Snocross Season Resumes With Shuffled Pro Field

After going a couple of snowmobile snocross seasons without a major race in November and December – and whining about that! – we were finally treated to a great opening weekend of action on the ISOC Amsoil Championship Snocross (AMS) series on December 16-18 in Fargo. It was thrilling, with the sort of high-flying, paint-rubbing action that fans adore.

And then we waited… and waited… and whined once more!

Now, after a four-week break, AMS circuit is back with one of its showcase events – the annual trip to Canterbury Park in Shakopee, Minnesota, for what the circuit like to call “the Daytona of snocross” on January 13-14. The event always draws the biggest crowds of the season, and that seems to inspire the best out of the competitors. But the Pro field has been shuffled a bit due to injuries and newcomers.

(Editors Note: We’ve also updated the Fantasy Snowmobile Racing Challenge game here on SnowGoer.com with the new names — make sure to get your predictions entered in this easy to play, free and fun game.)

Hentges Racing Malmstrom
Hentges Racing announced Malmstrom’s arrival in this Facebook post.

Two Out, Two In In Pro

Sadly, the Pro class that started the season with 14 entries in practice was narrowed to 13 before the first green flag waved, and then 12 shortly after that.

According to reporting on RideX365.com, Jacob Yurk’s season ended in practice, when he tore his patellar tendon. He had planned to run the season for the All Finish Arctic Cat team. Then during the races, Oskar Norum broke a bone in his knee, which also ended his season. He was scheduled to run the season again on the No. 40 Polaris for Hentges Racing.

All Finish has yet to fill Yurk’s seat, but Hentges is bringing over another Scandinavian racer to fill Oskar’s spot. John Malmstrom will race the rest of the season on the Monster Energy Polaris. Looking at results from Scandinavia, it appears that Malmstrom mainly ran the equivalent of Pro-Lite overseas. However, he was a strong competitor in that class, notching several victories in races in towns that we won’t even try to pronounce. But he’ll be jumping right into the Pro class here.

“I’m very grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the Hentges Racing Team for the remainder of the season,” Malmstrom was quoted as saying in Hentges’ announcement of his arrival here. “It’s a dream coming true and I have been working very hard for this!”

In pictures online, Malmstrom is seen racing on Ski-Doo and Lynx sleds in recent years, so he’ll also be learning new equipment as he adapts to the Polaris chassis.

He’s not the only racer making his Pro class debut on the AMS circuit at Canterbury Park, however. The Green Mountain Racing Ski-Doo team is bringing in another European racer as well to add to its Scandi fleet that is led by Pro Aki Pihlaja from Finland. In this case, it’s Gustav Sahlsten, a Swede who is pictured racing on the No. 81 Ski-Doo overseas.

Green Mountain Racing Sahlsten
Gustav Sahlsten’s plans were unveiled on Facebook by Green Mountain Racing, the team for which he will compete.

Sahlsten has been racing in the top class overseas, competing for instance last year in several events against the likes of Pihlaja and Petter Narsa. In fact, in the three Pro finals at the Xtreme Stadium Race in Finland last February, Pihlaja won the Friday final, Narsa won a Dominator race and then Sahlsten won Saturday while also earning the overall title based on points in those three races. He also won the FIM Europe Snowcross Championship in 2021.

The Green Mountain Racing announcement only mentioned the event in Shakopee, so there’s no word on how long Sahlsten will stick around on this side of the pond. It’ll be interested to see how competitive he is right out of the box in his North American debut. There’s definitely room for him in the Pro class.

Snocross has certainly benefitted from the influx of northern European talent. This year, Euro racers include points leader Elias Ishoel, third-place Emil Harr, seventh-place Petter Narsa, 12th place Pihlaja and 13th place Norum (though his season is now over). Once Malmstrom and Sahlsten start this weekend, Europeans will account of 7 of the 15 points earners in the Pro class this season.

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