CASC-OR’s Magnum Ice Race Series Helps to Improve Drivers’ Skills on the Track
The Magnum Ice Race Series is gearing up for its 37th season at the fairgrounds in Minden, Ontario, for another 6-week series on the only land based track in North America.
Racing cars on ice started in Ontario more than forty years ago, and it continues to thrive as an inexpensive, fun part of the Ontario motorsport scene. The events were originally held on frozen lakes and rivers - and some still are - but in the mid-1970s, the Ontario championships moved to more permanent facilities at the fairgrounds in Minden. For the past 36 years, the Minden Kin Club has built and maintained the track.
The track is over 60 feet wide and almost a kilometre long, and the required ice depth for the start of the season is a foot or better. Last season took approximately 200 man hours and 288.000 gallons of water just for the initial flood alone!
From late October until the start of the season, heavy tanker trucks supplied by a contractor flood the track until the desired depth of ice is reached. The ice surface was then maintained throughout the season and a further 367.000 gals of water were laid down for a total of 655.000 Gallons. As well as the construction and maintenance of the ice surface, the Minden Kin club has also built and maintained a heated registration trailer, a heated pump house and buried supply lines, washrooms, a heated starter stand for the flag/light marshals, and a food booth which, according to my daughter, sell the best hot dogs on the planet and you can treat yourself to a famous “Mc Minden”!
About 10 years ago a study was conducted by the Minden Kin club as to the impact of ice racing on the local community. They polled hotels, motels, taverns, restaurants, gas stations, and garages- you name it! It quickly became clear that the little sport that took place at the Minden fairgrounds was bringing in approximately $500,000 dollars over a six week period. In recent years the popularity of this sport has grown in leaps and bounds and I would not mind betting that the revenue number is closer to 600 or even $650,000.
The championship is contested in five different divisions: Rubber to Ice, Second Driver Rubber to Ice, Street Studs, Second Driver Street Studs and Full Competition Studs.
There is a rookie school held at lunch on every Saturday using seasoned drivers driving the rookie cars, then a switch of drivers to see how much the rookies have learned. Many rookies over the years have thought that this sport is a demolition derby on ice, but they soon realize that we take our sport very seriously.
There have been many a road racer sprung out of Ice Racing that did really well and it makes me proud to say “if you can do it on the ice, you can do it anywhere”.
Last season was for the most part, a record setter. With well over 40 rookies, our lunchtime schools were busy right up to the last weekend of competition. With the new street stud class in full swing, and a large field of 30 cars and every one running a spec tire, we were witnesses to one of the most bizarre mishaps I have ever seen on the ice. There were no injuries and not much damage to six of the seven cars in a Pile-up; the picture would speak for itself.
Also last season saw major upgrades to the fairground in the way of flood control, hydro installations and a brand new food booth. This season has seen improvements to our flooding capabilities and the removal of some ‘Danger’ trees.
All you need to get involved is be a member of a CASC affiliated club, possess a valid driver’s license, and hold a current CASC Basic race license. This season we will be holding our fourth annual pre-Tech weekend, January 14-15, 2012. From a spectator standpoint, you don’t have to just stand on the snowbank to watch a race you can actually be a passenger in a racer. With the correct waivers signed you can see all the action unfold right in front of you!
For more information on the Magnum Ice Race Series, visit our forum on the CASC site: www.casc.on.ca/forums