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SUPERIOR, Wisc. - What first started as a hobby for Darin Meierotto, has quickly turned into a winter–time tradition.
"It started for me in 1985 on Madeline Island. I raced with some guys down there that raced out on the ice and that's kind of where it started for me and I've been doing it ever since," said Meierotto.
Meierotto has taken that tradition to the Twin Ports, where the Superior Ice Racing Association (SIRA) hosts weekly races held on makeshift tracks between stock cars of all shapes and sizes.
Meierotto said, "We've got some vintage stuff, we have stuff as old as into the 1970's, bigger cars, smaller cars, front wheel drives and we race them all together."
"It's a 1975 Chevrolet Vega wagon. It's a 2.5 liter, all aluminum with about 325 horsepower. It's a Sunday cruiser, but it's quick. It's fast," said Eric Crosby, of Amery, Wisconsin.
The two day event, labeled the "King of the Bay," attracts drivers from the Ashland, Rice Lake, Superior and Lake Magnor circuits.
Many drivers utilize studded front tires and added weight to the rear of the car for better traction on the slick course.
"You don't just jump in and go. There's a lot of setting up the car. You have to be able to drive and not be afraid either. You're doing some bumping and grinding," said Perry Raivala, of Superior.
Car safety isn't an exact science, but thanks to roll bars installed in most cars, crashes are limited to spinouts into man–made snow banks.
It also helps to have a co–pilot spotting on board.
Raivala said, "It helps if you have somebody saying you got somebody on the inside or you have someone coming on the outside. So, it does help having a passenger telling you where they're coming from and whose coming."
Racing is free of charge for spectators and if you're interested, some drivers may even let you tag along to catch all the thrills and spills up close and personal.
"I know on our track anybody who wants a ride can come up to me and say Eric Crosby can I ride with you? And I'll say sure hop right in. Let's have some fun," said Crosby.