World Championship ICE Racing Series
Round 8 of 8: Ford Center
Courtesy of ICE
EVANSVILLE, IN, FEB. 23, 2013
A packed house was on hand at the Ford Center in Evansville, Indiana, to see the grand finale of the 37th annual World Championship ICE Racing Series. You could have cut the tension with a knife, as everyone in the building knew there were two World Championships on the line. The racing was very exciting, with plenty of thrills and spills to wow the fans.
The Manufacturers Cup Bike heat races started off the night’s action. The first was a wild one that ended with contact and heated tempers. “Sideways Sammy” Wiggins from Coatesville, Pennsylvania, made a last-lap pass and dashed to the finish line ahead of Shea Knuth from Bloomington, Illinois, and Tom “Freight Train” McGrane from Gapp, Pennsylvania. Knuth took exception to McGrane’s aggressive riding style and let his opinion be heard throughout the pits. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed.
Other round-one heat winners were “Flyin’ Brian” McKenna from Boston, Massachusetts, and Jake “The Snake” Mataya from Blaine, Minnesota.
The round-two heats were won by Wiggins, McKenna, and Hastings, Michigan’s “Captain Kirk” Cheney, who was keeping his World Championship hopes alive. Both Cheney and Mataya had a win and a second in their heats, so there was no change in their 32 WC points spread, which was still led by Mataya. With 40 WC points up for grabs in the main event, it was still wide open as to who would be the 2013 Champion. McGrane, with third- and fourth-place heat-race finishes, was now mathematically out of the title chase.
Next up was the Bike LCQ, to decide who would make up the back row of the main event. Hard-charging Austin Greenland from Spring Mills, Pennsylvania, dominated this race from start to finish, followed by Jay “The Jackhammer” Maloney from Oakland, New Jersey; Tom McGrane; and Darren Carter from Bloomington, Illinois. All of them would be transferring on to the main. Done for the night, in their respective finishing order, were Knuth; Kyle McGrane from Gapp, Pennsylvania; first-timers on the ice Nick McFadden from Owensboro, Kentucky, and Greg Childers from Evansville, Indiana; and Bloomington’s Brittany Powell, who is improving with every start she makes.
The main event was now set and ready to go. All the marbles were on the line – the 2013 World Championship and the first-ever Evansville Ice Racing Champion was about to be decided.
Cheney shot out from the gate to take the early lead. He desperately needed to win for a chance at the title. But on the second lap, Greenland amazingly forced his way to the front from a second-row starting spot to lead Cheney and Mataya. On the fourth lap of this eight-lapper, The Snake struck once again to take second from Cheney, and then set his sights on Greenland.
Going into the final lap, it looked like Mataya was going to have a shot at the win, but Greenland gutted it out and managed to hang on for his first major-league ice-racing victory. He was followed closely by Mataya, Cheney, Tom McGrane, McKenna, Carter, Maloney and Wiggins.
This has been an awesome, competitive season of racing for the ICE Manufacturers World Cup Motorcycles, crowning a great new World Champion in Jake “The Snake” Mataya. Cheney kept things close through the last night of racing. Greenland promises to be a strong contender for the future. ICE Rookie Of The Year honors went to young Kyle McGrane. Special ICE MVP Awards were given to Tom McGrane and Kirk Cheney for extraordinary efforts on and off the track. Congratulations to all the racers for a great season!
The ICE Unlimited Outlaw Quads had their own World Championship battle on the line on this night, with three racers still in the hunt at the grand finale. Dusty Crouch from Topeka, Kansas, had a 32-point lead over Kevin “Cool Hand” Smith from Overbrook, Kansas, while Mandy “Wild Child” Brodil from Poplar Branch, North Carolina, still had an outside chance to win her sixth WC title.
The first-round heat-race winners were Brian Sommers from Burlington, Wisconsin; Jeff Brodil from Grandy, North Carolina; and Crouch.
The round-two winners were Jeff Brodil; Ken “Stuntman” Remer from Burlington, Wisconsin; and Chuck “The Ice Man” Calvert from Madison, Wisconsin. In this last heat race of the night, Mandy Brodil and Smith got tangled up going into turn one, and Mandy’s number-one quad was sent into the infield. In the process, she looped her machine backward, and the “Wild Child” was thrown to the icy surface. She landed on her back and hit her head violently on the ice. After several minutes, Mandy decided to compete in the restart, in which she finished second. A short time later, though, Mandy became ill in the pits and sought out help from the attending medical crew. She was diagnosed with a concussion, her second in two seasons, and she was subsequently transported to the hospital for further observation. Her hopes for a sixth World Championship title were over.
The Outlaw Quad LCQ was all Sommers’. He took the lead from the pole and never looked back. The three other riders transferring to the main, in order of their finish, were Ryan “Hit Man” Kaufman from Table Grove, Illinois; Anthony Demeo from Woodland Park, New Jersey; and Smith. Just missing the cut were Danvers, Illinois’ Brandon Davis, on the Harley-powered Thunder Quad, and Cody Norton from Cooksville, Illinois.
