In light of yesterday’s news about this season’s ISOC Pro Open snocross champion switching to a different snowmobile race team for next season, it seems appropriate for this week’s Friday’s Fast Five to be about other racers who made blockbuster defections to other brands or teams.
1. Tim Tremblay — Warnert Racing to Scheuring Speed Sports
On the heels of winning the ISOC Pro Open class championship in March, Ski-Doo racer Tim Tremblay is jumping ship from Warnert Racing to Scheuring Speed Sports. This move is interesting because with the switch, Tremblay doesn’t change brands and goes to a team that is, arguably, of the same caliber of management and resources. Both Warnert and Scheuring are independent, but well-funded snowmobile race teams.
2. Blair Morgan — Arctic Cat to Ski-Doo
No. 7c changed snocross racing when his stand-up riding style made him virtually unbeatable in the late 1990s. Known as “Superman” for flying over finish-line jumps with his feet extended off the back of his Arctic Cat race sleds, Blair Morgan signed with Ski-Doo before the 2001-02 race season and continued his domination. Looking back, Ski-Doo’s acquisition of Morgan made perfect sense as the rider-forward REV chassis that worked so well for stand-up riding debuted that season in the Pro Open class.
3. Corey Davidson — Polaris to Yamaha
Nobody would’ve ever guessed that Corey Davidson, a lifelong Polaris cross-country and enduro racer, would jump ship to another brand — much less Yamaha, but he went international and inked a deal with Yamaha before the 2006 race season. Davidson lives in Holt, Minnesota, which is near the United States/Canadian border and about 50 miles from the Polaris snowmobile factory.
4. Robbie Malinoski — Arctic Cat to Yamaha to Polaris and now with Ski-Doo
Robbie Malinoski is one of only three snowmobile racers to win both a Pro Open and Pro Stock snocross championship in the same season. His career started on Arctic Cat and then in a shocking move he jumped over Yamaha in the 2007-08 season, where he was the first — and only — person to win a snocross final on a four-stroke. After a challenging campaign for Blue, Malinoski moved to Polaris and now rides Ski-Doo MX Zx sleds for Scheuring Speed Sports.
5. Toni Haikonen — Ski-Doo to Arctic Cat
Toni “The Flying Finn” Haikonen switched from Ski-Doo to Arctic Cat shortly before the 1999-2000 snocross season started. Following a great snocross career for Ski-Doo and several near-wins in the I-500 cross-country race, Haikonen would file in as the No. 2 driver on Team Arctic behind Blair Morgan. Unfortunately for Haikonen and Arctic Cat, he turned in disappointing results on ZR Sno Pro sleds.
What snowmobile racing team or brand switcheroos do you think were the most surprising? Talk about it in the ‘comments’ section below.