Edited 2/27/2001 4:31 PM

Some email from the participants

I will address some of the viewpoints presented in these emails at the bottom of this page in the near future.


Given whatever amount of water is standing on the lake, do you have any idea how likely tomorrow's event might be? I am asking because I'd have to leave home between 5:30 and 6 tomorrow morning to arrive by 8am, so it might be too early to receive your email.

Chris Franson


First, my wrap-up article mailed with the results and in MoHuds’s regional newsletter, the Knock Off:


Greetings!  Another year's Ice Trials into the record book!

Saturday's event was canceled due to too much water on top of the ice and warm weather in the 40's!  A large group of Ice Trials fanatics were there at the pavilion at 7AM to see what the conditions were and make a decision to run or not.  We (Mark Elworthy) drilled holes in the lake with an Ice Fishing auger and let a LOT of the water go under the ice.  The lake ice floated up to equilibrium and what water that was left (still a lot) was left for nature to deal with.  We decided to let nature do its thing and see what Sunday gave us.  As Saturday progressed the wind was gusting to 50+MPH and temperatures plummeted.

Sunday at 6AM the temperature was 5 degrees F and slowly rising.  Winds still gusting over 20MPH.  The lake was totally dry and pretty smooth except where some of us (and others) had been driving in the water and slush on Saturday.  The first 100 yards from shore were a disaster.  Bad idea!

Our main problem was keeping the 1.1 mile (measured Monday with my Jeep) course defined when the pylons blew out of position.  Dave Kosla and crew of helpful entrants mapped out a fairly smooth course around the bumps and we got timed runs started around 10:30.  Possibly a record. 

We shut off registration at 75, then 85 then 90 and finally at 100.  There were a few sour faces from some of our regular entrants until we relented and apparently we did send some entrants away. We did what we had to and opened registration at 7:30 as there was a pile of entrants that believed we wanted to get going early (perhaps a lesson for the Solo2 group).  You can check the results sheet.  Numbers were given out in order of arrival at registration.  A lot of previous entrants have low numbers and newcomers later.  Past years always had a rush at 10:30.  I expect in the future that if you arrive after 9:00 you'll easily be out of luck. 

There are several reasons for early registration and a limit and no pre-registration this year:

·       We need to get the event going ASAP.

·       You need to be here to see what's going on and what the special requirements of the day are.

·       We need to get the registration data into the PC (pre-registration is good for this, but then you don't show up on time or at all.  I know.  We used to allow signing up Saturday for Sunday and found the same problem, although this later idea may be implemented again, giving your number away at 830AM).

Limit 100? The bad part is that 100 is really an unwieldy number.  We hardly had any interruptions of runs, had 2, 3 or even 4 cars on course most of the time and still had only 3 timed runs.  Figure it out; if the conditions hadn't been so good we would not have had the 3 timed runs.  I don't know what to say or how to give us more runs other than lowering the entry.... Note we only really had 99 entrants since I couldn't run.

Admittedly, the limit isn't good for the long distance entrants, but what do you suggest?  The history of the Ice Trials (which is a Pittsfield Winter Carnival event) is for the local people (no offense to our distant friends).  Local participation for the last decade or so was fairly constant and now long distance entrants have burst our ranks from a typical 30-50 cars and 6 timed runs (on a good day) to present day 100+ and 3 runs.  Be honest, which would you prefer to attend? 

Last year was a record with ~110 on Sat and ~90 on Sunday.  People were camping in the parking lot and staying in local motels, driving 3+ hours from here and there.  It's a great event that just can't take the popularity it now enjoys.

There has been mention of requiring entrants to have a Berkshire County residence.  There has been mention of eliminating bolts and other than standard studs in the tires.

Frankly I think what we need is competition/availability from other events.  Why no one in Vermont or east of Springfield or even elsewhere in the Berkshires?  The Pittsfield Parks Department is not interested in more events here at Onota and frankly neither am I (the facility is booked up with fishing derbies and the Winter Carnival Family Day) and now costs a pretty penny to heat.  After their last event Feb 18th the plumbing comes apart and the pipes get drained and the heat turned off.  Plus, the chances of pulling off an event late in Feb, early March is a real crapshoot (I know, we've done it.  Both yes and no).  Why not an event the same day as an Onota fishing derby somewhere else?  I have a mailing list you can use.

