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NEWS FROM AROUND THE TRACK

Published online: Jan 07, 2005 Feature
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Parts Unlimited returns as the presenting sponsor of the International Freestyle Snocross Association's FSX National Tour. Top freestyle riders will be competing this season for a total payout and contingency program in excess of $200,000 in events across the snowbelt.
The tour kicked off Dec. 3-4 at the Denver Coliseum in Denver, CO, and wraps up March 25-26 at the Fargodome in Fargo, ND.
In other FSX news, Arctiva Performance Wear (
www.arctiva.com) will continue its role as the official apparel of the tour. Specifically, FSX rider Justin Hoyer has signed to wear Arctiva apparel.
ESPN unveiled a new logo for the X Games. The logo will be universally recognizable on all X Games products including merchandise, TV telecasts, websites and events starting with Winter X Games nine, to be held in January at Aspen/Snowmass, CO.
The X Games celebrated its 10th anniversary this year and has grown to become the premier action sports brand in the world.
Arctic Cat is again sponsoring the Braaap Pack freestyle team for the 2005 FSX season. The 2005 team, comprised of Tim Needles, Nate Haag, Nathan Moncrief, Jimmy Flood and Dylan McNicholas, will all be riding Arctic Cat's newest, limited production Sno Pro race sled.
Team Arctic Cat race manager Brian Sturgeon said, "I can't wait to see what Braaap Pack captain Tim Needles can do this year with our 2005 lightweight Sno Pro."
Arctic Cat continues to support the organized Braaap Pack team because of its dedication to develop safe and professional freestyle exhibitions and competitions throughout North America. For more information visit
www.braaappack.com.
After Cat made the announcement about the Braaap Pack, the team learned Haag suffered a knee injury during football practice in September. After several specialists' appointments, the diagnosis is that Haag tore his ACL. Surgery was performed to repair the damage. "I can't believe this happened," Haag said. "I am disappointed that I'll miss out on probably the first half of the FSX season, but I am going to do everything I can to get this injury fixed and healed properly so that it doesn't become an injury that will bother me forever. I am excited about the fact that if all goes well, I'll still get to compete at the last few events of the season."
The 6th Annual Thayne Snow Days are scheduled for Feb. 4-5, 2005 in Star Valley, WY. Events include the Fire on Ice Big Air Exhibition, drag races, a vintage sled drag race and vintage sled obstacle course. The vintage obstacle course features a lemans-style start and includes jumps, dips, bumps and turns. For more information, contact Lorell Woolley (307) 883-0500.
The Rocky Mountain Snowmobile Hillclimb Association has two new race sites for 2005: the Bear Lake Hillclimb in Montpelier, ID, and Brian Head Hillclimb in Brian Head, UT. Brian Head is located in southern Utah. RMSHA will head back to Croydon, UT, for the Widowmaker Hillclimb and will also make a stop again in Red Lodge, MT, for the Grizzly Peak Hillclimb.
In case you missed it, Tony Zollinger was named Racer of the Year on the RMSHA circuit for last season.
RMSHA also has a handful of rule changes this season. Gone is the Stock 500 class, pretty much dominated by Cat's Steve Hill for the past several years. Added is Stock 900 and Stock 1000, which allow Cat and Polaris 900s, as well as the Summit 1000, to compete in stock classes now. Snow flaps must touch the ground (with the rider on the sled) on all sleds, including stock. If you don't think the snow flap rule is a big deal, watch a video from past hillclimbs and see the roost these mountain monsters can shoot. Also, nitrous can still be added to any modified sled. Last year there was some talk about only allowing nitrous in the Open Mod class.
Another interesting rule change is that if a sled hits the timing lights at the top, the rider is disqualified and must pay damages. That might just save RMSHA a bit of money. However, nothing was mentioned about if a sled's roost hits the timing lights.
RMSHA has also decided to have a Women's class at every race this season-Women's Semi-Pro. This class is open to any sled with no cc limit. 
Team Arctic announced the following hillclimbers will be riding green this season: Steve Hill, Tracey Farrow, Shad Free, Ty Free, Russell Frisbee, Lonnie Keller, Leslie Keller, Rob Kincaid, Justin Moeller, Sam Nazzise, Bret Rasmussen, Robert Tillotson, Todd Tupper, Rob Weston, Nate Zollinger, Jason Hughes, Kevin Mintz, Brian Henderson and Matt Elliot. Leading the Cat charge on the national scene are Kurtis and Shaun Crapo. Shaun was well on his way to challenging for the high points titles on the WSA national circuit when back problems (ruptured disc) sidelined him in January, 2004 for the rest of the season. He should challenge for the title again this year.
