Steven Bradley, Winnipeg, Manitoba (January 6) The Winnipeg Sports Car Club (WSCC) officially kicked off their 2019 Ice Racing season this past weekend at Lake Shirley Water Ski Pond located on Murdock Road inside the east edge of Winnipeg. Breezy, but mild weather conditions were ideal for the nine competitors who looked to start their new year off right.
On Saturday the club held a school for racers looking to dip their toe in the world of ice racing. Judging by the size of the smiles on these new racers, it was a huge success – and it won’t be long until they are seen on Sunday race days.
Over 100 spectator vehicles took in Sunday’s race action as they were served up a full day of motorsports – featuring 12 races between studded and rubber divisions.
Damon Surzyshyn swept all 6 races in the Rubber to Ice division, while Al Marcoux collected wins in 5 of the 6 Studded races. Lee McRae won the last Studded race of the day after a great race-long battle with Marcoux and paid tribute to his late father, Johnny McRae with an honorary victory lap.
In Studded race 1, Al Marcoux led the 4 car pack to green and set a blistering pace. Lee McRae quickly got by Greg Eastwood and Trevor Hudey to climb into second. It took just 6 laps for leader, Marcoux to lap the fourth place car of Eastwood and open a half-lap lead on McRae, as Marcoux was running 33 second laps. On lap 15, Marcoux lapped the entire field after getting by the second place car of McRae in turn 4. Marcoux easily hung on to open his season with a win. McRae finished in second ahead of Hudey in third.
In Studded race 2, the front row paring of Greg Eastwood and Trevor Hudey got overtaken in turns 2 and 3 after sliding wide on the opening lap. Lee McRae moved to the point with Al Marcoux hot on his tail. On lap 2 McRae scrubbed off speed after clipping the inside banking, which allowed Marcoux to squeeze by and take the lead. Marcoux and McRae began lapping the other competitors – and on lap 17 were shown the checkers early after Eastwood found himself nosed into the outer turn 2 bank with time nearly expired. Marcoux earned his second consecutive win ahead of McRae, with Hudey rounding out the top 3.
In Studded race 3, Marcoux climbed from last to first on the opening lap and McRae followed him into second position. Eastwood made his way to the pits after his first circuit as the car barely managed to sputter up the hill. As Marcoux led McRae through the opening 13 laps, Trevor Hudey found himself stuck in the turn 2 bank – nose first. After yellow flag conditions were pulled and Hudey was towed out of trouble, the field completed 5 more laps. Marcoux scored his third win in a row with McRae finishing second ahead of Hudey in third.
In Studded race 4, Marcoux once again blew by the field as McRae got by Hudey on the opening lap to secure second spot. By lap 9, Marcoux put Eastwood down a lap entering turns 2 and 3. At this time, McRae began limping around the track and made his way to the pits with reports of a flat tire. On lap 13, Marcoux put the second place car of Hudey down a lap and easily scored his fourth consecutive win. Hudey finished second ahead of Eastwood in third.
In Studded race 5, Trevor Hudey used the outside line to overtake pole-sitter Greg Eastwood for the lead. Hudey’s lead was short-lived as Marcoux completed a pass low entering turn 2 for the point. With McRae sitting out this race, Marcoux completed a full circuit on the 3-car field and put second place Hudey down a lap on the 18th lap. Marcoux collected his fifth win of the day ahead of Hudey in second, and Eastwood in third.
In Studded race 6, it was the best battle of the day. Lee McRae led the 4-car field to green and was soon under attack from Al Marcoux. McRae and Marcoux raced the entire segment within a car length of each other – and by lap 13 had put the third place car of Trevor Hudey down a lap. In an amazing display of driving abilities, McRae and Marcoux throttled through both hairpin corners at each end of the track within inches of each other. When the checkered flag dropped, McRae managed to edge Marcoux to the line and grab his first win of the 2019 season. Hudey finished third ahead of Eastwood in fourth. In a tribute to his father Johnny, Lee saluted his recently passed life hero with a victory lap – checkered flag in hand, pointed to the heavens. It was a great way to end the day, and an amazing race to watch.
