TOP GEAR - From right

Gull Lake Oval Ice Races a success this year

The Second Gear Club hosted their annual Gull Lake Oval Ice Race on Gull Lake near Rimbey on Sunday.

By Zachary Cormier

It was a fun day of racing on Gull Lake this past Valentine’s Day.

The Second Gear Club hosted their annual Gull Lake Oval Ice Race on Gull Lake near Rimbey on Sunday, allowing racers from all over the province to come test their skills.

“It’s sort of tradition. We don’t want to see the sport disappear. Oval ice racing has been in existence since the mid-70s, so it’s definitely a traditional sport here in Alberta,” said Rhonda Pechout, who is the event coordinator for the Second Gear Club.

As the name implies, oval ice racing takes place on a large oval race track on top of a frozen lake. Riders compete in a number of classes, including two-stroke and four-stroke bike classes and studded and non-studded ATV classes.

This year’s race, Pechout said, is the 10th the club has put on at Gull Lake over their 17 years of existence.

“It’s an official, sanctioned event through the Canadian Motorcycle Association, so each event accumulates points for an overall championship at the end of the year.”

According to Pechout, the club normally tries to put on between four and five ice races every year.

“We’ve had a couple of tough years due to lack of ice, but this year we’ve got good ice and we’re back rocking and rolling with it.”

About 100 racers and 500 spectators made the trip out to the northern part of Gull Lake in the unusually warm February weather to participate in a day full of racing and socializing.

“This is a fantastic spot to come and race and the other races in the series were at Pigeon Lake, so this is our third one now,” said Brian Roberts, a Blackfalds-based rider who races predominantly in the studded bike classes.

This is Roberts’ first year racing in the Oval Ice series, though he has competed in Hare Scramble events with the Second Gear Club and Rocky Motorcycle Club.

“We’re hooked. It’s fun. It’s too fun,” he laughed, adding that the opportunity to continue to race during the winter is a welcome one.

“That’s kind of the neatest thing about this, you know? You can buy a toy, like a bike like this, and you can play all year.”

According to Roberts, racing on a slick ice surface on a dirt bike is actually fairly similar to driving on dry asphalt, as long as you have the right equipment.

“With the studs that we’re running it’s almost like running on dry pavement,” he said, motioning towards the tires on his bike. Each of them has large, metal spikes covering its surface to dig into the ice.

“The traction is unbelievable. We’re taking them corners in and around 100 kilometres an hour and it’s holding that. You would have to be on a pretty good sport bike to do the same thing.”

Not only do the riders go into the sharp, oval corners at high speeds, they are also often surrounded by three to four other riders trying to do the exact same thing.

“As the day wears on, it gets rough and there’s snow on the track from the giant margarita makers here. You’ve got to watch that for traction, but if you can get on good ice, you’ve got lots of traction,” Roberts said, again motioning to his tires.

The first two races of the series took place on Pigeon Lake, northeast of Ponoka and the fourth and final race goes on Feb. 28th. The location of the final race has not yet been announced.

zcormier@lacombeexpress.com

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Woofs and Laughs coming to Lacombe Memorial Centre

Comedy night supports Saving Grave Animal Society

Lacombe County fire permit season begins March 1

Lacombe County reminds people that permit requests are free and easy to submit online

Lacombe IODE chapter supports Alberta Council of Womens Shelters

Lord Lascelles Chapter looking to raise $100,000 for children exposed to domestic violence

New municipal assessor appointed for the City of Lacombe

Council awarded the assessment services contract to and appointed Wild Rose Assessment Services Inc

New bylaw hours changes service delivery in Lacombe

Council approved changes to the Enforcement Services schedule

WATCH: Night Among the Stars Celebrity Dance-off supports Lacombe BBBS

Over $12,000 raised for Dancer’s Edge Parents Association and Lacombe BBBS

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs to meet today with federal and B.C. governments

Nationwide rail and road blockades have been popping up for weeks

Budget day: Alberta government planning to balance books, boost employment

It’s the second budget by Premier Jason Kenney’s UCP government

Chinatowns across Canada report drop in business due to new coronavirus fears

Around the world, about 81,000 people have become ill with the virus

Prepare for new coronavirus like an emergency, health minister advises

About 81,000 people around the world have now become ill with COVID-19

Winnipeg police investigating graffiti on RCMP and other buildings

Manitoba Justice Minister Cliff Cullen denounced the vandalism

Alberta government asks court to stay judge’s order regarding oilsands decision

Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Barbara Romaine gave Alberta 10 days to make a decision on the Rigel projec

Alberta must juggle sluggish economy, big deficits, lost jobs in upcoming budget

Premier Jason Kenney won last spring’s election on a promise to boost jobs, grow the economy

Calgary father convicted in toddler’s death from staph infection granted parole

Court heard that John was never seen by a doctor until the day before he died in November 2013

Most Read