AppEatSleepRIDE

124 months ago

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Track Day At The Pond: A Motorcycle Masterclass On Ice

Brantford, Ontario, Canada

Hanging out on a frozen pond in Southern Ontario, especially when it's -10C, is not everyone's idea of fun. But when you have a chance to see Canadian Superbike Champ, Jordan Szoke train with his dad Bob, and a group of 20+ impromptu riders, it's a different thing altogether.

Here's how it works: first Jordan Szoke clears an elaborate ice track on a frozen pond and then we race around it like kids in a winter-wonderland candy store.

Getting read - Ice riding

Getting read - Ice riding

Setting up - Ice riding

Setting up - Ice riding

Setting up - Ice riding

Setting up - Ice riding

Setting up is damn easy. The guys bring out their dirt-bikes, equipped with studded tires, covered for transport to protect the truck-bed.

The gear is basically motorcross with a few layers underneath. Big gloves get in the way of shifting so everything from home-made jugs to handle-bar muffs go on to keep the hands warm.

This Sunday ride started off gloomy and overcast with light snow, but by the time Jordan cleared the ice, the sun was out!

Bob Szoke - Ice riding

Bob Szoke - Ice riding

Bob Szoke and the Husky 300 - Ice riding

Bob Szoke and the Husky 300 - Ice riding

YZ250F hand warming - Ice riding

YZ250F hand warming - Ice riding

Jordan Szoke - Ice riding

Jordan Szoke - Ice riding

Husky 300 - Ice riding

Husky 300 - Ice riding

#89 wheelie man - Ice riding

#89 wheelie man - Ice riding

Jugs KTM - Ice riding

Jugs KTM - Ice riding

It's refreshing to hear motorcycle engines again after such a long winter, and these guys were playing a symphony around a complicated 2km, home-made track.

The idea is to ride on ice, not snow. Snow makes for reduced traction and prevents the studds from digging into the ice. If you want more riding and less sliding, you need to get right down to the ice. Simple ovals are not challenging, so Jordan Szoke takes his time creating a technical and challenging track with lots of rights, lefts straight-aways and corners and then we ride.

#233 taking a nice corner - Ice riding (1)

#233 taking a nice corner - Ice riding (1)

Blue - Ice riding

Blue - Ice riding

Blue leading - Ice riding

Blue leading - Ice riding

Blue and Skills - Ice riding

Blue and Skills - Ice riding

Bob Szoke - Ice riding

Bob Szoke - Ice riding

Bob Szoke - Ice riding

Bob Szoke - Ice riding

There's no hint of rivalry when everyone is getting ready, but out on the ice, no-one is giving quarter. The laps get progressively faster and the riders look more and more at ease as they go round. It's a masterclass on ice.

It's an eye-opener to see riders cranked over with foot-pegs scraping the ice, while speeds on the straight-away are topping 100 km per hour.

Waiting for the track - Ice riding

Waiting for the track - Ice riding

#333 Brent - Ice riding

#333 Brent - Ice riding

Jordan Szoke, happy with his track design, gets some time on the ice.

Jordan Szoke - Ice riding

Jordan Szoke - Ice riding

Jordan Szoke - Ice riding

Jordan Szoke - Ice riding

Jordan Szoke getting the wheel up - Ice riding

Jordan Szoke getting the wheel up - Ice riding

Today, a large group is out. Some riders are buddies, some are strangers. A few riders are pros, or semi-pros. Of course, everyone rides dirt. Some guys share bikes and a number of riders are totally new to ice. Regardless of how they arrived here, between ice-time, everyone is friendly.

Taking a break - Ice riding

Taking a break - Ice riding

YZ250F - Ice riding

YZ250F - Ice riding

YZ250F hand warming - Ice riding

YZ250F hand warming - Ice riding

Blue - Ice riding

Blue - Ice riding

Wheelies are a must. The world's fastest wheelie on ice was nailed by Ryan Suchanek from Edgerton, Wisconsin at 108.5 mph (174.61 km/h) for 200m on a 2005 Kawasaki ZX10R that was Lake Koshkinong Wisconsin, January 27, 2013. No world records here, but a few attempts were made. Here's one that ended in a fall, slide and walk-away.

