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Tires Are The Key
Probably the single most important element of ice racing is tires. There is a fine balance between the weight carried over the tire, the power being transferred, and the co-efficient of friction of the contact patch. The co-efficient of friction is a combination of the tire’s rubber compound, the tread design, the surface area of the tire, inflation pressures, and the surface condition and temperature of the ice. As the condition of the ice can change from lap to lap, it’s a challenge to get maximum power down while maintaining traction.
In rubber-to-ice classes, the tire surface can be improved by tractionizing, a process which mechanically chews up the surface of the tire to improve its grip. Many clubs own a tractionizing machine, or you can get it done trackside for a small charge per tire. To stay competitive, a top competitor can spend between five hundred and a thousand dollars a year on tires, repairs and maintenance and improvements.