Nick Pratt shares what Canadian vintage racers turn to, during the cold winter months.
My brief foray into ice racing came to an abrupt halt last year after main bearing failure in Richard Poxon’s 2004 Chevy Aveo, so I was pleasantly surprised to receive a call from him in the late fall about a new ride.
With the untimely death of Peter Jackson in October, Aileen Ashman was looking to sell their 1984 Honda Civic, which they had co-driven last season. This car used to race in the old Honda Michelin series. Brian Thomas put Richard in touch with Aileen and arrangements were made for he and I to pick the car up on a very snowy Saturday – so apropos really. We debuted the car at the first event of the season hosted by BARC at the Minden Fairgrounds on a rather balmy -2C Saturday in late January. “In Memory of Peter Jackson” decals had been added to honor his passing.
We elected to go with the rubber to ice class (sub-classes being front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive) vs. studs to ice (with same sub classes).
Specified snow tires are chewed up to a shag carpet consistency by an ominous sounding “tractionizer” to provide extra grip. You can usually find someone at the track willing to lend or rent you one of these beasties.
For $85 we got three races each plus a five-lap practice. Sundays are even cheaper as racing doesn’t start until noon and you get two races for $65. Quite a bargain compared to CASC Regionals!
Rookies get shepherded around by experienced drivers on Saturdays at the lunch break, then do a few laps on their own, then it’s immediately into the afternoon races. We did our rookie “season” last year and John DeMaria, who will join us to drive as well, will do his on the TLMC weekend. As only two drivers are allowed to register we have drawn up a roster where each of us will drive for four Saturdays. The season is only six weekends long with a rain date weekend added just in case.
The car performed admirably on its maiden voyage for its new owners. I managed a 4th, 2nd and 2nd in the three races and came tantalizingly close to the leader, one George McCullough, in the final race but that wily old fox with lots of ice racing experience, and I suspect better tires, won out. I got a chance to use my new GoPro camera for the first time and you can check out my final two races on YouTube here:
Rubber to ice racing is a bit like watching paint dry but the in-car experience is a real blast. Car control is everything – a really gentle foot on the throttlle and brake, keeping the wheels straight, minimal shifts and picking the right, constantly changing line – will get you to the pointy end. And at times it’s somewhat analogous to billiards with the old one (snow) bank and in, the “in” in this case being the apex of the first corner after the front straight.
If you’re looking for a winter fix for the road racing blues, ice racing is a no brainer. It requires a Driver C CASC license, no medical, only a Snell helmet post-2005 and a cheap car (that has to be scrutineered).
For more information contact the CASC Ice Race Director, Jonathan Rashleigh at email@example.com.
Essence Of CASC Ice Racing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LtnN05LeCF4
More from Mobil 1 The Grid here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2vxin2sDwc