Driftpile 2023 Race Report
Well, the first race of the season is in the books. It was a chilly day in Driftpile, Alberta as the wind made for biting cold conditions but the racers battled it out regardless.
Tech Talk –
Here we traditionally speak about issues from Tech. This time we have a few general issues to cover so the approach is going to be a little different. Without getting into specifics about why, we feel it necessary to bring up the following points:
- Pre-Registration: Pre-registration for each race is now closing at noon on the day before race day. The option to pre-register for the Saturday’s event will actually be removed from the website at that time. Submitting a pre-registration on race day 10 minutes after registration at the track is supposed to be closed is neither effective or helpful. Sorry.
- Registration: You MUST register on time. Registering late holds up the whole day and delays the event. It is not considerate or fair to the other racers or the hundreds of paying spectators. Late registrations will not be accepted. Should you have an emergency of some sort and will be arriving late, you must contact Dale on his cell phone and explain the situation prior to 10:00 AM.
- Age rules: There are age minimums and limits for racers in each class of races. Please review the website. These age limits are not negotiable for a variety of reasons including fairness, safety, and insurance liability. So for example, having an argument about whether your 11 year old should be allowed to race an 850 sled will not be tolerated.
- General rules: There is no alcohol or drug use allowed in the pits or by any of the racers. Any racers or pit crew found to be using will be asked to leave.
- Entry refunds: Once you have registered and paid your entry fees, there are NO REFUNDS once the race is started. The race will be considered started at the close of the driver’s meeting.
- Your number must be displayed on the windshield or front of the hood on your sled. This is no longer optional. If you are not a member with an allocated number for the year, you will be assigned a number at registration. If you don’t want to or can’t tape a paper number on your sled, use a piece of duck tape and a marker and put your number on your sled. “I lost my number”, “I don’t know my number”, and “What is my number” are all comments that really shouldn't be necessary.
- Be ready: You should be ready to race at least three heats before your race is to be run. When you are next up to race, you should be on your sled and waiting in pre-stage behind the starting line with your sled warmed up. It is not the responsibility of the officials to find you for your race. This is the racer’s responsibility. If there is a reason why you need some time, you must notify an official either at the race board or the starting line prior to your heat. If you miss a heat because you were not ready for your race and didn’t notify an official, do not approach an official afterward and ask for a re-race or a refund. A no-show is considered a last place finish in that heat.
- Sled control: Everyone wants to win. There is a school of thought that some follow to “never let off”. This is a firm reminder though you must remain in control of your sled at all times. The lanes are 25 feet wide. If you go out of lane at any point you are disqualified automatically. In addition, should you go out of lane, you as a racer are responsible for any danger or damage that occurs as a result of your lack of control of your sled. Period. It is better to let off, retain control, and maybe save the race, than to go out of lane.
- Moving cones or markers: In snow drag racing everyone wants to find the best possible place to start from on the line. However, please note that if a racer or any of their crew moves a cone, marker or any other piece of race track equipment they will be disqualified for being out of lane. If there is an issue with starting line or the equipment that needs to be addressed, please notify the starting line official. Additionally, starting with your sled staged behind the line is not permitted.
Sorry for all that, but now for the racing:
Did I mention it was cold? It was, and the weather in the days leading up to the race made for some icy, slippery conditions. If was a challenge for all and particularly the less experienced racers, especially in the classes without traction products as traction was not in abundance. In general, the most experienced racers faired best at finessing their sleds to the finish line ahead of their competition. On the flip side, in the classes that allowed the use of traction products, the spectators witnessed some blistering fast passes aided by the hard track conditions.
The race was run in a head-to-head format with two lanes. Racers please note that in the interest of fairness and consistency between classes with odd numbers of racers, prize money was adjusted and awarded to 1st and 2nd place finishes only rather than first through fourth as originally planned.
In stock, long time racer Dwayne Heinz did well winning both 600 and 700 classes. Freddy Hebb won 800 and race host Starr Saskamoose took 1000 but Craig Rowland outraced Mike LaValley in Open to be fastest stock sled of the day.
In the improved classes, Riel from High Prairie, Kole Kegas from Stony Plain and Mike Folow from Fort McMurray all had good days.
In the increasingly popular mountain classes, Kole did well again on a new Polaris 9R winning Deep Snow Super Stock and coming second to the Maxceleration Sidewinder in Mountain Open.
The Outlaw final was interesting in that it saw the two racers who were tied for the points lead in Outlaw last season go head to head in this year’s first race. The 4 cylinder two-stroke mod sled ridden by Tyler Matt faced off against the new “Farm Sled” build from Maxceleration Racing ridden by Mike LaValley. It was the lightweight mod verse the stock-looking heavyweight King Cat. The racers let of the button together and launched hard on the tight starting line but it was Mike’s “Farm Sled” that took the win to be fastest on the day.