Please submit your ideas/thoughts.  I don't fully buy the pre-registration idea because then we'd be filled months before the event.  We could do pre-registration and then go by residence.  Another thought is to have pre-registration for, say, 30 spots.  Entry fee would be a bid basis.  Send what it's worth to you (this event's entry fees help support the Pittsfield Winter Carnival) and see how you fare.  You're registration will be held until the prescribed entry limit is reached the day of the event and until 8:30 at the least if this occurs prior to 8:30.  At that point you loose your pre-registration, including entry fee, and your spot will go to the next entry at registration.  We may re-instate the practice of registering for both days on Saturday.  Same thing as above, you better be there by 8:30 Sunday.  Or maybe we should limit non-Berkshire entrants to 1 day?  Just ideas/thoughts…

I must quickly say "Big Thanks" to the help of many of the entrants.  I won't name names in fear of leaving someone out.  The years have gone by and more and more entrants are willing to help.  We had several people implementing a grid/staging system of their own design.  I think (I was tied up timing the event and missed what was going on.) they lined up groups of 10 cars and sent them to the start line in numerical order.  Great help!  I think we now have enough help-oriented people that we'll need a meeting before the next event to map out a work plan.  We do need to organize several specialties and get some more worker participation still. 

The days are long gone of running and get back in line.  I had planned that the starter would keep track of each entrant's run # with severe penalties for running out of order, but weather and organization eliminated this.  It looks like some people took more than 3 runs (or gave the wrong number to the starter) and slowed our scoring of the event.  We will try to enforce this better next event.  Also, car numbers were somewhat confused again.  Next event we will have buttons to pin to your self with your car number on it.  No button, no start. I'm trying to avoid the final solution of writing the number on your forehead with a magic marker.

On another note, we did have neighbor complaints to the Police about speedy driving on Lakeway Drive leading to and from the pavilion.  I've warned the entrants about this repeatedly over the years and we must drive painfully slow along this street.  This could cause the end of the event and our problems over.  We also will be requiring mufflers/noise limits on all vehicles from now on.

I'm glad our friends from Skip Barber and the other open cars were treated to a dry day!

I recommend everyone with email get subscribed to the ice-trials Email list.  Send a message "subscribe ice-trials" (without the quotation marks) to majordomo@digest.net and reply to the authentication message you'll get back.  It's the way I communicate to everyone on a timely basis as to conditions of the lake, etc, before and after the even.  There are few messages posted, if you're worried about flooding your inbox, and virtually nothing for 10 months of the year.  Also, visit us on the website: http://members.aol.com/pwintercarnival where there's some feedback and pictures of this and previous events.

Anyone with photos or videos, please send me a copy.

You need to realize that the only enjoyment I now get from this event is doing it well and providing everyone with a fun time.  I haven't been able to enter in many of the recent events and that doesn't add to my pleasure.  We need a few volunteers that don't want to enter but have a basic understanding of what's going on and are willing.  The more help we get the easier it is for everyone. Anyway, it was an adventurous weekend and I'll try to recover in the next 11 1/2 months to do another one! 

Trophies were awarded after the event and many of you weren't there to get yours.  They will not be mailed and will be available from me by appointment or can be picked up at the Parks Department on North Street (let me know first) or at Lime Rock Park at certain (many) events.  This includes trophies from last year.

BTW, the Boston BMW club has an event every possible weekend (Sundays) at Newfound Lake in New Hampshire.  Email for info (there is a mailer also):  inxces@cyberportal.net (Stan Jackson Jr.)




Thanks for your efforts on the trials.  By the mailer, it sounds like you had your hands full last year! Our three runs and tire inflation issues were tough last year and we left after only one run per driver (FTD Sat.)!

Above is the email address.

I don't know the actual number, but I anticipate five tomorrow.  If you could reserve?  I got a voice mail from the leader and he said we'd certainly try again.

Bob Green
Skip Barber instr.



Thanks for the excellent organization and your hard work.

I was glad I and my friends Tony and Tom from CT were not turned away, would have been a long 2-2.5 hour ride home...

I understand you need to limit entrants and want to make it easier for locals to run. But it's our only chance for competition in the long winter.

I redeemed myself from my 2nd to last overall finish 2 years ago, the new Blizzaks really helped. If I knew the ice was going to be that good I might have towed up my Carrera RS, will have to get some bolts stuck in some old race tires next year just in case ;-)

See you at Lime Rock in a few months!!!

Regards, mike piera  AnalogMike@aol.com  '72 911S (gone!)  '73 911RS Clone '93 SE-R

my racing pages - http://members.rennlist.org/analogmike/

~^v^~ aNaLoG.MaN ~^v^~   vintage guitar effects www.analogman.com


Hi Clark-

We'll, I was right about the road to hell & all... my RF caliper seized Friday afternoon and the rally car wasn't up for the trip so - another year missed. Only the 3rd year I've missed it out of the about 14 years I've been running it ;}

This letter is in response to your requests for input:

I think that reducing the # of entrants would somewhat serve to keep the crowd more local because people from far away are less likely to make the trip if they think they'll be cut-off.  Also starting earlier might serve the same purpose, as people with long trips might not make it.

