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King of the Lake Crowned!
Midwest Ice Racing Association & Northcoast Race Promotions

Superior, WI – The Midwest Ice Racing Association and Northcoast Race Promotions crowned the first ever King of the Lake on Sunday, February 26, 2006. This race was on the second day of a double header held at Allouez Bay in Superior, WI.

Ice Racing season happens quickly, and ends all too soon for these hearty competitors. As soon as the northern lakes freeze, these riders bundle up and practice in groups on makeshift practice tracks to prepare for the racing season. Riding styles change drastically from the dirt, and can best be compared to riding on asphalt in the summertime! Traction can go form perfect to nothing in the blink of an eye. A good ice racer knows the groove and his machines limits. Hitting the snow dust on the outside of a turn results in an immediate spin out. Also, coming back from getting sideways to the “ice asphalt” can be catastrophic.

Many hours are spent dialing in equipment and adapting these machines to handle on the frozen sheet of ice. Studded tires with between 1200-1500 3/16" ice screws are just the beginning of an Ice Racing setup. These machines differ slightly from dirt track and TT machines commonly seen in the summer months. Slight suspension and handling settings have a major effect on overall handling on the ice.

The best ATV ice racers from the upper midwest competed for King of the Lake honors in what has become the most hotly contested Ice Racing TT series ever held. These contestants ran the King of the Lake final in addition to the regular program in this final race of the King of the Lake Winter Series.

Riders qualified at four earlier M.I.R.A. sanctioned events in January and February of 2006. Three riders from each qualifier advanced to the starting grid for Sunday’s event.

The M.I.R.A. series runs a TT format, which is rather unique in Ice Racing circles. Most Ice Races run an oval format.

King of the Lake was designed to test men and machines, and that’s exactly what happened! Fifteen laps on the twisty 3/4 mile course with speeds of 75 mph tested every nerve, stretched every muscle and hammered on equipment. For various reasons, only six of the eleven entrants finished the main event. 15 laps on the 3/4 mile course comes out to almost 10 miles at wide open speeds in the freezing cold!

All year, King of the Lake qualifiers ran at halftime, and the final followed suit. The track was prepped (plowed with a snowplow) and the riders sighted the track for one lap and lined up for the ride of their lives!

Favorites were #55 Lee Harper on a Cannondale and #99 Ike Carey on a conversion Honda. Hutchinson, Minnesota’s Daryl Rath qualified in a LCQ, and made the starting grid in the second row. #89 Ryan Larson on a Yamaha and Honda mounted #00 Travis Cheney could also close the deal. Ice racing vetran #183 Matt Verdoljak, newcomer Chad Benesch on a TRX 250R and #5 Cameron Johnson aboard a Honda rounded out the field.

The green flag dropped, and #67 Daryl Rath puled the holeshot from the second row! The field rounded the first corner with #55 Lee Harper in second place and #00 Travis Cheney in third. On lap two #55 Lee Harper’s machine suffered a mechanical problem and prevented him from finishing.

Rath pulled a good lead in the fist four laps, with #00 Cheney, #99 Carey, #5 Johnson and #400 Chad Benesch rounding out the top five. Things didn’t shake up until lap eight, with #00 Travis Cheney succumbing to pressure from a hard charging Ike Carey. Cheney bobbled, Carey opened the door, but # 400 Chad Benesch gained the most ground and found himself in second place! #400 Benesch, #5 Cameron Johnson, #99 Ike Carey, and #00 Travis Cheney forged on in that order. Daryl Rath continued to pull a monsterous lead on his Rath Racing/Baldwin Motorsports TRX 450R.

With a few laps to go, Rath lost his back brakes and slowed a bit, but not enough for the field to catch him. Lap after lap Rath hammered down the 100 yard+ straightway at blinding speeds, and not even lifting for the hard left turn at the end! The crowd roared as Daryl Rath and the field approached lap 15.

On lap eleven, Chad Benesch hit the dust on his #400 250R, and allowed Johnson, and Carey to sneak by. Cameron Johnson held off pressure from Ike Carey for second-place honors, with Carey, Benesch and Cheney rounding out the top five.

Rath crossed the finish line in first place, with the front wheels pawing at the cold air. Daryl Rath led from flag to flag and kept a blistering pace. He never let off and never looked back until he crossed the finish line. Rath looked over his shoulder at no one as he slowed down after the finish. Despite some rear brake issues, he held a fifteen second lead over the rest of the field.\King of the Lake turned out to be a fitting contest. 15 laps of wide open action determined a true champion. Riding skills, preparation and endurance all played a part in crowning a King. In 2006 that man is Daryl Rath of Rath Racing from Hutchinson, MN. The book is now closed on this short season as the spring thaw fast approaches in Northern Wisconsin. Those who fell short will be back in 2007 for the second annual King of the Lake Winter Series.

Want to try in ‘07? Contact Northcoast Race Promotions at www.northcoastracing.com

Northcoast Race Promotions
69 North 28th St. Suite 23
Superior, WI 54880
(715) 392-4030

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