The Art of Ice Racing

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to get out and race your UTV but the thought of costs and commitment are overwhelming…depending on the type of racing this can be very true.   Ice racing is an excellent opportunity to get out with your UTV, make some friends with common interests and a great way to test your racing skills without breaking the bank. The Canadian UTV racing scene is blowing up, entries were up at every race this season.  And while the ice racing season is over for the year, it is never too early to start thinking about next year.  Get your machine loaded up and come out for some fun!

Photo: Second Gear Club Oval Ice Races in Central Alberta

The first few races that we participated in during the 2016 season we took a stock RZR 800 out and a stock Wildcat Trail and had an absolute blast. We even placed with the Wildcat, behind a turbo RZR and a Yamaha YXZ. This shows that in some classes the size of machine has very little influence on your position. The other racers are all there to have fun, most are willing to give pointers and tips on lessons they have learned over the years of shredding ice!  Not one machine is alike at the ice races; everyone has different strategy on grabbing the most traction. Studding tires for ice is an art form, there are several styles of studs to choose from, some are longer, some are double edged, some screw through the tire with a nut on back, some have a single pick and are directional which can be focused on forward traction or side traction for steering control. Ride height can also be adjusted, some machines are slammed for lowest center of gravity, others left with some suspension travel to allow the machine to flew its weight towards the outside shifting the weight of the machine to where it is needed. Tire sizes are not consistent at all because what may be a winning combo one day may not work as well another day with altering temperatures. Rim sizing can play on your traction also, larger rims with less tire side wall will allow for less tire flex in the corner giving a tighter feeling for the driver when flying into turns.  The non-studded class is quickly becoming a driver’s favorite due to how challenging finding traction can be. Many are using modified car winter tires and are having great results. Some competitors have gone to the lengths of extending their chassis for better handling, shaving tread from the tires to save rotating mass from areas of the tire that will not be making contact with the ice. The most extensive modification we have seen at the ice races this year was a couple of RZR’s with snowmobile swapped 4 stroke turbo motors crammed into the OEM engines location.  So get creative and come out and join the races!

 Photo: Studs on Ice by Wapiti Off-Road in Fort St. John & Grande Prairie courtesy of BKP Photos

The winter months can be long, dark and downright depressing! But I can honestly say that it is very hard not to enjoy winter when you are racing your UTV on the ice? Load your machine up and head out to your local ice races.  If you would like more info on racing events close to you give me a call or check out the Events Page on the UTV Canada website.

by Mark Meyer