We reported in August on the SnoWest website (Aug. 26) about a new team forming in Colorado. Wildfire Racing will compete on Cats this year and hit Mountain West Racing events as well as several WSA nationals and CO/WY regional events.
Speaking of Mountain West Racing, that's the new name for the Rocky Mountain Cross Country Racing Circuit. As we reported to you in the November issue of SnoWest, for 21 consecutive years RMXCRC has been the leader in sanctioning snowmobile racing events in the greater Northwest but MWR points out that with this announcement only the name has changed. The management team responsible for RMXCRC's success over the past years remains intact to guide MWR into the future.
Eight snocross races are scheduled, beginning in December and finishing with the 15th annual SnoWest SnoCross in West Yellowstone, MT, in March, 2005. New to the schedule this year is the Washington Cup in Leavenworth, WA. MWR has combined forces with the Northwest Snow-Cross Association to stage the race in Washington.
A name change for the organization has been tossed around for a few years, primarily because snocross has been in the spotlight for the last 14 years and it has been five years since the circuit's last full season of cross-country events. Lin Rogers, who resigned his safety coordinator role in July, had trademarked the Rocky Mountain Cross-Country Racing Circuit title, the RMXCRC acronym and Rocket man logo. For more information on MWR, contact Thad Lawrence (208) 870-6057 or Terry Hardy (208) 887-4884 or log on to
www.mountainwestracing.com.
We announced last year in the January issue of SnoWest that Todd Wolff had announced his retirement. Wolff is a two-time I-500 winner and Pro snocrosser. Well, Wolff is back-kind of. Wolff is the team manager of a new racing team, Hentges Racing. The team features Pro racers Justin Tate and Brad Pitlik and four Semi-Pros, Jonny Hentges, Bobby LePage, Nate Hentges and Don Leddy. The team, which will compete on Polaris sleds this winter, raced on Ski-Doos last season and Wolff is a long-time Ski-Doo racer.
In other Polaris news, racing veteran Brian Call will serve as the captain of Polaris racers in the West, helping them with sled setup and serving as a coach for young racers. He will also compete in snocross events on the MWR circuit. Experienced racer Norris Brown will be the team manager for a team that includes his son Parker Brown, Norris' daughter Shila Dalebout and her husband Liv Dalebout. All three will compete on the MWR circuit. Also racing for Polaris in the West will be siblings Derek and Nicole Ellis. Derek was the RMXCRC Semi-Pro High Points Champion in all three classes last season. Nicole won the Women's High Points title.
Team Industries Racing, Team Amsoil/Scheuring Speed Sports and Judnick Motorsports are other teams that will be racing on Polaris sleds this season. Amsoil/Scheuring Speed Sports continues to attract big time outside sponsors, signing Red Bull Energy Drink.
Polaris has also re-signed Ryan Britt, who competes on the FSX tour.
Bombardier Recreational Products, makers of Ski-Doo, is pretty proud of the fact that on the snocross track last season the company captured 75 percent of season championships, all Pro classes on the WSA National and CSRA circuits and the ESPN Winter X Games snocross gold medal.
To keep the ball rolling, BRP re-signed Warnert Racing, which includes X Games winner Mike Island, WSA two-race winner Tomi Ahmasalo, Steve Martin and CW Sirjane. The deal is for three years.
The Blair Morgan Racing Team is also back and features WSA Pro Stock and Pro Open champion Blair Morgan, Carl Kuster and Steve Taylor. Willie Elam, a racer from Buhl, ID, who swept the Pro class high points titles on the RMXCRC circuit last season, joins the team on a full time basis this winter and will run Semi-Pro.
New to the Ski-Doo X Team on the WSA National circuit is DTK Motorsports/Kowalski Racing, based out of Duluth, MN. Trevor John is the lone Pro racer for the team. Joining John on the team are Semi-Pro racers Jeff Gruhlke and Scott Kowalski.
Mark Thompson will once again lead the hillclimb efforts in the West for Ski-Doo.
Now a word about the Tesoro Iron Dog snowmobile race in Alaska: The 2,018-mile journey begins and ends at the same place this year-Big Lake near Wasilla, AK. In past years, the race started in Wasilla, went to Nome and ended in Fairbanks.