Nitrocross drivers are descending on Calgary this weekend, set to battle each other on the ice track at GMC Stadium.
Even though unseasonably warm weather delayed race day to Sunday, Nitrocross GM Chip Pankow says the preparation for this event happens weeks ahead of time. Originally, two race days were slated for Friday and Saturday.
“A couple weeks ago, our team was up here building ice out on the track,” said Pankow. “Thankfully, that allowed us to get a very thick base out on the track.”
The daytime temperature forecast for Sunday is around -2 C, which Pankow says is ideal for racing conditions.
The Calgary stop of Nitrocross — the only one in Canada this year and the only track to feature ice — is the eighth of 10 on the season schedule, which winds up with rounds nine and 10 in Las Vegas in March, when champions are crowned.
Swedish racer Kevin Eriksson won the Calgary stop in 2023, and is currently sitting in second place. He is 12 points behind, and says Calgary is his chance to catch competitor Robin Larsson.
Get the latest National news.
Sent to your email, every day.
“I grew up racing on ice so I have that experience,” said Eriksson. “You have to be more aggressive, and carry more speed into the corners. That’s what gives you grip.”
That grip is made possible by specialized studded tires on the Nitrocross race cars. The metal studs are 12 mm long and were designed specifically for the ice track, which also features huge jumps and banked turns, along with snow barriers.
Eighteen-year-old VMV driver Viktor Vranckx will be on the track alongside Eriksson. This is his first time in Canada and he can easily be spotted by his bright orange car, inspired by his favourite show, The Simpsons.
“I started talking to people about Calgary and everybody said it was the most amazing fans out there,” said Vranckx. “I’m looking forward to Sunday and hearing them scream and hopefully we can put on a good show.”
Nitrocross Fan Fest will allow fans to get up close and personal with the drivers and do a paddock walkabout at the Nutrien Western Event Centre from 3-5 pm. Gates open for racing action on Sunday at 3 pm at GMC Stadium.
© 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.