Several years ago, United States X-Country racing circuit owner Brian Nelson picked up where his predecessor, the late USCC owner Pat Mach, left off in a dream of bringing cross-country racing’s most historic race in the Upper Midwest back to its roots, and routes. Countless meetings were held, trips were planned, wheels were greased… finally, everything was in order to make the International 500 back into a true point-to-point, multi-day adventure.
What could possibly go wrong?!
After getting countless state, county and municipal officials to sign off on the plans for the four day, 570-mile route that would start racers in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and set the finish line in Willmar, Minnestoa, Nelson failed to get one final signature, the one from the lady in charge: Mother Nature.
One day short of a month before the race was to begin, limited snowcover across much of central and western Minnesota caused Nelson today to announce a new route for the I-500. Day 1 of the race stays the same: It will still start in Winnipeg, so it will still live up to the “International” part of its name, and end at the Seven Clans Casino just south of Thief River Falls. The race will conclude, however, with looped routes that bring riders back to the casino each night.
In fact, the Plummer Loop that served as day 1 of the I-500 last year will be run on day 2 this year, and the Goodridge Loop that served as day 2 last year will be the concluding day 3 this year, when the event will possible end. According to a press release from Nelson, however, “If weather conditions change, there is a possibility of running Saturday, February 14, from Seven Clans Casino to Bemidji, MN. Racers should hold off on purchasing the Fuel Pass for this event until closer to the start.”
The race is still bound to attract a huge number of entries, as new rules focusing the primary class on consumer-based snowmobiles plus the mystique of the previously planned route has caused many would-be competitors to plan their entire winter around the race. In fact, this route may even save the race teams some money on their travel costs. But some of the romance may be gone.
Below is the USXC press release:
USXC 2015 I-500 IS ON!
Race Director Brian Nelson has made a decision to change the route of this year’s 2015 USXC Winnipeg to Willmar I-500. Because of the low snow fall the state has received, the conditions to run along the previously dictated route will not be possible, therefore, the route will be as follows:
Wednesday, February 11 – Winnipeg to Seven Clans Casino (fuel stop in Pembina, ND)
Thursday, February 12 – Seven Clans Casino Plummer Loop (previous years I-500 Day 1 loop)
Friday, February 13 – Seven Clans Casino Goodridge Loop (previous years I-500 Day 2 loop)
Vintage and Juniors will run the third day, Goodridge Loop, out of the casino and the awards banquet will be set for Friday night at Seven Clans Casino following the three-day, 500 mile course. SIGN UP NOW here as the entry deadline is February 1, 2015!
If weather conditions change, there is a possibility of running Saturday, February 14, from Seven Clans Casino to Bemidji, MN. Racers should hold off on purchasing the Fuel Pass for this event until closer to the start.