I have known about Ice racing in Georgetown for years but this year was the first that I have participated. I was fortunate to have a good friend, Jon Coln, that was motivating to the point of letting me borrow his wheels/tires to go play on the ice. So lets give a bit of an idea of what Georgetown Ice racing is all about.
The Ice racing at Georgetown is organized through a group called Our Gang Ice Racing. They are a group of Jeep guys/gals primarily that have been racing up there for many years. This is a close knit group of families that all race together. Mothers, daughters, fathers and sons all have turns behind the wheel. Everyone has responsibilities besides their races as well. There are people who set up the track, others who manage registration, some who run the races and others who help keep everything organized. Overall it is a fun group who just want to go out and play with some big kid toys. I have been going to the meetings as well and this is a really fun group of people. I thought I’d feel like an outsider, but they were incredibly welcoming and pretty much excited that I was willing to go to their meetings.
When Jon and I went out there the first time we were met with a bit of disbelief. The suby with the studs was a big hit with the locals. We would pull up in line and the officials would mention that “everyones asking about the ‘subaru with the roof rack on it.'” Every time we stopped the car people would come and check out the studs and ask us where we got them. The next time we headed up both of us had studs and they got a bit pickier about the legality of them by their rules. The studs that Jon had were a little outside of the rules which indicated that in a 7-1/8 inch circle you may have 20 studs or less. Jon’s wheels had 30 studs in a 7-1/8 circle. It seems that at first they were willing to let him race anyway since the tires were only 5 inches wide and all the comp Jeeps have tires that are 12 inches wide. In addition they figured the Comp jeeps are lighter with more horsepower and purpose build braking helps them get around corners faster. Unfortunately one of the other drivers questioned the tires and based on the count he had to switch out. This put him and I on Continental Contact Ice racing tires. These tires have 17mm studs (rather than 20mm studs) and have them at a density of approximately 15 studs in a 7-1/8 inch circle. We are going to propose an amendment to the rule at the preseason meeting however that asks for a count of the number of studs contacting the ice rather than the number within a set circle. (the comp Jeeps have, at my count, 36+ studs on the ground at any given time)
Ok enough of the technical talk. Lets get to the fun stuff!
Friday I went up to the lake for their Practice day aka a fun day. The practice days are just a free for all. You can race anyone and you can run as many laps as you can bring yourself to run. My co-worker Stephen came out. He had raced once before and has gotten the bug as well. This time Dave Kern came up to join us. Dave is an actual professional driver and a very impressive one as well. In addition to those two guys Matt from BikeRadar came up to join us as well. Matt was doing a review on a set of Dugast studded tubular tires and this was a fun way to compare them. We arrived up on the lake and switched out tires. I had a chance to go ride along with Stephen in his pristine 325ix. This thing is so nice inside and out and it is nearly 25 years old! After racing in the bimmer we took my car out for a spin. the studs just tear into the ice and it is quite an eye opener when you experience it for the first time.
Eventually Jon got out on the ice as well and we had a chance to race, then Dave arrived as well. Dave didn’t have a car to drive so I let him drive mine around. He was great with tips and pointers every time I drove. and when he drove it was fun just to watch the lightning fast movements that he was doing to constantly control every aspect of the car. We battled with my ABS and hoped to turn it off, but unfortunately had trouble getting that to happen.
Throughout the day I was playing with my new GoPro HD camera. This is also a fun toy…for me at least. But I had a good time finding angles that would look good on camera. I put together a little video from that footage as well.
I put a quick vid up of Dave driving as well, this one you can hear the engine just screaming!
At the end of the day I had logged over 9.5 miles of driving at full throttle on the ice. This is in 1/4 mile increments since each track is probably 1/4 to 1/3rd of a mile. We maxed out at 35.1 miles an hour as well, which I would say is pretty impressive considering how small the courses are and how tight they are as well.
We even had a couple fans. While I was in the pit I talked to a couple people who pulled off the highway to come check it out and were drawn to the fast subies on the studs!
This was the last weekend for racing this year. There is actually plenty of Ice up there, but this was the championship weekend so the next race will be on New Years day…I CAN’T WAIT!