For the third time in as many years the Innisfail Dodds Oval Ice Race has been cancelled due to poor ice conditions.
Organizer Laurie Anne Benko said the ice on Dodds Lake was too thin to support the spectators, cars and heavy equipment involved with running the motorsport event. The event was then moved to Gull Lake before being cancelled altogether.
"It wasn't even close," she said. "Dodds Lake just never seems to freeze enough."
About 10 inches of snow added insulation to the ice preventing it from thickening up. Outflows from town wastewater also prevented ice from increasing to the necessary strength by Jan. 2 when the races were to begin.
Safe ice thickness starts at 22 inches. On Jan. 16 Dodds Lake was only at 15 inches.
The race was moved to Gull Lake where ice had been measured at 20 inches.
The event was renamed the Rimbey Oval Ice Race but was ultimately cancelled due to thinner than expected ice, according to the Second Gear Club website.
Moving the event will mean Innisfail hospitality businesses will miss out on bookings, Benko said.
"I could have filled the hotels," she said. ìWe lose so many spectators.î
More than 150 riders and up to 1,000 people were expected for the ice race.
The two-way sprint, which is organized by road racers from Calgary, was held on Saturday. When organizers drilled a hole in the ice they found the ice to only be 15 inches thick, leading to the cancellation of all oval events.
ìWe're so dependent on the weather,î she said. ìWe have to have conditions that are perfect to do these sorts of events.î
Benko said she is looking into holding the cancelled race at Dodds Lake the weekend of Feb. 10 if the ice is acceptably thick.
Originally the Jan. 27 event was to feature motorcycles and quad racing winding around a one-kilometre course. The Jan. 28 event was to offer motorcycle and quad ice races around a quarter-mile oval. Though the majority of riders slated to participate were from Alberta, some were to come all the way from B.C.