The Outlaw main was a wild one that would determine this year’s World Champion. When the starting gate was released by official ICE referee Robert Arms, Jeff Brodil (Mandy’s dad) shot off the pole with front wheels in the air! By the time he reached the first turn, he was being pushed hard from the outside into the infield. Brodil wasn’t able to recover, as the rest of the field raced on. Crouch had excellent position on the track, racing away in the lead, followed by Calvert and Remer.
On lap two of this six-lapper, Remer forced the issue and got by Calvert for second, followed through by Demeo and Smith. Then, suddenly, on lap three, Demeo cut under the turns-one-and-two pole markers, causing his disqualification. The very next lap saw Kaufman get by Calvert for fourth, and that’s how it all ended up, as they crossed the finish line. Crouch had won the race convincingly and garnered his first World Championship! Remer finished second, his career best. Smith took the last podium spot, locking down second overall in this year’s title chase. The top three were followed by Kaufman, Calvert and Sommers. Jeff Brodil tallied a DNF, and Demeo was disqualified.
All the special awards and World Championship points-fund checks and trophies were presented at the private banquet immediately following the evening’s event. ICE Rookie Of The Year honors went to Eric Jennings from Otisville, New York. Co-ICE MVPs were Ken Remer and Chuck Calvert. The prestigious Bob Hetrick Memorial Sportsman Award was presented to Mandy Brodil for outstanding achievements and good will both on and off the track, for supporting and promoting the sport of World Championship Ice Racing. Unfortunately, Mandy and her family were unable to be present to accept the award due to Mandy’s injury. As of press time, word was that Mandy is improving and was cleared to travel home to North Carolina. All her friends and fans in ice racing wish her a speedy and complete recovery.
On this special night of racing, a very special moment took place on the ice. Shortly after his third successful attempt this year at the Ring of Fire Quad Jump in Evansville, under the spotlights and heard over the house PA system, Ken Remer proposed to his longtime girlfriend, Kristie Knack. Though she was totally surprised, she accepted!
On that happy note, we’ll sign off for another great season of World Championship ICE Racing. Congratulations to the new World Champions, Jake Mataya and Dusty Crouch! Get well soon, Mandy! And we’ll see you all next winter for number 38!
Results: February 23, 2013 (Round 8 of 8 )
Manufacturers World Cup Bikes
HEAT 1: 1. Sammy Wiggins; 2. Shea Knuth; 3. Tom McGrane; 4. Nick McFadden.
HEAT 2: 1. Bryan McKenna; 2. Kirk Cheney; 3. Austin Greenland; 4. Darren Carter.
HEAT 3: 1. Jake Mataya; 2. Jay Maloney; 3. Kyle McGrane; 4. Brittany Powell; 5. Greg Childers.
HEAT 4: 1. Sammy Wiggins; 2. Kyle McGrane; 3. Greg Childers; 4. Brittany Powell.
HEAT 5: 1. Bryan McKenna; 2. Jake Mataya; 3. Nick McFadden; 4. Shea Knuth.
HEAT 6: 1. Kirk Cheney; 2. Austin Greenland; 3. Darren Carter; 4. Tom McGrane; 5. Jay Maloney.
LCQ: 1. Austin Greenland; 2. Jay Maloney; 3. Tom McGrane; 4. Darren Carter; 5. Shea Knuth; 6. Kyle McGrane; 7. Nick McFadden; 8. Greg Childers; 9. Brittany Powell.
MAIN: 1. Austin Greenland; 2. Jake Mataya; 3. Kirk Cheney; 4. Tom McGrane; 5. Bryan McKenna; 6. Darren Carter; 7. Jay Maloney; 8. Sammy Wiggins.
Unlimited Outlaw Quads
HEAT 1: 1. Brian Sommers; 2. Brandon Davis; 3. Ryan Kaufman; 4. Kevin Smith.
HEAT 2: 1. Jeff Brodil; 2. Ken Remer; 3. Anthony Demeo; 4. Cody Norton.
HEAT 3: 1. Dusty Crouch; 2. Chuck Calvert; 3. Mandy Brodil.
HEAT 4: 1. Jeff Brodil; 2. Ryan Kaufman; 3. Brandon Davis; 4. Cody Norton.
HEAT 5: 1. Ken Remer; 2. Dusty Crouch; 3. Anthony Demeo; 4. Brian Sommers.
HEAT 6: 1. Chuck Calvert; 2. Mandy Brodil; 3. Kevin Smith.
LCQ: 1. Brian Sommers; 2. Ryan Kaufman; 3. Anthony Demeo; 4. Kevin Smith; 5. Brandon Davis; 6. Cody Norton; 7. Mandy Brodil (DNS).
MAIN: 1. Dusty Crouch; 2. Ken Remer; 3. Kevin Smith; 4. Ryan Kaufman; 5. Chuck Calvert; 6. Brian Sommers; 7. Jeff Brodil; 8. Anthony Demeo.