Cross-country snowmobile racing may not be as easy to follow – in person or online – as snocross racing, but it is an immensely popular form of competition because of its real-world applications, its high-speed action and its important place in the history of snowmobiling.
This year, there’s even some intrigue.
Because of that, snowgosite.wpengine.com has added a new type of racing to the Snow Goer Snowmobile Racing Challenge game, based on four cross-country races on the USXC racing circuit. Players can enter the snocross, ovals and/or cross-country rounds of the game – do one, two or all three. It’s easy, free and fun, and you can win prizes depending at how well you guess the ending results of the each event.
For cross-country, it starts this weekend in Gonvick, Minnesota, with the Gerald Dyrdahl Memorial Pine Lake 200. Dating back decades, this ice-lemans style race on Pine Lake in Northwestern Minnesota is always where the racers, manufacturer officials and fans find out “who has the most smoke,” due to the long straightaway and high speeds on the course.
The intrigue this year starts with fact that the defending champion at Pine Lake, and the USXC points champion from last year, Ryan Simons, won’t be racing the USXC this year. That opens the door to other racers young and old. Another recent champion, Brian Dick, has told USXC officials he won’t be back full-time, as he focuses on his job at Arctic Cat and another run at the Iron Dog race in Alaska. Also missing from this year’s field, at least at the start of the season, will be Bobby Menne, who was injured moonlighting in snocross racing on Thanksgiving weekend.
Don’t worry, there are new names – and a new brand – in the Pro 600 class this year. USXC officials tell us that, under the new rules, Yamaha SX Viper (and, thus, Arctic Cat ZR 7000) models will be legal in the Pro 600 class, pitting those new four strokes in stock form against the 600-class two strokes from the other three brands. Now you know why Yamaha was doing some testing at snocross races earlier this year! That puts Ben Lindbom and recent Yamaha converts Corey Davidson and Matt Piche in the class on blue sleds.
To play the cross-country round of the Fantasy Racing Challenge, use this link. Once there, use the pull-down windows to predict the exact finishing order of the Pro 600 race on Sunday at Pine Lake. All picks are due Sunday morning. Players then get points based on how close their predictions are to reality. But points are only awarded based on racers who finish in the top 6.
For this round, we spoke with USXC officials and have entered the names of all Pro 600 racers who had, at the time of this post, either signed up for the Pine Lake race or registered as a member of the circuit racing the Pro 600. Other racers may sign up, and some of these racers may not – the first race of the season can be a bit of a crap shoot sometimes in terms of who is ready and who shows up. We’ve done the best we can. The prediction game does not allow for write-in candidates, so do the best you can with the names we’ve entered.
Chad Dyrdahl, one of the race event’s organizers, has even put together a prize package for the winner of this round, including an autographed print of his brother Bryan Dyrdahl, taken right after he won an I-500.
Sign up and play – it won’t cost you a dime, and it’s fun. Other cross-country round this year for USXC – all in Minnesota — will be at Willmar, January 18; the Seven Clans I-500 on February 6-8; and at Walker on March 8.
(Editor’s note: Also, please ignore the odd coding near the top of the sign-up page. They will be fixed on Friday and the page will be updated to reflect that there are Three difference challenges this year — ovals, snocross and cross country: We need help from our technical staff on that, but wanted to get this thing up now so people could enter the contest. Thanks for your understanding!)