Steven Bradley, Winnipeg, Manitoba (February 5) The Winnipeg Sports Car Club (WSCC) hosted the third installment of the 2017 Winnipeg Truck Exhaust Ice Racing Tour this past weekend on the frozen surface of Murdock Water Ski Park. In stark contrast to last event’s cancellation, temps were perfect for racing at minus 20 degrees with little wind.
On Saturday racers tested the freshly cut track that included appearances from Time Attack and WSCC Drifters who tried their hands at ice racing. Judging from the size of the smile that graced their face, they may soon be regulars in one of the 2 ice racing divisions.
Ice racers made full use of the pond during the only visit to that location this year – giving spectators all kinds of action to watch. The 1km track was designed with a 400 meter front straight away and a set of 3 challenging turns forming a set of s-curves on the back half of the track. Drivers reported hitting 110kmh down the front stretch in the Rubber to Ice class, and up to 130kmh in the Studded division.
Damon Surzyshyn expanded his points lead by collecting 4 of the 6 wins in the Rubber to Ice division while Mike Demchenko claimed the other 2 victories and moved up to second in championship points. Colin Mckee narrowed the points gap by winning 3 of the 6 races in the Studded series. Lee McRae, Jordan Sharples and Peter Jakabek each collected victories in the remaining 3 races.
In Studded race 1, Lee McRae used the pole to secure the lead while Jordan Sharples got by Peter Jakabek on the front stretch of lap 4 to move into the top 3. By lap 8, McRae was starting to encounter lap traffic. McRae easily collected his first win of the weekend, while Colin Mckee and Jordan Sharples rounded out the top 3.
In Studded race 2, Jordan Sharples used the wide line to jump from fourth to first in the opening corner. Lee McRae picked up 3 spots on lap 4 after getting by Peter Jakabek exiting turn 2. Sharples continued charging towards the front after getting by Jamie Gilespie on the front stretch to secure the second position. Colin Mckee moved into the top 3 after getting by Gilespie exiting turn 2. As the race wore down, Jakabek and Wayne Kehler both scored DNFs after getting hung up on snow banks at each end of the race track. Sharples easily earned his first win of the season ahead of McRae in second, while Mckee and Gilespie were the only other cars to finish the race under their own power.
In Studded race 3, Colin Mckee jumped from fourth to first as the field exited turn 2 as Peter Jakabek settled into second position. On lap 2, Sharples got by Jakabek for second, but made contact with the turn 1 bank – handing Jakabek his position back as Sharples dropped back to fourth. On lap 3, Jakabek parked himself into the turn 1 snowbank and surrendered second position as Mckee opened up a huge lead. On lap 4, Sharples completed a pass on Jamie Gilespie exiting turn 7 and began cutting into Mckee’s lead. Lee McRae also began charging to the front after a pass on Gilespie down the front stretch to move into the top 3. On lap 11 McRae began reeling in Sharples for second, however red flag conditions halted racing when Sharples got too close to the inner s-curves and hooked his back wheels over the brim. Momentum pulled the rest of Sharples’ car over the bank sideways and sent his car airborne for 2-3 nasty barrel rolls. Sharples’ car came to rest on the driver’s side door and paramedics were quickly on scene. After the driver was safely removed from the car under his own power and sporting a neck brace, the scene was cleaned up and the race was called. Mckee was scored with a win, while McRae, Gilespie and Wayne Kehler were the only other cars to finish under their own power. Sharples was taken to HSC by ambulance with reported neck pain.
In Studded race 4, Peter Jakabek secured the lead from the pole while Wayne Kehler and Lee McRae formed the top 3. On lap 3, McRae completed a pass on Kehler for second entering turn 1. Kehler fell another position on lap 4 when Colin Mckee got by driving out of turn 2. Nothing more changed as Jakabek scored his first victory of the 2017 season. McRae finished in second while Mckee and Kehler were the only other cars to take the checkered flag.
In Studded race 5, Colin Mckee used the pole to take the early lead while Peter Jakabek got by McRae for second on the front stretch on lap 2. McRae began slowing and took his car to the pits with mechanical issues and packed up for the day. On lap 4, Wayne Kehler joined the field late, but would be rewarded for doing so as he collected a third place finish. Mckee went on the earn his second win of the afternoon ahead of Jakabek who finished second.
