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Ice race Krumbach: when the spikes cut into the black ice

Anna Matuschek
5. Internationales Eisrennen Krumbach
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D For three weeks, four heavy tractors rolled every night - a total of about 150 hours - over the 800-meter-long route to turn a field into an ice rink with the help of thousands of liters of water.

The starting field at the ice races is large

If the temperature rises above zero degrees Celsius, all the effort was in vain. Roman Fink is the club chairman of the 'Off Roader' who organized one of the few ice races last weekend. 'The whole thing was a very shaky thing'. If it had gotten too warm, the race would have sunk in the slush of water. But at the fifth international ice race in Krumbach, the chances of a successful race weekend were good. 80 starters with motorcycles, near-series racing cars, quads, auto-cross vehicles, or as they are called in Austria 'buggies' had registered in advance.

Some auto-crossers at the ice races are almost old timers

But the rush to the entry stand this morning is at least as strong as The clothes of the motor sports enthusiasts who have traveled here are thick. For many, it's mainly about having fun driving when the motorized fun machines can be drifted over the ice with the prescribed spikes. Many starters take part in auto or motocross events in summer and see the chase through the white splendor as a welcome change. The 62-year-old 'Rosti' is one of the long-established residents. He has been there for 30 years, for 25 years with his VW Polo 1 conversion. Only rough contours of the once practical small car can now be seen. Where there used to be space for passengers three, four and maybe five, this year two Yamaha R1 engines á 160 PS are screaming.

With the 320 PS Polo on ice

'I rebuilt the car six times and was able to fight for some of the 500 or so trophies in slalom, rally cross, autocross and of course the ice races', the likeable Austrian smiles proudly before joining 320 HP in a small car rolls towards the ice surface. The third place in the 'Three Nations Cup' in Auto-Cross, which is highly recognized in the scene, is also at the start in Krumbach today with his 325 BMW. The way it will look'Stöby Thomas' was able to win here in its class - the near-series vehicles. 'I see the whole thing as training for the summer,' says the 34-year-old in blue racing overalls.

The fastest are the autocrossers

However, there is agreement about which vehicle category will achieve the best lap times on the field. The 'special', cross-cars or buggies put times of less than 30 seconds on the black ice - provided that the driver and technology harmonize as well as Josef Vögel with his 200 hp emergency equipment. The motorcycle mechanic has been involved for about 13 years when it comes to sweeping through dirt or over the ice as quickly as possible. The journey was worth it, because today the 34-year-old can add another example to his trophies with the 1,200 cubic Kawasaki Crosser.

Before the race, every vehicle has to go through the technical inspection

But before it even starts, the drivers and vehicles also have to take part in the ice race pass the technical acceptance. Without the right spikes, nothing works here - and the racing cars themselves may look more adventurous to laypeople than they really are. 'We commission the technical acceptance and the entire race management from the RRCV - the Voralberg racing and rally club. There is no vehicle that is not safe here,' emphasizes Roman Fink, member of the club's board of directors. 'Driving without a license is also possible not allowed.

Very few bad accidents happen in ice races

The combination of ice and fast vehicles normally causes all accident alarm bells to ring, especially the group of cross motorcycles gives a sense of evil. The risk of falling is undoubtedly very high and so is the probability of being run over by the studded competition. So far, however, there has only been one person injured during the four previous races, the organizer assures us. And This weekend, too, the chances are good that the paramedics' fingers will freeze due to lack of exercise - in contrast to the first aiders on the route, twelve of the 76 cars they had to leave the pistes haul e. And the tractors are still in heavy demand, because the clean-up work will keep the 38-strong 'Off-Road' club warm for a few more hours. If that is necessary at all, because towards the end of the event the thermometer shows plus degrees and the first green grass blades are already peeking out on the slopes.


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