Race fans, be prepared for a little less “braap” this AMSOIL Championship Snocross race season.
My father taught me a lot about sports. Which collegiate hockey team was the best (it’s the UMD Bulldogs…sorry, Minnesota Golden Gophers), the numbering system for the positions in baseball (6-4-3 double play anyone?), how downs and yardage work in professional football (and that we will always love the Minnesota Vikings), among others.
One of the most important lessons he taught me came during a lackluster season for one of our favorite teams: “This is a rebuilding year. Things will come back around.”
That appears to be the case this season for AMSOIL Championship Snocross.
No more engine mods
As part of an effort to level the playing field in the Pro Class, International Snomobile Racing, Inc. (ISR) has implemented a new rule for the upcoming season that requires all race sleds to essentially be stock. That means teams can no longer modify the engine, pipes or chassis.
They can, however, modify the shocks, skis, handlebars and aftermarket silencers. The sled may also be reinforced and strengthened with added material.
We’ve seen this before in motorsports. In motocross, all competitors, both amateur and pro, compete with limited-build bikes within a few horsepower of each other. More recently, the TORC Series implemented new restrictions to its Pro 2wd class to increase the field of competitors.
That’s the same idea here. With two of the teams in the Pro Open class bowing out at the end of last season, the field was shrinking. This new rule change is designed to encourage more Pro Lite racers to move up to the Pro Open class to fill those gaps.
Yay or nay?
As with any change in sports, this move has its advocates and detractors. Proponents argue that this will open the door for more riders to move up and hopefully lessen the expense of snowmobile racing, in turn fueling its future. The sled manufacturers will also be encouraged to build better race sleds, which benefits riders in all classes.
Opponents argue that this will make the racing less interesting for fans, with the loudest (and may I mention my favorite) class being the little 120s. They also argue that it will stifle innovation in the sled industry.
Two big industry players at opposite ends of this issue include Steve Scheuring of Scheuring Speed Sports and Tom Rager Jr., Race Manager at Polaris.
We sat down with a few key players in this world to hear what they have to say. Hear their thoughts in the video above.
What are your thoughts? As with any change, it will take a year or so to see how everything shakes out. This could eventually be a turnaround for the world of snocross racing. Or maybe it won’t be.
The only way to find out is to drop the flag on the season and start racing. The AMSOIL Championship Snocross season kicks off Thanksgiving Weekend at Spirit Mt. in Duluth, Minn.
I hope to see you there!