Getting Started In Ice Racing
AMEC welcomes and seeks new racers every
season. There are two
different paths to choose from, to get started in ice racing. The
traditional path is to prepare a race-only type of car, and now since the
beginning of the 2001 season, there is an additional alternative which is
called the "Street Legal" class. Both offer tremendous driving
excitement, and competition. I will start with a description of the
Street Legal (SL) and Street Legal 4 Wheel Drive [SL4] classes.
This is by far the cheapest (and easiest) way to
experience ice racing. You can click on the "rules" section on the main page for specific rules, but in a nutshell, the SL classes are for unmodified, street driven automobiles (not pickups or SUV's) that weigh less than 3,200 lbs. [2WD] and 3,400 lbs. for [4WD and AWD's]. SL cars use any model of the Bridgestone's studless Blizzak winter tires. Both SL and SL4 classes have a very low traction coefficient, and therefore don't require roll cages or safety harnesses, (although they are highly recommended and perfectly OK to have).
In addition to those non-studded classes, beginning in 2013 we will now have a spec tire Studded SL and a Studded SL4 classes. The basic rules are all the same except that the only tire that can be used is the Nokian Hakkapeliitta 7.
Other than a fire extinguisher and
a Snell 2000 or better helmet, all you need is an AMEC membership and a
proper numbers on your car! Numbers are available only by contacting the club secretary and Chief Scorer. There are practice sessions each morning before the
actual races. New racers start in the rear of the pack, to
take their time learning the course and developing ice driving
techniques. Each weekend, there is a different road course. Courses vary
between 1 and 1.5 miles a lap. Although the SL class was originally considered a
beginner's class, it has also proven to be a popular wintertime
playground for experienced drivers too, from a variety of other forms of racing. The SL class is a gentleman's class, where guys and gals respect each other's cars, and drive accordingly.
If you want to go ice
racing, and have the best possible chance of racing completely dent-free,
the SL or SL4 or SLS or SLS4 classes are where you belong. In fact in 2003, AMEC members have voted in a No-Contact rule, which immediately ejects any racer who is involved in any amount of car contact, with loss of all points for that race. This of course
cannot guaranty you will not be bumped into, but in SL however,
contact is quite remote. It is worth noting that there are regularly many late model 2000 and up automobiles racing in SL every season, all ending the season
without a scratch. There is NO prize money in AMEC ice racing. The whole reason
we do it, is for FUN.
If you want to jump into ice racing with
both feet, and experience the fastest form of automobile ice racing, then
a Menard Class car is for you. The word "Menard" refers to the brand of
purpose-built ice racing tire (about $250 ea.) that is the standard of
the Super Modified, Modified Menard, and Open and SLM classes. This tire offers superior traction
capabilities, compared to the street snow tire used in the SL classes. This
allows for more horsepower to be used, and far greater speeds. That is why
the Menard class cars require a six-point full roll cage, and racing
Although it is possible to drive a
Menard class car
to and from a race, there is virtually no one who does so anymore.
Trailering is the name of the game here. It is typical to strip Menard
class cars of all unnecessary weight, including headlamps and other items,
which render the cars illegal to drive on the street. Car preparation is
a big part of the fun. There is great deal of satisfaction to be had, in
stripping out an ordinary automobile, and turning it into a high
performance race car.
Menard class cars get an extra race, at
the end of
the day, called the Finale, where all Super Modified and Modified Menard Class cars run together. What
an exciting race that is! So, the next time you look at that old Honda or
Nissan Sentra sitting idly in your neighbor's driveway or backyard, or perhaps that older Dirt Sprint Car that you used to watch go round and round at the local Dirt track, visualize
that it could be an AMEC ice racer (with YOU sitting behind the wheel and
blasting ice from the drive wheels). It might be a good time to knock on
that door, and make a deal on it! If you'd like to see an ice race for
yourself, we invite you to come out and see what you've been missing. It
is also possible to "experience" the ice races from the comfort of your
living room, by purchasing a copy of the first class "Ice Racing 2005"
videotape production of this years' races, available here: http://com4.runboard.com/bamecmessageboard.f1.t362
The welcome mat is out,
SEE YOU ON THE ICE!
For even more information on the Street Legal class just click on this link; http://www.icerace.com/sl.htm
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