Following an impressive ice racing debut last weekend, Winnipeg's Ward Imrie went even better on Sunday, going unbeaten during a day of racing at Saint Malo, Manitoba. The schedule, which sees as much racing as possible run before a 4pm curfew,...
Following an impressive ice racing debut last weekend, Winnipeg's Ward Imrie went even better on Sunday, going unbeaten during a day of racing at Saint Malo, Manitoba. The schedule, which sees as much racing as possible run before a 4pm curfew, included five races and Ward won all of them. Last week, he won three of six races run at Saint Boniface Park in Winnipeg.
Ward went to Saint Malo concerned that his three-cylinder Chevy Sprint would be out powered. He had heard the track was around 1.6km (1 mile) in length and feared any long straights would place him at a big disadvantage. Once on the track though, he discovered he was more than able to hold his own.
"We are really down on horsepower," related the Winnipeg native, "But the track had quite a few tight sections and that kept us competitive."
Ward also had to contend with starting the races from the back of the pack as each race begins with the field inverted from the finish of the previous race. In essence, Ward was a victim of his own success, yet on each occasion, he was able to scythe through the field and claim victory.
Having raced karts for much of his life, the eighteen-year-old has had great success racing various forms of cars during the last year. All his previous experience, however, has been on asphalt where grip is plentiful, so how does he manage to do so well on ice? Ward relates it to what he knows best, karts.
"It's kind of like driving a go-kart in the rain," he says.
He admits that the driving style is somewhat different and listening to him talk, one quickly gets the impression that he's quite busy when he's out on the ice.
"I use the hand brake to help with the turns, it helps me pitch the car into the corners. Then I use both feet to feather the gas and ride the brake through the rest of the turn. The tricky part is looking for the best line because the track changes every lap. You have to keep a close eye on the ice and try to see where you'll get the best grip."
Ward says that one of the biggest differences from karting is the amount of contact during the races, noting he's already had to replace two side mirrors.
Having claimed a total of eight wins in eleven races, he undoubtedly possess the right touch to race on ice, but is quick to credit those who help. Ward wishes to thank his father, Wayne; mechanic, Glen Duncan; mechanic, Gerry Dorion; assistant, Jan Slot and his friend Evan for all their help.
Ward's next race comes on January 27 when ice racing arrives at Winnipeg Beach.