The Grantsburg World Championship Snowmobile Watercross is coming up soon – with titles to be claimed in seven classes. Each trophy-holder has a right to be very proud, but to us the real champion of the event, and thus for all of watercross, will be crowned in the last race on Sunday afternoon, July 22, when the Pro Open final is run.
So who are the favorites? We mined some information from key watercross insiders to produce this list for today’s Friday’s Fast Five. Enjoy, and as always, feel free to comment on our picks below.
- Chad Maki (No. 413 Ski-Doo, from Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota) – The son of 12-time champ Mark Maki certainly has an ace up his sleeve with his knowledgeable father building the sleds behind the scenes, but make no mistake, this 21-year-old kid can ride. He won the championship at Grantsburg in 2010, is the defending season champion on the IWA and won the first two races this year at Moose Lake and Brainerd, Minnesota. Bet against him at your peril.
- Andy Busse (No. 4 Ski-Doo, from Berlin, Wisconsin) — Andy is a four-time (2006, 2007, 2009 and 2011) champion at Grantsburg, so he obviously knows how to get around Memory Lake in a hurry. He has a new race sled for this season – which could be good or bad news, as sometimes those things take some figuring out. The problem is he hasn’t been to an IWA race yet this year, so time is running out. Will he be back to defend his title? We think so, and by Sunday he’ll have his snowmobile figured out.
- Shawn Zurn (No. 76 Ski-Doo, from Downing, Wisconsin) – Shawn’s a bit of a dark horse, but he’s a former drag champion at Grantsburg and a watercross insider whispered a little secret to us: Gremlins that plagued his machine earlier this year have been figured out, so he has one of the sleds to beat.
- Jason McPheeters (No. 7 Polaris, from Zimmerman, Minnesota) – He has a really fast piece of equipment and is one of the smartest watercross racers out there. A former world champion in the semi-pro ranks, he has yet to win the big one. Jason has some fresh new Rugland horsepower under the hood, so the speed will be there.
- Dale Lindbeck (No. 29 Arctic Cat, from Chisago City, Minnesota) — Even though he is riding a stock sled in the mod class, Dale Lindbeck is going to have a say in who becomes the 36th Annual World Champion. He’s won here three times before (most recently in 2005), and he just isn’t slowing down at his, um, advancing age. He just keeps getting faster: Maybe 50 is the new 25?
Make sure to check out our preview of Grantsburg and watercross primer here.
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