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All Hail the Queen!

| 16 February 2012 3:21 pm

36th Annual World Championship ICE Racing Series
Season Finale Quads: Cambria County War Memorial Arena

By Dustin Speed
JOHNSTOWN, PA, FEB. 4, 2012

It’s not too often that a team or an individual comes around and stays at the top for a while. It’s not too often you can call something a dynasty. But sometimes in the modern-day sports era, you get to witness magic or phenomena like we have watched unfold this season.

The War Memorial Arena in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, was the site of the season finale for the 36th annual World Championship ICE Racing Series. At this venue, on this evening, everyone knew that Mandy “Wild Child” Brodil could become the first-ever five-time champion in the history of the sport. The event that was about to begin would prove to be a magical night of racing.

In the first heat race of the first round, Mark Blystone from nearby Indiana, Pennsylvania, took the win, followed by Reading, Pennsylvania’s Brandon Gates, Shawn Hesser and Tom Bobrowicz.

In her first heat race of the evening, Mandy Brodil managed to lock up her fifth ICE World Championship. Photo by ClickThompson.com

In heat two, no one expected to see much out of the “Wild Child,” as she’d said before the race that she was going to take it easy, as she was coming off the  concussion she’d sustained in Bloomington. She started the night wanting to just get enough points to secure the title and stay safe. Well, after the tapes went up, she was in third place, behind Anthony Demeo and Ken Remer. But after the first lap, she picked off Remer on the outside, and by the third lap she’d worked over Demeo, taking the lead, winning the heat, and securing her fifth ICE World title – making her the first-ever five-time champion in ICE history. This also marked her second consecutive World title. She was followed to the line by Demeo, Remer and Chuck Calvert, in that order.

Heat three was all about Rookie of the Year contender Kevin Smith, who was followed to the line by Jason Fisher, Richie Hartman and Marysville, Ohio’s Shawn Sadler.

Heat four was a five-rider race, and it was won by Kansas Tornados team member Dusty Crouch, ahead of first-timer John Grutza. Sammy Wiggins, on the Harley-Davidson-powered Thunder Quad, was third, followed by Jordan Miller and Jeff Brodil.

The second round of Outlaw Quad heats was just as intense and crazy as the first. The winners were Chuck Calvert (who showed some signs of life as he tried to repeat what he did last year in Johnstown), Ken Remer, Mandy Brodil and Jeff Brodil.

With 17 racers signed up to compete, we had to say goodbye to five of them before the last-chance qualifier started. Those failing to make it to the LCQ or the main were Sammy Wiggins, Jordan Miller, Richie Hartman, Tom Bobrowicz and Shawn Hesser. All gave a great effort but came up a little short against this talent-stacked field.

The LCQ was a doozy, with three former main-event winners and five hungry riders looking to get into the main for their shot at the top spot on the podium. When the tapes went up, there was a pileup in turn one involving four of the eight racers, prompting a red flag and a complete restart. Anthony Demeo looked like he was going to come out smelling like roses, coming from the back row to the lead, when the crash happened, but the complete restart erased any gains. Once all the quads were disconnected from one another, they lined back up in the original starting positions. The tape went up, and the race was on!

Grutza got an amazing jump, putting himself out front early, followed by Gates, Remer and Jeff Brodil. Once they spread out a bit, the top four decided to keep their transfer positions and not try to take any chances on not making the main, so that’s how they finished: Grutza, Gates, Remer and Brodil would transfer; Calvert, Demeo, Fisher and Sadler would be watching the main from the pits.

Coming into this main, the odds-on favorite was the “Wild Child,” but there was also the very fast Brandon Gates; Dusty Crouch, who was looking for his first win; and Rookie of the Year contender Kevin Smith, who has led two main events this year but hasn’t been able to close the deal; not to mention the other four amped-up racers.

Once they got lined up and released from the line, Mandy got the holeshot she needed to get out front early. Crouch tucked in behind her, but they were followed closely by Kevin Smith and Jeff Brodil.

Mandy kept a small lead on Crouch, who was working every line he could to try to get by. The ice was worn thin by this time, so it was crucial to pick the right spot to pass to avoid hitting the concrete. After multiple attempts, Crouch just couldn’t get – and thus the “Wild Child” garnered her third main-event win of the season to complement her fifth World title. Kansas Tornados teammates Crouch and Smith rounded out the podium, and Smith clinched the Rookie of the Year award with his third-place finish. Mark Blystone finished fourth, followed by Jeff Brodil, Ken Remer, Brandon Gates and John Grutza.

Mandy Brodil (left) ruled the ice in the quad portion of the evening, while Jared Mees (right) was unbeatable on the bikes.

It was a magical night for Mandy and the Brodil family, and the books are just being written. You will be able to have your chance to see or meet Mandy at the Indy Dealer Show at the Indianapolis Convention Center, February 17-19. She will be there to sign autographs and give away free Mandy Brodil ICE posters to her fans.

We congratulate all the Unlimited Outlaw Quad racers who competed in this year’s series and look forward to the awesome competition and racing next season. Until then, remember: If it’s ICE Racing, it’s ICESPEEDWAY.COM!

Cambria County War Memorial Arena
Johnstown, Pennsylvania
Results: February 4, 2012 (Final Round)

Unlimited Outlaw Quads

HEAT 1: 1. Mark Blystone; 2. Brandon Gates; 3. Shawn Hesser; 4. Tom Bobrowicz.

HEAT 2: 1. Mandy Brodil; 2. Anthony Demeo; 3. Ken Remer; 4. Chuck Calvert.

HEAT 3: 1. Kevin Smith; 2. Jason Fisher; 3. Richie Hartman; 4. Shawn Sadler.

HEAT 4: 1. Dusty Crouch; 2. John Grutza; 3. Sammy Wiggins; 4. Jordan Miller; 5. Jeff Brodil.

HEAT 5: 1. Chuck Calvert; 2. Brandon Gates; 3. Kevin Smith; 4. Shawn Hesser.

HEAT 6: 1. Ken Remer; 2. Shawn Sadler; 3. Tom Bobrowicz; 4. Jordan Miller.

HEAT 7: 1. Mandy Brodil; 2. Mark Blystone; 3. Dusty Crouch; 4. Jason Fisher.

HEAT 8: 1. Jeff Brodil; 2. John Grutza; 3. Anthony Demeo; 4. Sammy Wiggins; 5. Richie Hartman.

LCQ: 1. John Grutza; 2. Brandon Gates; 3. Ken Remer; 4. Jeff Brodil; 5. Chuck Calvert; 6. Anthony Demeo; 7. Jason Fisher; 8. Shawn Sadler.

MAIN: 1. Mandy Brodil; 2. Dusty Crouch; 3. Kevin Smith; 4. Mark Blystone; 5. Jeff Brodil; 6. Ken Remer; 7. Brandon Gates; 8. John Grutza.

[For race coverage, results and photos from the motorcycle portion of the final round of the World Championship ICE Racing Series, please check out “Perfection!” by Dustin Speed… Editor]

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