Race Hay River sets date for its big event

NNSL file photo During the 2016 Weekend Warriors event on the Hay River, Sydney Hiebert, front, and Samantha Fosty hit the gas at the beginning of a race on March 6.

NNSL file photo
During the 2016 Weekend Warriors event on the Hay River, Sydney Hiebert, front, and Samantha Fosty hit the gas at the beginning of a race on March 6.

Race Hay River has set the dates for its main Weekend Warriors snowmobile, motorcycle and ATV event on the frozen Hay River.

Kurtis King, vice-president of Race Hay River, said the event dates were set at the group’s annual general meeting on Jan. 25.

“We’re going to be doing our big race March 18 and 19,” he said.

King said that, in past years, the races have often been held on the first weekend of March, at the same time as K’amba Carnival.

However, there were several reasons for the change this year.

“It was just basically racer availability and some of the key racers and volunteers weren’t going to be in town for that first weekend,” said King. “There is also a conflicting race date in Alberta. So just a few different reasons.”

The later date has raised some questions about what the weather and snow conditions will be like at that time.

“We’ve done it later before and it hasn’t been an issue but it’s a little bit of a concern especially with the warm winter that we’ve been having,” said King. “But historically that week in March we usually always have snow. We’ll make something work.”

In fact, he recalled there was a race on the very last weekend of March in the past.

“We raced two weekends last year,” he added. “The first weekend it was slush and water, and the next weekend we had good snow. It could start melting right now with the weather outside. It would get slush and water and stuff like that, too. It’s hard to really tell. You’ve just got to set a date and hope for the best.”

Weekend Warriors is mostly a snowmobile event but there is also motorcycle and ATV racing on the river.

“The motorcycle and ATV ice racing has kind of become more and more popular every year,” King said. “It was kind of an afterthought years ago but it’s kind of becoming more and more prominent.”

It is hoped the event will attract between 40 and 50 racers, with about half coming from out of town.

Race Hay River is also considering another event for the first weekend in March.

King said a decision will likely be made this week.

“We’re possibly going to do one on the K’amba weekend too, maybe just a little smaller event, not as many things going on,” he said, referring to the K’amba Carnival in which the reserve hosts handgames, sled races and more. “That hasn’t been 100 per cent decided yet but I think we’re probably going to shoot for two.”

Race Hay River will be talking to some out-of-town racers to see if they can make an event in early March.

–Paul Bickford