This is going to be one icy race event that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Xtreme International Ice Racing, presented by Cernic’s, will bring its racing tour to the area at 7:30 p.m. March 23 at 1st Summit Arena @ Cambria County War Memorial, 326 Napoleon St., downtown Johnstown.
Known as the world’s toughest professional ice race, the event sees riders modify their speedway bikes and quads to compete on an indoor ice rink and take their bikes from 0 to 60 mph in three seconds.
More than 2,000 studs are added to the bikes’ tires to help better grip the ice and gain speed, and there are no brakes, making this the fastest sport on ice and in the world.
But the speedway bikes are more than mountain bikes with engines.
They are the equivalent of 1200cc crotch-rocket engines in mountain bike frames – four-stroke, four-valve engines that run on nitro methanol.
This allows the engine to run at a higher compression, producing more horsepower.
The average family car has a maximum of 8,000 revs, whereas an ice speedway bike has a maximum of 14,000 revs.
Four laps on a speedway bike compares to 10 minutes on a motorcross bike, officials say.
Each rider gears bikes differently with 60- to 80-toothed sprockets, which are nearly the size of the wheel.
Brennan Mihalick, director of arenas for 1st Summit Arena @ Cambria County War Memorial, said they had the racing event at the area last year and it was well received by the public.
“We sold more tickets than we even anticipated,” he said.
“Doing the show in partnership with Cernic’s helped us as well because they helped to advertise to the right demographic. Everybody seemed to really enjoy the show and with all the races, it’s always exciting.”
Mihalick added that local riders also will be a part of the action.
“We’re hoping to see a lot of people return from last year and maybe draw some new people out,” he said. “This is another event that we have that has a local touch to it. People in Johnstown really have a strong sense of community pride, and it seems like they come out in stronger support when we have locals participating.”
The event will feature 20 to 25 races, consisting of heats, where riders earn points to qualify for the final race.
Heats consist of four riders racing handlebar-to-handlebar for four laps.
The main event consists of six riders for six laps.
Noted riders will include Anthony “The British Bulldog” Barlow, seven-time world champion racer and owner of Xtreme International Ice Racing; James “The Demolition” Mann; Kyle “Lego” Legault; Jade “Pretty Boy” Maloney; Clayton “Captain America” Griswell; and Gentleman Jim Terchila who won the last round of Xtreme International Ice Racing.
“It’s really thrilling thing to watch – it’s loud and the crowd gets into it,” Mihalick said.
In order to protect the ice and the hockey logos and lines, the maintenance staff will start to increase the ice depth prior to the event.
“Normally we’re around an inch and a quarter or an inch and a half thick, but for this we’ll go up to 31/2 inches, so we’re almost doubling the ice,” Mihalick said. “All of the vehicles have special studded tires so they really eat into the ice.”
When the event is over, the arena Zamboni will remove the chopped ice and cut the ice back to get it smooth again.
Mihalick said arena officials are excited to have ice racing back in Johnstown because prior to last year’s event, it hadn’t been to the area since 2011.
“We like to stick with what we know works and then try to add a little bit of variety in,” he said. “We put ice racing out there and it worked, so we’re going to keep rolling with it as long as we see there’s still interest in it.”
For security purposes, patrons will be subject to a screening prior to entering the arena.
Tickets range from $20 to $25 for adults and $7 for children with purchase of adult ticket.
To order tickets, call Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000 or visit www.ticketmaster.com.
Tickets also are available at 1st Summit Arena @ Cambria County War Memorial box office from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.
What: Xtreme International Ice Racing.
Where: 1st Summit Arena @ Cambria County War Memorial, 326 Napoleon St., downtown Johnstown.
When: 7:30 p.m. March 23.
Tickets: Range from $20 to $25 for adults and $7 for children with purchase of adult ticket.
Information: 814-536-5156 or www.1stsummitarena.com.