Steven Bradley, Winnipeg Beach (February 16) The Winnipeg Sports Car Club (WSCC) ice tour made a rare, one day stop on the frozen shores of Winnipeg Beach this past weekend. As a headline to the Winnipeg Beach Winter Festival, the sports car club tore into the icy half mile road course. Situated just a few hundred meters off the famous boardwalk, spectators witnessed their summer beach getaway turned into a competitive, high speed motorsports track. With no wind and sunny skies, the minus 15 degree weather was perfect for a day for everyone in attendance.
In the Studded division, Al Marcoux collected 4 wins to increase his season point standings. We also saw Greg Eastwood and Dean Smith each grab a win for the first time this season. In the Rubber class, Mike Demchenko put an end to Damon Surzyshyn’s 19 race winning streak as they each swapped a trio of checkered flags.
In Studded race 1, Lee McRae used the outside front row to jump to the early lead. Some contact between the leader and second place Al Marcoux sent McRae into the outer bank of turn 5. McRae managed to dislodge himself without the need of a tow truck and continued racing. On lap 4, Greg Eastwood got by Marcoux in turn 3 to take over the lead. Marcoux stayed glued to the leader’s back bumper and eventually regained the point after a pass in turn 1 on lap 6. On lap 8, McRae took his car to the pits. A caution slowed race pace on lap 10 after Mat Leveille parked his new racer on the outer brim of turn 2. Under caution, Marcoux fell off the pace and Eastwood put a lap on the second place competitor before Marcoux took his car to the pits. When green flag racing resumed, Eastwood managed to keep his car running for the remaining laps and collect his first win of the year. Leveille finished in second ahead of Marcoux and McRae who both earned DNFs.
In Studded race 2, Al Marcoux quickly moved into the lead after starting on the front outside row. Polesitter McRae only lasted a lap before experiencing a broken axle, which brought out the yellow and ended his day early. On the restart, Marcoux continued to lead as Eastwood secured second position. Mat Leveille stole second spot from Eastwood in turn 3 on the fourth lap and looked to bite into Marcoux’s lead. After 16 laps, Marcoux had built up a half lap lead to collect his first win of the day. Leveille finished in second ahead of Eastwood in third.
In Studded race 3, Greg Eastwood coughed up the lead after parking his car in the turn 1 snowbank. Mat Leveille took advantage of the restart to take over the point. On lap 2, Al Marcoux got by Eastwood in turn 2 to move into second. It only took Marcoux 2 more laps to catch and pass Leveille for the lead as they exited turn 5. Marcoux opened a huge lead and collected his second win in a row. Leveille finished second while Eastwood rounded out the top 3.
In Studded race 4, Mat Leveille used the outside front row to take the early lead. Al Marcoux climbed into the runner up position after squeezing by Greg Eastwood exiting turn 5 on the fourth lap. On lap 8, Marcoux pulled up beside Leveille as the pair raced by the finish line. Marcoux beat Leveille into turn 1 and took the lead. Eastwood found himself hung up in the banks of turn 2 which slowed race pace in order to get a tow truck out and pull him to safety. On the restart, Marcoux easily secured the lead and the win 5 second in front of Leveille. Dean Smith rounded out the top 3.
In Studded race 5, Dean Smith quickly jumped from second to the lead on the opening circuit – and by lap 6 opened a half lap lead. On lap 6, Al Marcoux drove by the 2 cars ahead of his to climb into second through turns 4 and 5. The field slowly began biting into Smith’s lead, however time ran out before Smith crossed the finish line to collect his first win of the season. Marcoux finished in second ahead of Leveille in third.
In Studded race 6, Al Marcoux picked up 2 spots on the opening lap to grab the lead. Dean Smith also passed 2 cars to climb from fourth to second on the third lap after getting by Mat Leveille and Greg Eastwood. Leveille took his car to the pits on lap 7 and the field spread out. Marcoux grabbed his fourth win of the day, 2 seconds in front of Smith. Eastwood rounded out the top 3.
In Rubber race 1, Damon Surzyshyn used the pole to take the early lead. In the opening 3 laps, Surzyshyn, Mike Demchenko and Tim Gordienko raced within a car length of each other in a very tight 3-car pack. On lap 11 after much pressure, Demchenko managed to squeeze by Surzyshyn for the lead exiting turn 2. However, just 3 laps later Surzyshyn fought back and regained the lead after a pass exiting turn 2. Surzyshyn managed to stay on the point for the remainder of the race to collect his first win of the day, and 19th consecutive win of the season. Demchenko finished in second in front of Gordienko in third.
In Rubber race 2, Steve Leiding used the outside front row to take the early lead. Leiding managed to hold off traffic for 2 laps until Mike Demchenko dove under him entering turn 1 to steal the lead. Leiding fell to third position after Damon Surzyshyn outdrove him in the exit of turn 2. Demchenko stayed in front for the remaining 13 laps to score his first win of the season and put an end to Surzyshyn’s win streak. Surzyshyn finished in second ahead of Leiding in third.
In Rubber race 3, Damon Surzyshyn quickly passed 3 cars to move into the lead on the opening circuit. On lap 2, Tim Gordienko drove under Manuel Fetzel who opened the door exiting turn 5 and moved into second position. On lap 6, Fetzel fell out of the top 3 after Steve Leiding completed a pass in turn 4. Nothing more changed as Surzyshyn earned his second win of the day – 10 seconds in front of Gordienko. Leiding rounded out the top 3.
In Rubber race 4, a quick caution fell on the opening lap which found Manuel Fetzel hung up in turn 2. On the restart, Mike Demchenko inherited the lead with Steve Leiding in hot pursuit. On lap 8, Damon Surzyshyn got by Leiding exiting turn 5 to move into second position. Surzyshyn ate into Demchenko’s 7 second lead, but ran out of time. Demchenko collected the checkered flag just 2 seconds ahead of Surzyshyn. Leiding rounded out the top 3.
In Rubber race 5, Tim Gordienko lead the opening 2 circuits from the pole until Damon Surzyshyn completed a pass exiting turn 2. Gordienko fell another position after Mike Demchenko got by beating him into the entry of turn 1. The battle for second continued over the next 2 laps as the pair raced side-by-side. That battle ended on lap 4 when Gordienko found himself lodged into the turn 2 bank, which required a caution and a tow truck. On the restart, Surzyshyn continued to lead and hung on to collect his third win of the day. Demchenko finished in second ahead of Leiding in third.
In Rubber race 6, Tim Gordienko lead the opening 2 laps until he slipped high into turn 1 and slammed hard into the outer bank – opening the door for Damon Surzyshyn to take over the lead during the caution. On the restart, Mike Demchenko secured second while Gordienko recovered to run in the top 3. Demchenko began applying pressure on the leader, and on lap 9 managed to dive under Surzyshyn low entering turn 4 to move to the point. Demchenko remained out in front for the remaining laps and collected his third win of the day. Surzyshyn finished 3 seconds back in second while Gordienko rounded out the top 3.
Heading into the last weekend, it looks like Al Marcoux and Damon Surzyshyn are poised to earn championship by simply finishing their races. The battles will be mainly over second spot in the 2 divisions.
The WSCC wraps up their 5-event season in Gimli beside the harbour on March 2nd and 3rd during the annual Gimli Ice Festival. This event always serves up excitement for local race fans. For more information on the final event, how to get involved in ice racing or anything related to local motorsports, visit them online at www.wscc.mb.ca