Wednesday, March 21, 2018

LUKOIL FIM ICE GLADIATORS – DID YOU KNOW?

Ice Speedway Gladiators is a competition with motorcycles, a discipline which is very popular in Russia and the Scandinavian countries, with avid followers and fans in Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Poland, USA and Canada. 
The biggest national championship is in Russia but FIM sanction an Individual FIM Ice Speedway Gladiators World Championship for which most riders compete through Qualifying rounds and a Grand Prix style Final series. 

There is also a World Championship for Teams. 7 Nations meets every year to compete for the LUKOIL FIM Ice Speedway Gladiators World Championship title in the final event. The current champions are Russian.
The length of a typical ‘Ice Gladiators’ oval track varies between 260 and 425 metres. Ice Speedway Gladiators is performed like speedway with the riders always turning ‘left’ (counter clockwise). Four riders compete during a ‘heat’ which lasts for 4 laps and takes about 60 seconds. Unlike speedway, riders do not skid on the track but rely on spikes in the tyres for grip, and ride ‘road race’ style around the bends.
THE MACHINESAlmost all of the Ice Speedway Gladiators motorcycles are ‘prototypes’. The typical components, frame, handlebars, wheels, are all hand made, even the menacing looking spikes…! Engines are tuned, upgraded and tested on dyno’s to find the best power and torque curves.
The two-valve engines have capacity of 500cc, usually a JAWA single cylinder four stroke and air cooled, running on pure methanol which is fed through a carburetor with a 34 mm diameter. The engine has a two speed gearbox and develops around 50-55 PS.
Minimum weight is 110 kg and there are no brakes.
The minimum bank angle on the left hand side of the motorcycle is 68 degrees.
The speed varies from 70 to 100 km/h according to the length of the track.
A cut-out switch is placed on the wrist of the rider in order to stop the engine in case of a fall.
Special FIM approved silencers are in use to curb the sound levels away from the track. 
Tyres are also handmade. But the difference is made by some menacing looking, 120 very sharp spikes, embedded on the front tyre and up to 160 on the 21"rear tyre, providing the best possible adherence and traction on the ice surface.
90% of the spikes are placed predominantly on the left side section of the tyres. The maximum length of a spike allowed is 28mm. Their position on the tyre, their number, their form, is an art by itself; an art so precise that depending on the track surface conditions (hardness, temperature), a rider can succeed (or fail) on the construction of his tyres.

THE RIDERSThe LUKOIL FIM Ice Speedway Gladiators riders use plastic, carbon or metal protections in order to protect every part of their body.
A complete suit of leather (Kevlar based material) covers the real body protection worn underneath. Body armour is worn much like that of a medieval knight to protect the rider and particularly the upper body from the ultra sharp spikes, spinning like a circular saw. 
Shoes are often ‘custom’ made. Special arm, leg, knee and spine protectors are used to protect the rider in addition to the helmet, gloves and boots.
FIM Communications