LAPORTE -- The 2019 ice racing season began on Sunday, Jan. 13, on Garfield Lake in Laporte. The Garfield Lake Ice Racers Association once again will be racing each Sunday at noon on the lake just east of Laporte.

The races are free to the public to watch with the east side of the track area set for fans to enjoy the races with restroom facilities included. The races will continue into spring until ice conditions prevent safe racing.

Thirty ice racers in two classes filled the pits on Sunday with 15 A class drivers and 15 B class drivers competing on the ice oval. Drivers pay a $30 fee to join the GLIRA and a $20 fee to race each Sunday.

Two sets of complete races are held each Sunday with heats and features. The racers receive no pay or stipends to race and all the funds go to the GLIRA.  

President Kris Baker expressed his excitement for the donations made in 2018 and is excited for the new racing season. Flagman Tom Lindahl returns and was presented a gift of a heated jacket by the drivers and association.

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While the racing is exciting and fun for drivers, crews and fans, Laporte and surrounding area families and schools are the real winners.

Over the years the Garfield Lake Ice Racers have donated many thousands of dollars to various causes and groups. In 2018 alone the group gave out nearly $40,000 to a variety of groups and individuals.

On Sunday, the races were led by Reid Watson in the B class, who picked up three wins, including a feature win. Brandon Bahr was the other feature winner.  

In the A class, Chad Tabaka had a heat and feature win, and John Farrington won a feature.   Picking up heat wins were Kalin Honer, Ryan Julin (2) and Tabaka.

In the B Class, Nate Zanter, Reid Watson (2), and Josh Bitker picked up checkered flags.

Races will resume next Sunday, Jan. 20, at noon. For more information, check out the Garfield Lake Ice Racers Facebook page.

Garfield Lake Ice Racers (Sunday’s Results)

1st heat: 1-Ryan Julin, 2-Josh Seely, 3-Letty Huston, 4-Fritz Myer, 5-Bob Pawlitschek.

2nd heat. 1-Kalin Honer, 2-Chad Tabaka, 3-John Farrington, 4-John Geshwill, 5-Bryan Karl.

1st heat: 1-Reid Watson, 2-Sam Delaney, 3-Matt Harvey, 4-Chris Roller, 5-Dennis Clark.

2nd heat: 1-Josh Bitker, 2-Nate Zanter, 3-Kevin Bahr, 4-Abe Forseman, 5-Nick Lewis.

1-Chad Tabaka, 2-Ryan Julin, 3-John Farrington, 4-Kalin Honer, 5-Josh Seely, 6-Letty Huston, 7-Bonnie Farrington, 8-Joel Harvey, 9-Fritz Myers, 10-Bob Pawlitschek.

1-Reid Watson, 2-Nate Zanter, 3-Matt Harvey, 4-Brandon Bahr, 5-Sam Delaney, 6-Josh Bitker, 7-Dennis Clark, 8-Abe Forseman, 9-Rob Martinson, 10-Kaiden Roloff.

1st heat (top 5): 1-Chad Tabaka, 2-Joel Harvey, 3-Bonnie Farrington, 4-Fritz Meyers, 5-Jon Sharpneck.

2nd heat (top 5): 1-Ryan Julin, 2-Letty Huston, 3-Josh Seely, 4-John Farrington, 5-Bob Pawlitscheck.

1st heat (top 5): 1-Nate Zanter, 2-Kevin Bahr, 3-Josh Bitker, 4-Miranda Richards, 5-Abe Forseman.

2nd heat (top 5): 1-Reid Watson, 2-Matt Harvey, 3-Chris Roller, 4-Dennis Clark, 5-Sam Delaney.

Class A: 1-John Farrington, 2-Bonnie Farrington, 3-Jon Sharpneck, 4-Josh Seely, 5-Bob Pawlitschek, 6-Ryan Julin, 7-Fritz Meyers, 8-Nathan Doughty, 9-Cody Hoffman.

Class B: 1-Brandon Bahr, 2-Matt Harvey, 3-Chris Roller, 4-Nate Zanter, 5-Reid Watson, 6-Josh Bitker, 7-Sam Delaney, 8-Abe Forseman, 9-Dan Riggs, 10-Miranda Richards.