The only other comment I might make is about running order:  I do think that if you just allow everybody to run when they want keeps the line moving - just make a rule that if you exceed a preset # of runs, your disqualified. Period.  I know this was something of a sore point between us with the event I chaired a few years back, but I think it can work.  Turnout that year was really low because nobody thought we had any ice, but if I remember correctly, we got 6+ timed runs in with 40+ entrants and finished early.  Deb said she didn't have a problem with it - but I don't know if she was just saying that to be courteous.

Anyhow, that's it Clark, except for I'd like to thank you for your efforts and I hope to see you next year!

Brad Martin



I was wondering do you have any times easy to be e-mailed of Sunday's event, as I had to rush away that evening.  The event was very good and very well run thank you look forward to it next year.

Shane Mitchell


Thanks for a great event!  I never did it before, and would love to go again.  PLEASE put on more events.  Even if you charge more I'd go.  I'm hooked.  Here are a few pics I had:




Fisher, Jake


>If anyone took photos or video's please contact me, I'd love to borrow or
>view what you have.  I'll put what I can on the website.

I'd second that motion but I'm looking for pictures of my car from a few years ago!  Yeah right, you'll be able to find it.

I drove the Red Subaru Legacy GT that had its air dam torn off and held on with bright green duct tape.  This course had a long front straight; I was bouncing off the rev limiter in 3rd (80mph) and getting some really good drifts leading onto the front straight.

pZ -- Paul Cezanne (formerly Czarnecki)

oblique@alum.mit.edu (Paul Cezanne)



Thanks again for a well run event! I should have pictures posted within the week; Tim also is working on video footage.  With all the entries in the event it is a miracle we got 3 timed runs. One thing that comes to mind when talking about limiting entries is perhaps making it a "one car-one driver" event. I don't know how many people it applies to, but maybe preventing a car from changing tires and running 2 classes. I entered 2 classes myself, but after seeing how slowly we were moving through the line up, I made only one run with my snow tires and stuck to the bolts. Lastly, I don't know how much more work it would be for you but what about pre registering and raising the entry fee? With this being the only ice race I attend, I would be willing to pay considerably more. Compared to a hill climb, $20 for the day is peanuts. Just a few thoughts I had.... Once again thanks for a great time this weekend. I will let you know when I get my pictures back.

Blaine Anderson


I was rather disappointed to find registration had closed early after driving 2.5 hours from Cambridge this morning.  Without pre-registration, those of us who live more than an hour away are caught in a catch-22 situation.  If we leave before 7:30, we risk showing up and finding the event was cancelled, if we leave after 7:30, we risk showing up and finding registration has closed early.  Without pre-registration, I won't be making the trip again and won't recommend it to other rallyists who live more than an hour from Pittsfield.

Chuck Cox     <chuck@synchro.com> <cccox@fas.harvard.edu>
SynchroSystems Motorsport Computers   <www.synchro.com>
Team Artex Motorsport                          


Hi Clark,

Thanks again to you and Dave for working (and freezing) your butts off to make this event.

My 2˘, A limit of 60-75 makes sense to maximize runs. Bolted cars don't spin out so much and when they do, recover and finish faster. So maybe bolted cars should have some priority over regular street tired cars.

I would not like to see where you live matter in being accepted. Pittsfield area people should be guaranteed entry because it is a Pittsfield winter carnival event for over 50 years.

The staging lines of 10 each was very good.

Alex Erisoty


Thanks for the good time.  The second and third runs were much better going by the numbers, especially for us guys with no top or heat.

Wayne Sedgewick


Hi Clark,

The northeast definitely needs more ice events. It is so much fun and safe too, nothing to hit. I wish there was an easy way to come up with a site.  I'll bet it would sell out every weekend!

If I go to Lime Rock it will be with a CART event. They put on two. CART also runs a nice autocross series at the old New Departure bearing plant (Bristol, CT). 13 acres of fast autocross.

Take care,


CWN wrote: "Bolts get far away from the winter driving experience and first timers, we've even had suggestions that we ban bolts and go back to basics!"

Alex replied: It is quite different compared with first timers/street tires. It seems to me bolts are the heart of ice trials; I know my first time at Pittsfield seeing the bug and Fairweathers? blue bomber go I thought, "this is too cool".

It's good that you have sub-classes so more people get trophies. I've traveled thousands of miles to a rally, come in 2nd overall (divisional event) and no trophies are awarded!

Even as ProRally Rookie of The Year...no trophy.



Actually I ended up not being able to make it. How did it go?

Is that the only one you guys do each winter? Or will there be another one later on? On the bright side, waiting until next winter gives me time to procure a roll bar ;-)

Sorry I couldn't make it, I guess now I'll have to impatiently wait for spring and Autocrossing ;-)




I was wondering do you have any times easy to be e-mailed of Sunday’s event, as I had to rush away that evening.

The event was very good and very well run thank you look forward to it next year.

Shane Mitchell





Addressing the issues: