Thunder Bay Motorcycle Ice Racing Exciting To Watch!
by Scott A. Sumner
It was snowy and then rainy kind of day late March in Thunder Bay but the atmosphere was fun at Wildgoose Bay on Lake Superior near the Lakeview Lodge. A hard core group of motorcycle racers and fans were out for the final Thunder Bay Motorcycle Ice Racing event of the year.
“ Ice racing motorcycles in Thunder Bay has been going on since the early 1970’s. I personally have been involved since the late 70’s so for a long time. The racing has mostly been held at Wildgoose Bay on Lake Superior near the Lakeview Lodge. Each year we usually start at Bruely Bay just past Chippewa because the ice freezes quicker there in that bay. After starting there we move to Wildgoose Bay with a larger track. This year we have raced every weekend since the second week in January with the last race being held today, March 28th.” said Terry Kosolowski, Race Director Thunder Bay Motorcycle Ice Racing.
The ice was solid at 36 inches and the group have Pro, Semi Pro and Women classes each weekend.The motorcycles are usually motocross bikes that have been studded and have other tubular protective pieces over the tires for safety. They are 250, 450 and 500 2 strokes usually. They run special tires that have 700 to 800 studs in two tires.
“ The traction is amazing with these new tires we are buying out of Quebec. Previously we built our own tires but these tires are better than what we could build. The traction on good clean ice is better than slicks on asphalt. The speeds are approaching 90 MPH on the straights. There is no sliding anymore. We used to slide dirt track style but there is no more sliding now.” said Kosolowski.
At Wildgoose Bay the track is a 3/8 mile on the inside and they also have a 1/4 mile track to mix things up. Last weekend 17 riders came. There is a core group of 10 always racing with some new riders coming out periodically as well.
“ We raced at the Canadian Power Toboggan Championship recently in Manitoba which is a 53 year old race. This year they added motorcycle races and 7 of us from Thunder Bay and 10 to 12 people in total were there. In the Pro class we went 1st, 2nd, 5th and 6 th so did well. What’s not fun about riding motorcycles- it doesn’t matter when and where.” smiled Terry Kosolowski.
Robbie Powell of Thunder Bay races as often as he can. His parents own the Lakeview Lodge. “ I got a Kawasaki KX 500 2 stroke with 65 HP. We stud the left side of the tires as we only turn left. Today we are doing about 130 km a hour on the straight and around the corners around 100 kph so are moving. This sport is so fun and you just want to win. We have a good group of fast guys. Every Sunday I ride motorcycles all year round.”
Be sure to check out the Thunder Bay Motorcycle Ice Racing Facebook page for more information and attend their races next season!