For the second year in a row, the “Challenge sur neige Ormstown” will take over the Ormstown Fairgrounds for four weeks across January and February. Originally, the days scheduled were January 6th, 13th, 20th and 27th; however, the first two events were postponed due to a lack of snow and then inclement weather.
The flag for the first event on January 20th finally got underway in frigid conditions as racers took to the Ormstown track to open the season. Spectators enjoyed a day of explosive chases, careening cars and ATVs, and some exciting finishes.
The race days were pushed to January 20th and 27th and February 3rd and 10th due to the weather. The event’s organizer, Sylvain Allard, shares that the date changes for this year’s races were not a surprise “with the winters we’re having now.”
The event’s website explains that there are two different kinds of race: “a circuit on hard snow with several left and right curves for cars and ATVs (pro & amateur) equipped with rubber tires, and the other track consists of a tri-oval on hard snow for the ‘semi-pro’ car class and ATV equipped with screw-on or studded tires.” On the 27th, there will also be an event for 10-wheelers.
The first three weekend events are part of the Triple Crown, where participants race three times for the final prize. The final week is an endurance race where the racers will go for 150 laps. The prize amount is not preset; it depends on how much money is made with admission.
Allard explains that there are two options for spectators. Since organizers have signed a contract with the LBA (Livestock Breeders Association), the events will be happening on the track at the Ormstown Fairgrounds. There will be a bathroom, canteen, heated stands, and a bar. Spectators can stay in the heated stands or park their cars around the course and watch from there. He encourages people to bring their own snacks and drinks and enjoy them from the cars, reassuring them that the track announcers will still be able to be heard.
Allard has been involved in the world of ice racing for over 20 years. The excitement and his dedication in the community are what keep him engaged. “The reason that I’ve been doing this for 20 years is that we’re a gang of really passionate people who have fun when we do this. You have to love it.” On top of organizing this event the past two years he is also the president of Club Kilowatts, which will turn 55 this year.
Part of the charm of the sport for him is how it’s a family affair. Allard emphasizes that these events are accessible fun for the whole family. “There’s people who have been racing as father and son for 25 years, and now they have kids racing too,” he says. There is a category for ages 13-18 for sons to race with their fathers, with the goal “to give the bug to the younger generation,” he says.
Folks who wish to participate can sign up on race day or register on the website – challengesurneigeormstown.ca. Race day tickets can only be purchased using cash. Admission is $15, but free for spectators under the age of 14. To participate in a race, the cost is $40 for amateurs and $60 for semi-pros.