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Thursday, February 05, 2009

Ice Racing 

Who needs snowed-under roads to be gritted and covered in salt? A group of ice bikers at Thunder Bay, Lake Superior, Canada, show how it's done in this video from Tacoma White (tacomawhite).



To accompany the video, Tacoma provides an informative description about the sport, which I reproduce below,
"Short video on a cold day of Motorcycle Ice Racing on Lake Superior. A steady group of 15 riders that frequent the track on Lake Superior in front of the Lakeview Lodge on Lakeshore Drive, continuing a practice in Thunder Bay that dates back 30 years. They race on the ice from the end of January to the beginning of April with modified dirt bikes and specialized safety equipment.
To safely run speeds of up to 85 mph requires the obvious safety gear for personal protection including a tether kill switch to prevent the bikes studded tires from grinding up a rider with engine running. Extended fenders help prevent similar injuries. Regular motocross boots are important not only for cornering but for protection should the rider put his foot into the spokes. Safety equipment works apparently as there have been no fatalities for decades.
Other than the obvious $600 set of studded tires, the dirt bikes carburetors are jetted richer, engine blocks are covered with foil, and radiators are partly covered to cope with the cold winter air. 2 stroke engines are more sensitive to temperature changes than four strokes but worth the effort for the power to weight ratio they provide, not to mention the distinctive angry sound. A softer and sometimes lower suspension will better cope with the higher speeds and smaller bumps on the ice compared with a dirt track."

Tacoma has also uploaded a 10 minute video of the four wheeled variety of ice racing.

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