By Rebecca Rempel
Ice racing fans are going to have to wait a bit longer to exercise their need for speed.
The Jan. 28 Brighton Speedway Oval Ice Races have been cancelled because of the lack of ice on the track because of “unseasonably warm temperatures and complications with our ice-making bus,” said Brighton Speedway general manager, Angela Rinaldi.
Around six to eight inches of ice is needed for the races. As of Friday, Jan. 20 there was about two inches, “and melting, considering it’s freaking warm out today,” Rinaldi said.
The track has a retrofitted school bus with 1,000-gallon water tank, a wood-burning stove and a spreader bar attached to the centre of the bus. Staff fill the water tank, open the spreader bar and drive around the 1/3 mile track. It takes about six laps, or 20-30 minutes to empty the tank and is best done in dark, -10C weather.
“We haven’t had much of that,” Rinaldi said laughing.
The next date for ice races is Feb. 11, weather permitting. Races slotted for that day include snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles, each with six classes, plus ice bikes and an Enduro Car Race.
Last year’s race attracted around 500 people including competitors and spectators. The January race day is part of the Brighton Winterfest.
“It’s a great family afternoon,” said Rinaldi.
Lack of snow has some of the other Brighton Winterfest activities on the verge of cancellation.
“If you don’t get the weather, then you don’t get Winterfest outside,” said co-chairman Derek Madder. “Right now it’s not looking too good.”
Snow events scheduled for the festival—for now—include a snowman-building contest and outdoor skating.
“We have a number of events that are basically inside,” Madder said. “Right now, we’re just hoping that the weather’s going to be cold enough so that we can start skating.”
Winterfest events include the sold-out favourites like the old-fashioned winter supper and youth dance, as well as the introduction of a scavenger hunt downtown, a movie night and a mini curling bonspiel.
“Basically everything that’s inside we do quite well,” said Madder. “We usually have a big crowd.”
The festival ends with the 8 Wing Trenton Band at Trinity St. Andrew’s United Church at 2 p.m. on Sunday.
“I’ve been the snowman for 13 years now,” said Madder, who stepped up this year as co-chairman with Doug Platt to replace former chairman Claude Thompson. “The kids love it and I try to do my best.”
Some out-of-towners are drawn to Brighton for the festival, but it’s mainly a community event. Some people come from Trenton, Belleville, Colborne and Campbellford, but most come from with in the Brighton area, said Madder.
Old Man Winter has not always gotten along with Winterfest.
“We have gone through years where we’ve gone through a mud bowl and we’ve gone through where it’s been too cold,” said Madder.
More information about the Brighton Winterfest, including a schedule of events, can be found at http://brighton.ca/winterfest-c557.php