Expect to see sparks fly Sunday, January 17, when the 58th running of the Eagle River World Championship Snowmobile Derby is settled on a rough and tough high-banked oval track in Eagle River, Wisconsin, that will clearly separate the men from the boys.
A warm and gray weather period leading up to back-to-back World Championship weekends (vintage and current) made creating a deep-ice track here on the Derby Complex grounds particularly difficult this year despite the best efforts of the talented course-building crew. The resulting track will be immensely challenging for an interesting field of racers in the 2 p.m. Pro Champ 440 World Championship final.
Of the 10 racers who qualified for the front row, there’s only one past champion – three-time defending champ Blaine Stephenson. There are definitely championship-level racers to challenge him, however, most notably multi-time national points champ Gunnar Sterne on his Ski-Doo, Stephenson’s Wahl Bros teammate Tom Olson and talented vintage crossover stud Matt Goede. That’s truly the “big four” to watch.
With this challenging track and a long final, though, anything could happen. Beres, Bennett and Henke have made W.C. finals before, Manke and Miller were stout in qualifying, and Lepak surprised us in the semifinal. Let’s get to our fictional odds (below). For the record, we’re not covering any wagers or side-bets you make with your friends!
Below you will see pictures of each race who qualified for the front row, along with our fictional odds and comments on each racer as stated on the Snow Goer Tip Sheet that’s distributing on the ground here in Eagle River. Make sure to make your picks in our free, easy and fun Fantasy Snowmobile Racing game, and then check back for the absolute best wrap up coverage Sunday evening. Two more racers will be added to the final in a last-chance qualifying race Sunday afternoon. They will start in a second row, behind these 10.