In Rubber race 1, Morris Drysdale beat front row partner, Damon Surzyshyn to the point. With leaders running 50 second lap times, Surzyshyn began pressuring Drysdale for the lead. However, on lap 7 Surzyshyn clipped the inside turn 2 bank and took a spin before continuing on. Everything was pointing towards a win for Drysdale, but on lap 9 he had an encounter with the inner turn 2 banking and got sent spinning. This erased the lead he had built as Surzyshyn closed the gap on the leader. Drysdale scrubbed off some speed on the outer turn 2 bank over the next 2 laps – which put Surzyshyn and Tim Gordienko right on his back bumper. Over the next few laps all three racers were side-by-side exiting turn 3. Eventually, on lap 14 Surzyshyn used the inside line exiting turn 3 to steal the lead. Surzyshyn maintained the point for the remaining 2 laps to score his first win of the season. Drysdale finished in second ahead of Gordienko in third.
In Rubber race 2, Morris Drysdale beat Tim Gordienko to the lead as Damon Surzyshyn settled into third. On lap 2, Surzyshyn completed a pass on Gordienko for second low entering turn 2. Drysdale held the lead until lap 11 when he scrubbed the outside turn 5/6 bank – which opened the door for Surzyshyn to make an inside pass for the lead. Surzyshyn scored his second win in a row while Drysdale finished second, ahead of Tim Gordienko in third.
In Rubber race 3, Tim Gordienko used the inside line entering turn 3 to beat Morris Drysdale to the point while Damon Surzyshyn and Johnny Armatas, who was piloting Mike Demchenko’s car for the weekend, got by Drysdale on the back half of the track to form second and third. A yellow flag slowed racing after rookie Manuel Fetzel spun and stalled in front of traffic entering turn 2. On the restart Gordienko continued to lead with Surzyshyn and Armatas applying pressure in second and third. On lap 15, Surzyshyn outdrove Gordienko low exiting turn 3 and took over the lead. Surzyshyn maintained the lead to collect his third consecutive win. Gordienko finished second ahead of Drysdale in third.
In Rubber race 4, Tim Gordienko quickly grabbed the lead while Damon Surzyshyn and Morris Drysdale fought over second spot. After a bit of light side contact, Surzyshyn emerged with the runner up position. On lap 6, Surzyshyn caught and passed Gordienko for the lead exiting turn 4. Surzyshyn remained on point and scored his fourth consecutive win of the day. Gordienko finished second while Drysdale, despite spinning on lap 11, managed to cross the checkers in third.
In Rubber race 5, Tim Gordienko used the outside line to secure the lead as Morris Drysdale settled into second position. On lap 11, Damon Surzyshyn overtook Drysdale for second spot in turns 5 and 6. On lap 12, a caution slowed race pace after Manuel Fetzel hit the outer brim hard – dislodging the back hatch of his car and stalled on the track. When green flag racing resumed, Gordienko continued to lead. On lap 12, Surzyshyn caught and passed the first and second place cars in a single move low exiting turn 3 to move into the lead. Gordienko put up a fight through the back half of the track trying to regain the point. However, Surzyshyn successfully fought off the pressure and collected his fifth consecutive win of the day. Gordienko settled for second ahead of Drysdale in third.
In Rubber race 6, Morris Drysdale led the opening lap, but stuffed his car into the outer turn 3 snowbank – surrendering the lead to Damon Surzyshyn who dominated the restart. Over the next 18 laps, Surzyshyn opened a half-lap lead on second place Tim Gordienko to make it a clean sweep of the Rubber division. Gordienko finished his day with a second place finish while Johnny Artmatas placed third.
The 5-circuit ice tour continues with its next stop in Beausejour, Manitoba during the Canadian Power Toboggan Championship on the weekend of January 19th and 20th. The WSCC plans to run on the same ice oval as the sleds – so expect to see great high-speed door-to-door action. For more information about the WSCC or for schedule updates, visit the club online at www.wscc.mb.ca