Wheels grip on Fremont ice
Racing is good where the fishing is bad
By James Card
The Manawa Snodeo was cancelled on Bear Lake because of deteriorating ice conditions but on Partridge Lake in Fremont, the ice was thick enough for participants to park trucks and trailers on the lake and race motorcycles, ATVS, UTVs, and vintage three wheelers.
The tracks were arranged in front of the Blue Top Resort on Wolf River Drive. A Fremont-Wolf River EMS ambulance was parked onshore.
During the morning Saturday warm-ups, one motorcyclist wiped out but he got back on his bike uninjured. Saturday was for informal racing, Sunday was for official scores.
The Central Wisconsin Ice Racing Association has held races on Partridge Lake for the past 25 years. They hold other races throughout the winter on Lake Arbutus, Lake Petenwell, Lake Tomah and Lake Dexter.
According to CWIRA race organizer Jim Falkes, Partridge Lake provides a smoother ride because of where the ice fishing is concentrated.
“People like it because not a lot of fishing goes on at this end of the lake so there are not a lot of rough spots. Most people on this lake fish over there,” he said as he pointed to the north side of the lake where ice anglers were small specks in the distance. “So we don’t have to mess with ice fishing holes because they leave a hump. People like to race here cause its usually smooth ice. On other lakes it’s a problem. Every time a bike hits, it makes that rut worse,” he said.
A truck with a snow plow cleared the track at the mid-day intermission. The track was churned with a fine dust of sno-cone-like shaved ice from the metal studs embedded in the tires. The races have classes for studded and non-studded tires. An image of a stud screw is part of the CWIRA logo. Racers that do not have studded tires cut their own treads in various patterns and swap out the tires for changing surface conditions.
“The rubber-tire ATVs were not that popular years ago but it just got more popular because they’re finding out there’s a ton of traction out there and its fun to race. Everybody thinks, ‘Well, you don’t have any studs—you can’t go anywhere,’ and that’s far from the truth because there is a lot of traction,” said Falkes.
Fire on Ice ends
Weyauwega’s Fire on Ice snowmobile races will no longer be held. The annual event was held every February at the Waupaca County fairgrounds for 16 years.
“This announcement stems from the hardships faced with finding volunteers and the ever increasing costs that make it difficult to continue providing fundraising dollars to our area youth as intended and like we have done for so many years previously. The decision was not made lightly and our 9 person board spent many hours mulling over the logistics, both individually and together. It takes an average of 1,500 volunteer hours and over $30,000 of sponsorship and advertising dollars to make an event like this successful. We are heartbroken that Fire on Ice has come to an end,” the organizers wrote on their Facebook page.