I would like to share with local residents some facts, opinions and history of ice racing in our area. Ice racing started in 1989 out on the bay in Gladstone. After four years or so dealing with high winds and less than desirable ice conditions, racing was moved to its current location on the Escanaba River at the West Gladstone bridge.
Great Lakes Ice Racing Association, (GLIRA) has been at this location on the river for 19 years.
In the mid-90s I remember sitting in our trucks on the ice with the heater on watching motorcycles and quads racing tire to tire at seemingly impossible speeds! In 1998 I started racing the GLIRA studded quad classes and continued until 2000. I have many fond memories and a couple championships too!
Fast forward to 2012. I now have three awesome little kids, two of which are eagerly waiting to go racing on the river this winter. This year will be my son's third season racing the GLIRA mini quad class on the river. Having started racing at the tender age of four, he now has the poise and confidence of a veteran racer (with a Kool Aid smile)! My daughter, who is 8, will join him on the starting line this year for her first season of ice racing.
Many people are aware of the controversy surrounding the ice racing land track on N.7 Lane. I would like to make clear that GLIRA and Barron's track are two completely separate entities. While some racers choose to race both tracks, the racing at Barron's has no affiliation with GLIRA. From the beginning, my opinion was that another track and another series was a bad idea for a variety of reasons.
With all the controversy about the new track on N.7 Lane, I just hope our privileges on the river are not jeopardized in the process. For 19 years, families have been getting together on the ice having a great time with very few problems.
It also provides an incredible show for the spectators that come to watch with their heaters on!