#89 Doing a wheelie - Ice riding

#89 Doing a wheelie - Ice riding

#89 Post wheelie - Ice riding

#89 Post wheelie - Ice riding

#89 Wheelie recovery - Ice riding

#89 Wheelie recovery - Ice riding

#89 Post wheelie walking - Ice riding

#89 Post wheelie walking - Ice riding

#89 Back on the bike - Ice riding

#89 Back on the bike - Ice riding

Afterward, there's nothing but smiles and bright red stripes of windburn where the wind has got underneath helmets. No-one is cold though. The ice might be 16” thick, but they're riding hard and it shows.

Blue - Ice riding

Blue - Ice riding

Bob Szoke - Ice riding

Bob Szoke - Ice riding

#29 - Ice riding

#29 - Ice riding

#333 Brent - Ice riding

#333 Brent - Ice riding

Jugs KTM - Ice riding

Jugs KTM - Ice riding

Tyler and Jugs - Ice riding

Tyler and Jugs - Ice riding

Skills cornering - Ice riding

Skills cornering - Ice riding

#233 layn'er down - Ice riding

#233 layn'er down - Ice riding

#901 and YZ250F - Ice riding

#901 and YZ250F - Ice riding

Skills and Blue with YZ250F - Ice riding

Skills and Blue with YZ250F - Ice riding

Taking a break - Ice riding

Taking a break - Ice riding

A few hours later, the temperatures drop rapidly to around -20C and the sun begins to dip, but these guys don't. Another pass of the Szoke-boni and the snow is cleared for more riding.

Jordan Szoke cornering - Ice riding

Jordan Szoke cornering - Ice riding

Jordan Szoke - Ice riding

Jordan Szoke - Ice riding

#333 Tyler - Ice riding

#333 Tyler - Ice riding

Skills sliding with control - Ice riding

Skills sliding with control - Ice riding

Skills - Ice riding

Skills - Ice riding

#333 Tyler  and #89 - Ice riding

#333 Tyler and #89 - Ice riding

Stroker - Ice riding

Stroker - Ice riding

Nick on the Husky 300 - Ice riding

Nick on the Husky 300 - Ice riding

Snow Plow Fund - Ice riding

Snow Plow Fund - Ice riding

The snow and sky - Ice riding

The snow and sky - Ice riding

The ESR App + CrashLight was used to collect speeds and data. Learn more about the ESR App on the App Store

See you on the ice. Eat Sleep Ride.

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ScottRC51

123 months ago

Fantastic!

Slyck255

124 months ago

Amazing shots Marina! What a fun way to get through a dismal month!

devon

124 months ago

Awesome pictures!

Jordan

124 months ago

I was riding my friend's DRZ 400 on the ice at Ghost Lake, AB on Saturday afternoon. It was super fun, nice to get the bike drifting and sliding. The grip is amazing.

lalune

124 months ago

@alex It's from a Cessna 172 at about 6500 ft. We noticed it on the way to Lake Erie from Brantford, but it wasn't until I got home that I saw the jeep and the guy on the track. I'll email you the shot.

marina

124 months ago

@Slyck255 More ice riding for you - no Striples anywhere.

alex

124 months ago

@lalune that a lot like it. How did you shoot it? Can I add your photo to the story?

lalune

124 months ago

Is this the track? I shot this Feb 17 in the morning from 6500ft: http://www.flickr.com/photos/urbanmoon/12601279035/in/photostream/

nick303

124 months ago

It was an absolute blast and I can't wait to do it again. Gotta get my own set-up going. It's amazing how much these studded tires hook-up and next time out I need to work on going faster... more power to the rear = more traction ... so fun. Big thanks to Jordan for letting me get out a couple times on his bike!!

champers

124 months ago

Been dying to try this my whole life. Going again?

Agent3012

124 months ago

Is there a special version of the CrashLight app for ice riders? One that sends the message "WARNING: may have crashed. Or possibly has just slid along the ice to a snow bank, giggling like a mad-man."

alex

124 months ago

Track day at the pond: motorcycle masterclass on ice @nick303 @teramuto @ssloan @champers @jordan @sierralimahotel @loudbike @tdot333 @agent3012 @teja