The Jammer is Back!

| 24 January 2013 6:11 pm

World Championship ICE Racing Series
5: U.S. Cellular Coliseum

Story by Woody Doogan
Photos by FreeMotoPix

The “Battle for Bloomington” is traditionally one of the best World Championship ICE Racing Series rounds of the season, and this night was no different. An enthusiastic crowd, much larger than last year’s, braved the cold winter weather to get to the U.S. Cellular Coliseum for some red-hot ice racing!

Bryan McKenna (19) keeps it upright as Darren Carter (43) inspects the ice inside the U.S. Cellular Coliseum, site of round five of the World Championship ICE Racing Series.

The Manufacturers World Cup Bikes started off the program. The big story of the evening was the return of defending World Champion Jared “The Jammer” Mees to the series. The rider from Clio, Michigan, picked up right where he left off last season: with a perfect heat-race performance. Also winning all his heats was “Captain Kirk” Cheney from Hastings, Michigan, and with quick time, he earned the pole for the main event.

Jessica Miller lets everybody know what’s up next…

Before the main, there was a six-lap last-chance qualifier. This one showcased a strong run by the “Freight Train,” Tom McGrane from Gap, Pennsylvania. McGrane led it from wire to wire. The real battle in this one was for second place, between hometown hero Darren Carter of Bloomington, Illinois, and Oakland, New Jersey’s Jay Maloney. Carter held off the determined Maloney for four laps, but Jay was too strong and got by on lap five, down low. Fourth place went to Boston, Massachusetts’ “Flyin’ Brian” McKenna, who was struggling on this night with a new set of tires. McKenna was followed by Bloomington natives Shea Knuth and Brittany Powell, who both looked good out there.

The eight-lap main event was up next, and the “safe” money was on the “Jammer.” Official ICE referee Robert Arms released the starting gate, and it was Cheney out first and in the lead for a lap and a half. On lap two, Mees got by underneath and set sail. From that point on, all the action was to see who would join Mees on the podium. Maloney also got by Cheney, moving into second place. McGrane made a late-race move to take the third and final spot in the limelight. He was followed by Cheney, McKenna, Knuth, Powell and Carter, who crashed out.

After the main event, the top three were winner Jared Mees (1), runner-up Jay Maloney (21) and third-place finisher Tom McGrane (99).

A big ol’ Bloomington-style field of Pro ICE Unlimited Outlaw Quad riders turned out to give it a go – 19 of them, to be exact. It was great to see so many of our old friends from Iowa and Illinois!

Round-one heat-race victories were earned by Chuck “The Ica Man” Calvert from Madison, Wisconsin; Dusty “Time Bomb” Crouch from Topeka, Kansas; Kevin Veon from Winterset, Iowa; Mandy “Wild Child” Brodil from Poplar Branch, North Carolina; and Table Grove, Illinois’ Ryan “Hit Man” Kaufman.

The night’s round-two heat winners were Woodland Park, New Jersey’s Anthony Demeo, who’s going better every week; Burlington, Wisconsin’s Ken “Stunt Man” Remer, who’s also getting quicker and quicker; local hotshoe Todd McGuire from Bloomington; Crouch; and Brodil.

As is so often the case with big fields like this, the LCQ is the most intense race of the night. The top four finishers will move on to the money-race main event, and the bottom four will be going home empty-handed. There are only four laps to get the job done, so if you snooze, you lose!

Veon was wide awake in this one, taking the lead from the number-two starting slot. Once he got there, he never looked back. Had he turned around, he’d have seen Demeo and Remer chasing him down like the bloodhounds in Cool Hand Luke! But hold on to your horses: In a daring last-ditch move, Shane “Nitrous Man” Quam from Gladstone, Illinois, blew by Remer! In the process, Remer was turned around, allowing the new-age “Cool Hand,” Kevin Smith from Overbrook, Kansas, to move up to the fourth and final transfer position. Told ya these LCQs get wild! Just missing the cut was Calvert, who was followed by Garrett Dean from Hamilton, Illinois; Brandon Davis, in his first time up on the Harley-Davidson-powered “Thunder Quad”; and Remer, who got so close to making the main.