In Studded race 6, Peter Jakabek used the outside lane to grab the lead heading into turn 1. Mckee stayed glued to the leaders back bumper for the opening 6 laps and finally made a move to the inside line drag racing down the front stretch. Jakabek and Mckee raced hard into turn 1, but Jakabek wasn’t able to hold the outside line at such high speeds and stuffed his car sideways into the turn 1 wall. Mckee pulled away from his stranded competitor and sailed away to an easy victory. Wayne Kehler was the only other car running as he scored a second place finish to end his weekend.
In Rubber to Ice race 1, Damon Surzyshyn used the pole to jump out to a big lead. By lap 4, the leader was already starting to encounter lap traffic – which narrowed the gap between he and second place Andre Toupin. On lap 7, Tim Gordienko got hung up on the outer brim in turn 1 and remained parked there for the remainder of the race. Surzyshyn raced unchallenged to the checkers and collected his first win of the day. Toupin finished second ahead of Mike Demchenko in third.
In Rubber to Ice race 2, Andre Toupin used an outside front row starting spot to beat Steve Leiding to the point. On lap 2, Mike Demchenko and Damon Surzyshyn knocked Bryce Stewart out of the top 3 after passing in turn 1. Just 2 laps later, Demchencko completed a pass on second place Leiding and set his eyes on the leader. Surzyshyn climbed into the top 3 after driving by Leiding down the long front stretch on lap 7. After a couple laps of pressure, Demchenko snuck by Toupin in the s-curves to take over the lead. Toupin fell another spot on lap 11 when Surzyshyn completed a pass exiting turn 2. Just when it looked like Demchenko had his first win of the day sealed, officials pulled him off track due to a hanging exhaust pipe after a run through a snowbank broke off the bracket. With just 3 laps remaining, Surzyzhyn inherited the lead and held on to win his second race of the day. Toupin finished in second ahead of Leiding in third.
In Rubber to Ice race 3, Tim Gordienko led the first 2 circuits from the pole until he surrendered this position when he slid straight over turn 1. Looking to pass on the outside line, Steve Leiding had nowhere to go and found himself stuck in the same snowbank. This handed the lead over to Mike Demchenko who was in third. Over the next 10 laps, Demchenko was under attack from Damon Surzyshyn who was trying to sneak by from second. Demchenko successfully protected the inside line and collected his first win of the day. Surzyshyn finished in second while Jim Antosko, Jared Halpin and Bryce Stewart rounded out the top 5.
In Rubber to Ice race 4, Damon Surzyshyn jumped from fourth to first after driving up the middle of the first 2 rows. On lap 2, Mike Demchenko got by Tim Gordienko in the s-curves to secure second position. Demchenko caught the leader and started applying pressure. On lap 10 it looked like Demchenko would steal the lead entering turn 1, however Surzyshyn made the inside line stick and was able to maintain the point. Surzyshyn collected his third win of the day while Demchenko settled for second. Gordienko, Jared Halpin and Jim Antosko each finished in the top 5.
In Rubber to Ice race 5, Steve Leiding used the pole to take the early lead while Damon Surzyshyn got by Tim Gordienko for third position on the front stretch. Leiding held the point for the opening 8 laps until Mike Demchenko outraced the leader exiting turn 7 and moved to the point – bringing Damon Surzyshyn with him into second. On lap 12, it looked like Surzysyhn would make a pass for the lead, but a yellow flag for Bryce Stewart interrupted those plans – as drivers are not permitted to pass under yellow. On the last lap and after the yellow flag had been lifted, Surzyshyn managed to get a fender on Demchenko low in turn 6. Demechenko attempted a cross-over and looked like it might work until Surzyshyn slammed the door shut. The battle for the lead continued down the long front stretch and Surzyshyn was able to narrowly collect the win. Demchenko finished in second and Leiding placed third.
In Rubber to Ice race 6, Tim Gordienko used the pole to lead the first half of the race. As a 3-way battle for the lead heated up through the s-curves, rookie Jared Halpin got his first taste of clean air after Gordienko clipped the outer brim and dropped back to third. Halpin held the lead until 2 laps remained, however could not hold off Mike Demchenko who drove by the leader exiting turn 2. Demchenko maintained the point for the last 2 laps and collected his second win of the day. Halpin finished a personal best of second, while Damon Surzyshyn, Tim Gordienko and Jim Antosko ended their weekends with top 5 placings.
The WSCC Fire on Ice Racing Tour invades Portage la Prairie’s Crescent Lake on February 18th and 19th for their second-to-last event on the 2017 schedule. For more information on the upcoming event, on the Winnipeg Sports Car Club, or how to get involved in racing, visit them online at www.wscc.mb.ca