XIIR (pronounced “X, Double I, R) is a professional motorcycle race held on ice inside the Family Arena. Known as the world’s toughest professional ice race, riders modify these speedway bikes and quads to compete on an indoor ice arena. More than 2000 metal studs are added to the bikes’ tires and there are no brakes, making this the fastest sport on ice and one of the fastest sports in the world.
“We’ll sell you the seat, but you’ll only use the edge of it,” says Anthony Barlow of XIIR. Barlow, known as The British Bulldog, is a seven-time world champion racer and owner of XIIR who lives in the St. Louis area.
The rush of so much power and speed on a surface as unpredictable as ice has whipped audiences into a frenzy and gained new fans across the country. Fans aren’t fooled by the appearance of the speedway bikes competing in this race. They are more than just mountain bikes with engines. They are equivalent to a 1200 cc crotch rocket engine in a mountain bike frame — a 4-stroke, 4-valve engine that runs on nitro methanol. This allows the engine to run at a higher compression, producing more horsepower.
The average family car has a maximum 8,000 revs where as an ice speedway bike has a maximum 14,000 revs. Four laps on a speedway bike compares to 10 minutes on a motocross bike. The power (90 horse power at the back wheel) to weight ratio (the bikes weigh only 180 pounds) is something that cannot be explained. Each rider gears his bike differently with 60 to 80 toothed sprockets, which are nearly the size of the wheel itself.
There will be a total of twenty to twenty-five races, consisting of heats where riders earn points to qualify for the Main Final Race. Heats consist of four riders racing handlebar-to-handlebar for four laps. The Main Event consists of six riders for six laps.
In addition to St. Louis’ Barlow, the 7-time world champion, noted riders scheduled to compete at The Family Arena include James “The Demolition” Mann, Kyle “Lego” Legault, Jade “Pretty Boy” Maloney, Clayton “Captain America” Griswell and Gentleman Jim Terchila who won the last round of XIIR.
Local riders will be invited to bring their bikes to the course and compete in a race during the event.
Many ask “Why so few laps?” This is done for many reasons. Anyone that has ever ridden a speedway bike immediately understands and would never raise that question however, as a spectator it is a common question. The best way to explain: Why does a Dragster Bike only go a quarter mile instead of a mile? Answer: The engine would blow and the rider would not have enough strength and endurance to control the bike. Another reason is there simply isn’t enough ice. The grip of the steel studded tires would soon hit concrete causing the bike to gain too much traction and head straight to the wall.