Ice races draw growing crowds at Brant Lake
By ELISA SAND, Staff Reporter
For the past three weekends, motorcycle and ATV racers have converged on Brant Lake for ice races.|
Located behind the Shipwreck Inn, the ice races have been organized by Rob Jones of Chester, a former racer who answered a call from area racers who had been competing in Sioux Falls. Because of the drought, race tracks on the ice weren't very good, so Jones was tagged to set up something locally.
"From 1989 to 1998, I promoted races," Jones said. "The very last ones had 200 entries."
Jones said those races drew participants from across South Dakota, as well as from Canada, Iowa and Minnesota.
"Riders called to see if I could get something going again," he said.
The first race, on Feb. 10, featured 55 entries. The next weekend participation grew to 75 racers. Last weekend, 95 participated and another 300-350 watched the afternoon event.
This weekend will be the final races of the season on both Saturday and Sunday.
"It's quite the neat little family day," Jones said.
The races feature motorcycles and ATVs with specially studded tires for traction. Races are open to youth as well as adults. Jones said the youth division is free, but adult participants pay a registration fee.
Freewill donations are collected from the spectators.
"There's been a lot of local support," Jones said. "It's unbelievably awesome racing."
The motorcycle division competes on an oval track, and ATVs race on a Le Mans course. Adults compete in Class B or Class A with trophies awarded to Class B participants and a cash payout possible for Class A.
Registration starts at 10 a.m. with practice from 11 a.m. until noon. Racing is usually finished by 3:30 p.m.
A typical season would feature eight races during the months of January and February, but racing got a late start this season. Jones is hoping some discussion can be held with the racers this weekend to gauge interest in a full season of races in 2014.