Winter has been harsh here in the States this year. From the atmospheric rivers pounding the West Coast to the bomb cyclones endured throughout the Mid-West and East Coast, the seasonal conditions have rarely relented in 2023. That isn’t the case around the world, however.
In Austria, abnormally warm winter temperatures forced the MSC Weißenbach club to postpone its ice speedway race scheduled on February 4, 2023. With no forecasted storms to provide relief, the organization ultimately canceled the event yet again.
“Unfortunately, it is not possible for us to organize an ice speedway this year. The warm temperatures and the little snowfall don't allow it,” an MSC Weißenbach representative told German outlet SpeedWeek. “Our Rally Cross will take place on February 25th. We hope we can start again with an ice speedway in 2024."
By then, ice racing fans will have waited five years since Luca Bauer claimed victory at the Tyrol-based race in 2019. Austria isn’t the only country losing an annual ice race, though. The Netherlands also canceled the Ice Speedway Championship round at Heerenveen—but for entirely different reasons.
"Due to the high energy prices, it is not possible for us to hold the ice speedway event from March 30 to April 2, (2023)," revealed the organizing club. "We very much regret that the race is not possible now, but we hope that it will be possible again in 2024."
As a result, the sole round of the 2023 FIM Speedway World Champion will take place in Inzell, Germany, on March 18-19, 2023. Of course, there are no signs that the climate crisis will cooperate with the Austria-based MSC Weißenbach race in the near future.
On the other hand, rising energy costs are a direct result of the continuing Russia-Ukraine conflict. Hopefully, by 2024, the two countries reach a resolution or the Netherlands finds alternative energy sources. Otherwise, ice speedway racing may suffer for years to come.
Sources: SpeedWeek (1), (2), MSC Weissenbac