The heavy, acrid smell of high-octane gasoline mixed with jet fuel lingers in the air long after these super-modified sleds have shred the 500 foot double lane of snow and ice that was the Cold Smoke 2013 drag strip.
Track conditions weren’t fast. With air temperatures hovering just above zero degrees Celsius, the snow was heavy and some sleds would bog down off the start. Many found it difficult to track a straight line, conceding precious fractions of a second to their competitors.
Times didn’t matter. Winning your heat did. The fastest sleds topped out at over 160 kms/hr with Burns Lake’s own Tony Strimbold clocking 167 kms/hr. At those speeds, a quarter-second delay off the start was the difference between winning and losing.
Children covered their ears but couldn’t tear their eyes away as riders lined up for their runs. Their sleds were like barely contained raging animals. They backfired, sputtered, and screamed-out rpms in their starting line approach. The sleds refused to be handled lightly, threatening to stall rather than to move slowly.
The speed and power of these sleds, some exceeding 350 horsepower, doesn’t come without danger. Local rider, Dakota Woods, had a terrible off-track accident during a practise run on Saturday morning. He lost control and collided with a tree. Woods was flown to Vancouver General Hospital with a collapsed lung, a lacerated spleen, broken back and three broken ribs.
Juniors: 1. Ryan McCray 2. Michael Petkau
Ladies: 1. Daina Firomski, 2. Paula Alec
Gentlemen: 1. Kian Strimbold, 2. Jocelyn Etzerza
600 Imp: 1. Dwight Michell, 2. Kevin Etzerza, 3. Chad Lowley
600 Mod: 1. Kurt Havery, 2. Kevin Etzeerza, 3. Dwight Michelle
700 Stock: 1. Cameron Westle, 2. Bill Penner
700 Imp: 1. Dwight Michelle, 2. Loren Neilson, 3. Kevin Etzerza
700 Mod. 1. Kurt Havery, 2. Dwight Michelle, 3. Cameron Westle
800 Imp: 1. Michael Payne, 2nd Jarrett Payne, 3. Scott Urness
800 Stock: 1. Scott Urness, 2. Mike Weinhardt, 3. Angel Pettigrew
800 Mod: 1. Michael Payne, 2. Mike Weinhardt, 3. Marco Punis
900 Stock: 1. Trent Payne, 2. Scott Urness, 3. Justin Payne
900 Imp: 1. Jarrett Payne, 2. Scott Urness, 3. Michael Payne
900 Mod: 1. Jarrett Payne, 2. Scott Urness, 3. Marco Punis
Open Stock: 1. Scott Urness, 2. Trent Payne, 3. Michael Payne
Open: 1. Marco Punis, 2. Eric Petkau, 3. Richie Brown
King: 1. Eric Petkau, 2. Tony Strimbold, 3. Marco Perry
Best reaction time: Bret Johnson .504, Trent Payne .507, Angel Pettigrew .515 Fastest: Tony Strimbold 102.78 mph (167 kms/hr).