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Pushing the pedal to the metal on a frozen lake

Farah Dhalla, reporter
February 5, 2013 — Driving on ice can be a white-knuckle experience, but not for trained and licensed ice racers. Members of The Northern Alberta Sports Car Club (NASCC) put their skills to the test on a frozen lake west of Edmonton.

Ice racers barely use their breaks
Ice racers barely use their breaks

It's definitely a way to make the winter season go by fast. 

Ice racing gives drivers an adrenaline rush by putting the pedal to the metal on a frozen lake. 

"It’s so much fun that it’s just shocking," says Jen Harrison, President of NASCC. "Have you ever imagined wanting to own your own roller coaster? Well, taking your car out on the ice race track and blasting around in a race is like owning your own roller coaster.”

Travelling at 170 to 200 km/h, the racers say they have a need for speed. And they hardly use their brakes.

"We take a brand new tire off the shelf and we shave all the trends off of it, right down so it's bald," says Michael Elhard, Vice-President, of NASCC. "Then we run 65 bolts through it and sharpen the bolts into points and once you done that the traction is pretty good."

All ice racers must attend ice racing school before they hit the track
All ice racers must attend ice racing school before they hit the track

Ice racing has been around in Alberta for the past 60 years. In that time, there have been no casualties. 

“You have a very safe car. You have a five-point harness, you've got a racing seat, you've got a strong roll cage, you've stripped it out of things that can burn. So you've prepared the car so itis as safe as possible,” says Harrison.

The weather on the other hand can be an issue. 

“Here we are in February and the lake is melting. So having the right kinds of conditions for ice racing is like being a farmer. You need the rain and the sun in the proper order.In our case we need the cold and snow in the proper order so we can grow the track in a way that we need it to go racing on,” adds Harrison. 

All drivers are licensed ice racers and ice racing school is mandatory before they hit the track.

"I think its crazy not to do this. This is the best way to spend a winter in this province,." says Elhard.

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