Brad Baker Bully On Winter X Games Motorcycle Ice Racing (Video)

Harley-Davidson Street 750 takes to the ice for Aspen exhibition.

Brad Baker and Jared Mees

Reigning AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Champion Brad Baker is in Aspen, Colorado, this week lobbying with other motorcyclists for ice racing to become an exhibition sport and, possibly, a medal event, at the annual winter X Games.

Fresh off his victory at the Superprestigio Dirt Track in Barcelona, Spain, Baker, along with fellow dirt-track stars Jared and Nichole Mees, rode a pair of 2014 Harley-Davidson Street 750s fitted with studded tires on a frozen lake in northern Michigan for a Harley-Davidson promotional video, which was shown on ESPN during X Games opening ceremonies.

“We think fans will be captivated by the extreme attitude and beauty they’ll see on the ice,” said H-D’s Dino Bernacchi.

Baker and the Mees are among a handful of people outside Harley-Davidson who have ridden the new 750 Street. "It was great to get that thing out on the ice with Jared and Nichole," Baker says. "The Street has a low center of gravity and is really nimble. The motor is quite a bit smaller, with nice, smooth power. It definitely has potential to become a flat tracker.

AMA Pro Grand National Champion Brad Baker

“We had to stiffen the suspension and raise the left footpeg and shifter—they were digging into the ice—but for the most part, it was just removing the blinkers and horn and mirrors, stuff that gets in the way for competition. They were a lot of fun to ride.”

Baker, a Harley factory rider who hails from Washington state, admits he has little experience riding on ice. “But, other than the sharp studs that we screw into the tires so we have good, consistent traction, a lot of the concepts and skills of dirt track translate to ice racing.” The Mees, like fellow Michigan residents and multi-time AMA Grand National Champions Scott Parker and Jay Springsteen, are ice-racing veterans.

Events like the Steel Shoe Fund 3-hour Endurance race, held on Kettle Moraine Lake in Campbellsport, Wisconsin, and the Numb Bum 24-Hour—known as the world’s longest ice race and a staple in Sandy Beach, Alberta, Canada, for a quarter century—have attracted hall-of-fame racers like Parker, International Six Days Enduro star Jeff Fredette, and 1993 500cc World Champion Kevin Schwantz, among others.

Harley-Davidson Ice Racing featuring the H-D Street

Inclusion in the winter X Games would bring motorcycle ice racing—and dirt-track, as well—out of the shadows and into the international limelight. Currently, snowmobiles represent the only motorized winter X Games sport. “Motorcycles have had a huge impact on the summer X Games,” Baker says. “Ice racing has been around for 100 years. X Games is what the sport needs to bring it to the next level.”

Unlike many sports, ice racing knows no gender barriers. “Ice racing is pretty physical,” Baker says, “but it’s not as physical as motocross or other sports of that nature. Nichole is an amazing rider—she’s a lot more aggressive and intense than a lot of guys I’ve raced—and so is Shayna Texter. A handful of girls are coming up the amateur ranks. Having women involved in motorsport brings an even bigger fan base. Ice racing is great for both sexes.”

X Game viewers can share their opinions via the Twitter hashtag #XGIceRace. ESPN will then share select comments during the final day of its broadcasting schedule, January 26. “After the fans see what ice racing is all about—intensity, risk, and speed—I think they are going to be really excited,” Baker says. “Ice racing is a perfect fit for the X Games, and if it happens in 2015, you can bank on me spending a lot of time on the ice.”

On your mark, get set...

Brad Baker (left) and Jared Mees.

Husband and wife dirt-trackers, Jared and Nichole Mees.

AMA Pro Grand National Champion Brad Baker.

Harley-Davidson Street 750 ice racing exhibition.

One screw at a time...

Street tires studded for use on the ice.