Power toboggans bring the heat

Kirk Penton, WINNIPEG SUN

, Last Updated: 11:57 PM ET

Don’t be fooled by the warm temperatures.

The action at the 48th annual Canadian Power Toboggan Championships in Beausejour this weekend promises to get your juices flowing.

“It does slow the sleds down a bit, but you can’t tell the difference between 110 miles an hour and 105 miles an hour,” CPTC racing director Andy Baker said Friday. “It doesn’t matter how warm it gets. We’re racing. In 2000 it was 17.5 degrees Celsius on Sunday, and we raced the whole day.

“We even had a woman who went home, put a bikini on, came back to the track, took off her snowmobile suit, stood in the stands and watched the race in a bikini — just to say she did it.”

It won’t be that hot this weekend, but the forecasted highs of between 0 C and 2 C should bring out plenty of spectators to watch the supersonic souped-up sleds on the half-mile ice oval at the CPTC Raceplex.

Seventeen drivers are scheduled to compete in the weekend’s feature race: the Pro Champ 440 on Sunday afternoon that will determine the 2009-10 Canadian champion.

Baker was worried that the economic downturn in the U.S. would limit the number of entries, but only one American regular called to say he didn’t have the money to make the trip this year.

One competitor many will be watching this weekend is Winnipeg’s Brian Bewcyk, who will attempt to get the monkey off his back and finally win a Canadian title on home soil after 15 years of trying.

The 45-year-old from Transcona finished fourth in the Pro Champ 440 last year, second in 2008 and third in 2007.

He’s contemplating retirement, according to Baker.

“He wants to win this one,” Baker said.

“I shouldn’t even say this, but I think everybody in town would like him to win it, too, before he retires.”

Nicholas Van Strydonk of Tomahawk, Wis., is back to defend his Pro Champ 440 title on a 2010 Polaris. Last year’s runner-up, Dustin Wahl of Greenbush, Minn., is also scheduled to race.

Tickets are $15 per day but free for those 12-and-under. Hot laps start at 9 a.m. both days, and racing commences at 10 a.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. on Sunday.

The CPTC Raceplex features trackside parking, grandstand seating, spectator warm-up areas, heated concessions and washrooms, and free parking.


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