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1997 Canada Cup
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1997 Canada Cup

1997 Canada Cup
February 9, 1997 Buddy Ford's Motorcycle and ATV Ice Racing
From: Kim Gregory

The main show was the motocross class bikes with some radical high head screws in their tires. They put on a terrific show. The event was within a half hour drive of a major city (Montreal) and was inside the breakwall of a classy marina. The 10 foot high stone breakwall surrounding the basin was heaped with snow, and provided natural grandstands for the crowd. The marina had a huge bar, with dance floors, projection TV and monitors showing the race as it happened. There must have been 500 people in the bar alone, and another two thousand out in the 'grandstands'. The weather was bright and sunny with no wind (except for the planes and helicopters buzzing the track!) and got to a high of about -5 degrees F. The track was well done with a 1/8 mile track for speedway and a 1/4 mile track for the rest, sharing the front and back straights. That gave the speedway bikes a rut free track to ride! Buddy Ford, in an effort to help speedway grow in Quebec, did all he could to encourage Ontario riders to the event. He also had some other elements in the show to add. He had a tire burnout competition, a class for 50cc kids (that really moved!) and a local car dealer (and sponsor) that added a parade of new models and a 'car race' of older models and a car demolition derby to end the show.

We had some accidents at our race. The crashes are very spectacular, because (like skiing) the snow 'explodes' in a big cloud when you hit, then the hot bike, lying in the snowbank gives off a huge cloud of steam, making it appear to be on fire. A spectator fell / knocked off a snowbank during a crash in the 250cc class and landed next to us in the staging lane at the pit entrance. Suspected broken hip. In the speedway final, Gary Hesmer was driven into by the second place finisher Claude, on the way out of the first turn. Gary went into the snowbank, and had his rear fender smashed, and rear chain knocked off. He borrowed his cousin's bike for the restart, but was unable to do well on it. Claude said he was attempting to slow down as he was overtaking Gary on the inside, but only succeeded in hooking up and driving into Gary's rear wheel.

The speedway program was really short. We had only eight riders for our event, so had two qualifying heat races to determine who went to the final and the consolation race. I was plagued with kill switch troubles, Guy and Nicolas Fafard with chain problems, Gary Hesmer with fender and crash problems, and the winner (Patrick Ahlund) arrived with a flat rear tire, and had to borrow a spare wheel from Gary (finished third ). Claude Bergeron finished a close second. We hauled the bikes into the bar for a half hour to get them warm enough to start, then just idled them every half hour through the afternoon to keep them easy to start. Speedway riders received $500 prize money, and trophies!

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