com – Manitoba’s leader in local race news.
Race Summaries (unofficial)
Race 1 (FWD) – Jordan Sharples, Alex Dixon, Marlene Jakabek, Jamie Gillespie, Matt Levielle, Darin Wach (DNF), Peter Jakabek (DNF).
Race 1 (RWD) – Tim Gordienko, Mario Gagnon (DNF).
Race 2 (FWD) – Jordan Sharples, Alex Dixon, Peter Jakabek, Jamie Gillespie, Matt Levielle.
Race 2 (RWD) – Tim Gordienko, Mario Gagnon.
Race 3 (FWD) – Jordan Sharples, Alex Dixon, Peter Jakabek, Matt Levielle, Jamie Gillespie, Marlene Jakabek.
Race 3 (RWD) – Tim Gordienko, Mario Gagnon (DNF).
Race 4 (FWD) – Jordan Sharples, Peter Jakabek, Marlene Jakabek, Jamie Gillespie, Matt Levielle (DNF), Alex Dixon (DNF).
Race 4 (RWD) – Tim Gordienko.
Race 5 (FWD) – Jordan Sharples, Marlene Jakabek, Peter Jakabek, Jamie Gillespie.
Race 5 (RWD) – Tim Gordienko.
Race 6 (FWD) – Jordan Sharples, Peter Jakabek, Alex Dixon, Jamie Gillespie, Marlene Jakabek.
Race 6 (RWD) – Tim Gordienko.
Rubber to Ice
Race 1 – Mike Demchenko, Damon Surzyshyn, Andre Toupin, Lee McRae, Colin Mckee, Steve Leiding, Greg Eastwood, Chris Dueck.
Race 2 – Lee McRae, Colin Mckee, Steve Leiding, Andre Toupin, Damon Surzyshyn, Mike Demchenko, Greg Eastwood, Chris Dueck.
Race 3 – Damon Surzyshyn, Mike Demchenko, Andre Toupin, Steve Leiding, Colin Mckee, Greg Eastwood, Lee McRae (DNF), Chris Dueck (DNF).
Race 4 – Colin Mckee, Andre Toupin, Lee McRae, Steve Leiding, Mike Demchenko, Damon Surzyshyn, Chris Duek, Greg Eastwood.
Race 5 – Andre Toupin, Damon Surzyshyn, Lee McRae, Steve Leiding, Greg Eastwood, Chris Dueck, Colin Mckee (DNF).
Race 6 – Steve Leiding, Lee McRae, Damon Surzyshyn, Andre Toupin, Colin Mckee, Mike Demchenko, Chris Dueck, Greg Eastwood.