Feb 2001



Central Frontenac Drag Races

by David Brison

Conditions were perfect for the first Snowmobile Drag Races in Sharbot Lake on Saturday, March 10.  The day was bright and clear; the ice (which could have been dicey this late in the season) was solid enough to support at least 2000 spectators and 134 race entrants, as well as their cars, trucks, trailers, and machines. The Central Frontenac Race Committee had worked diligently to prepare the course and attend to all of the behind-the-scene details that are critical for a successful event.

The overwhelming consensus from everyone (race organizers, spectators, and participants), was simply, “Isn’t this wonderful!!”  That comment was repeated often during the day – always accompanied by a look of satisfaction, and wonderment that such an event could be pulled off this late in the season, with such short lead-in time.

Spectators got a chance to mingle with the racers and watch them prepare their machines.  The noise, as they tune up, is deafening, and is mixed with the smell of gas fumes, and endless conversation about horsepower-to-weight ratios, blown clutches, broken chains, getting left at the start, and how good someone else’s machine is.

These sights and sounds were a dream come true for many – a chance at last to see drag racing in their own backyard.

Many of the racers themselves go from event to event.  There was a large contingent from Quebec, and many from all over Ontario.  Gary Kyling, from Montreal, was one of the premier racers.  He was fresh from victories at Rivičre-du-Loup, Quebec and Bathurst, New Brunswick.  “I have been racing snowmobiles for 22 years.  For many years, I raced with my father. We were also partners in a machine shop, but he is gone now.  This is an opportunity to be with him again and also to share the experience with my own family.  My daughter Melia is here and will race in the kid’s event – I get to spend the weekend with her.”

Gary broke a chain in the 1000 open, but repaired it and finished first in the King of the Ice race.  Daughter Melia, age 7 (“In two weeks I’ll be eight,”) was first in the Kitty Kat race. Gary has five machines that he races.  The one he competed on is 300 lbs. with 250 horsepower.  He himself is considered heavy for the event at 190 lbs.

Trent Carruthers and Jeff Babluck of “Just A Humpin! Pirate Racing” from Ashton, Ontario were looking forward to the opportunity to race against Gary.  They had a new machine which they thought could compete at his level.  It was to be the first time that the machine had raced on ice. However, first they bent a runner, fixed that, then blew a clutch and were unable to race.

There were 36 categories, and approximately 275 separate races were run on the six tracks. 

The awards ceremony took place at The Sharbot Lake Country Inn.  Dave and Cathy Saban, owners of the Inn were instrumental in bringing the event to Sharbot Lake and donated the trophies for the winners.

The organizing committee for the event consisted of Barry Baily, Gary Parks, Keith Howitt, Steve Hart, and Spencer Robinson.  Central Frontenac Councillor Frances Smith organized the event for the municipal recreation committee.  “ We couldn’t have run it successfully without the help of people from the Cloyne Recreation committee.  We also couldn’t have done it without the help of a large number of volunteers who swept the start areas, helped with registration, started and timed the events, and did numerous other tasks,” Frances said.

It looks as if the Drag Races will be an annual event.  The committee has secured a February 23 date for next year.



Drag Races results


King of the Ice

1st – Gary Kyling             Montreal, Quebec

2nd – Denis Langevin     Gatineau, Quebec

King of the Trail

1st – Butch Douglas       Trenton, Ontario

2nd - Wayne Parker        Beamsville, Ontario

King of the Snow

1st – Jeff Hannafin          Plainfield, Ontario

2nd – Scott Conners       residence not known

Kitty Kat

1st - Melia Kyling             Montreal, Quebec

2nd – Celeste Bonter      Marmora, Ontario

3rd – Anthony Lane          Peterborough, Ontario

orange snowmobile (2).jpg (66869 bytes)   Melia Kyling (2).jpg (90464 bytes)  Gary kyling tuning (2).jpg (74478 bytes)  end of the day (2).jpg (69348 bytes)