In the Outlaw Quads main event, Mandy Brodil (1, left) was leading Dusty Crouch (right) until Brodil spun out…

After that wild LCQ, there was still the main event to be run! The gate went up, and Brodil was gone, being chased by Crouch and McGuire. Mandy had opened up a big lead by lap four of this six-lapper when suddenly – and totally uncharacteristically – the “Wild Child” lost it, spinning out of control on the ice! She quickly gathered it back up and was immediately WFO, but the “Time Bomb” pounced on the opportunity and grabbed the lead.

In the chaos, McGuire and others following got all messed up. Once things sorted themselves out for the last lap, Crouch wasn’t about to give the gift he’d just received back! He went on to take the win, just ahead of Brodil, and Kaufman rounded out the podium. Following the first three were Veon, Smith, Quam, Demeo and McGuire. Man – if the Official ICE scorekeeper job ever opens up, I’m not available! It’s just way too hard!

… a bobble on which Dusty Crouch (above) capitalized, taking the main-event victory.

Things are getting very interesting with just two more rounds left to go – Hampton, Virginia, and Trenton, New Jersey – before the 2013 World Champions will be crowned at the beautiful new Ford Center in Evansville, Indiana, on February 23. See ya soon at an ICE race!

U.S. Cellular Coliseum
Bloomington, Illinois
Results: January 12, 2013 (Round 5)

Manufacturers World Cup Bikes

HEAT 1: 1. Kirk Cheney; 2. Tom McGrane; 3. Jay Maloney.

HEAT 2: 1. Jared Mees; 2. Brittany Powell; 3. Darren Carter; 4. Bryan McKenna.

HEAT 3: 1. Jared Mees; 2. Tom McGrane; 3. Jay Maloney; 4. Brittany Powell.

HEAT 4: 1. Kirk Cheney; 2. Darren Carter; 3. Bryan McKenna; 4. Shea Knuth.

LCQ: 1. Tom McGrane; 2. Jay Maloney; 3. Darren Carter; 4. Bryan McKenna; 5. Shea Knuth; 6. Brittany Powell.

MAIN: 1. Jared Mees; 2. Jay Maloney; 3. Tom McGrane; 4. Kirk Cheney; 5. Bryan McKenna; 6. Shea Knuth; 7. Brittany Powell; 8. Darren Carter.

Unlimited Outlaw Quads

HEAT 1: 1. Chuck Calvert; 2. Ken Remer; 3. Shane Quam; 4. Ryan Jamison.

HEAT 2: 1. Dusty Crouch; 2. Garrett Dean; 3. Drake Fairfield; 4. Cody Norton.

HEAT 3: 1. Kevin Veon; 2. Brandon Davis; 3. Blaine Jamison; 4. Brady Shultz.

HEAT 4: 1. Mandy Brodil; 2. Kevin Smith; 3. Anthony Demeo; 4. Ryan Dassow.

HEAT 5: 1. Ryan Kaufman; 2. Todd McGuire; 3. Paulie Smidt.

HEAT 6: 1. Anthony Demeo; 2. Garrett Dean; 3. Paulie Smidt; 4. Cody Norton.

HEAT 7: 1. Ken Remer; 2. Shane Quam; 3. Kevin Smith; 4. Chuck Calvert.

HEAT 8: 1. Todd McGuire; 2. Kevin Veon; 3. Blaine Jamison; 4. Drake Fairfield.

HEAT 9: 1. Dusty Crouch; 2. Ryan Jamison; 3. Ryan Dassow; 4. Brady Shultz.

HEAT 10: 1. Mandy Brodil; 2. Ryan Kaufman; 3. Brandon Davis.

LCQ: 1. Kevin Veon; 2. Anthony Demeo; 3. Shane Quam; 4. Kevin Smith; 5. Chuck Calvert; 6. Garrett Dean; 7. Brandon Davis; 8. Ken Remer.

MAIN: 1. Dusty Crouch; 2. Mandy Brodil; 3. Ryan Kaufman; 4. Kevin Veon; 5. Kevin Smith; 6. Shane Quam; 7. Anthony Demeo; 8. Todd McGuire.

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