Taking on the ice
Invented in Sweden in the 1930s, ice racing is a motor sport unlike any other. Equipped with tyres covered with 28 mm spikes, the racer accelerates from zero to 100 kilometres per hour in less than three seconds. The bikes have front and rear suspension in order to cope with the extreme vibrations caused by up to ten centimetres deep ice furrows that occur on the track after only a few heats. But the bolts still tend to shake loose during racing, a problem that is aggravated by the 500 cubic centimetre engine mounted directly onto the frame, and the temperature fluctuation of the bike’s steel frame – it expands when the motorcycle gets warmed up for a race, and contracts when it cools down again, which makes the bolts loosen.
“Normally, only five percent of ice racing is about actual racing, whereas 95 percent is about checking and repairing the bike between heats and before and after a race,” explains Patrik Ahlin, who entered the Swedish top division league of ice racing for the first time this season.
With a background as a maintenance technician at a large steel company, Ahlin was quite familiar with Nord-Lock’s products. Therefore, while preparing his first ice racing bike, he secured all the bolted joints along the bike’s frame with a total of 20 Nord-Lock locking washers with both standard and enlarged external diameters.
Already after the first race, the Nord-Lock washers proved that they could cope with the racing bike's frame expanding and contracting due to temperature differences. Instead of breaking, cracking or loosening, they moved with the materials and kept the bolts locked. Since the washers secured the bolts safely, the mechanic team saved time by not needing to check them – a saving of up to 30 per cent between the heats and as much as 40 per cent after a race.
With 22 races, Ahlin has driven the highest number of heats of all ice racers this season without any mechanical problems. Most important of all: he feels safe on the ice.
“When I’m racing, I don’t have time to worry about the bolted joints,” he says. “With the new washers, I go out there and concentrate on the race, knowing that the bike is in the safest possible shape.”