Believe it or not, another snowmobile racing season is just around the corner. As of this writing, the season-opening snocross race on the Amsoil Championship Snocross series in Duluth, Minnesota, is just eight days away — November 25-27 to be exact. It’s true, the high-flying, hard-charging boys of winter are back for more!
To preview the season — and to help people who want to play the fantasy Snowmobile Racing Challenge game — we sent surveys to some of the top people in the snocross racing world, including factory officials, team owners, race officials and media personalities, and asked them for feedback on the current Pro Open snocross field. Specifically, they were given the names of 20 drivers expected to compete and the Duluth opener and were asked to select and rank the top 10, in order, going into the season.
The result of their hard work, plus some input of our own, is the snowgoer.com Snocross Pre-Season Power Rankings. Does that sound ESPNy enough for you?
- Tucker Hibbert, No. 68 Arctic Cat from Pelican Rapids, Minnesota — The nine-time defending X Games gold medalist in snocross, three-time defending national points champion and the winner of 120 Pro finals in just 201 starts is back for more. He is truly the greatest of all time in snocross racing and at age 32 he shows no signs of backing down. Who would bet against him going into the season? Nobody in this crowd would — he was rated No. 1 on every single ballot from our snocross insiders.
- Kody Kamm, No. 53 Polaris from Kenosha, Wisconsin — Kamm finished 17th in Pro Open points last year, but that doesn’t tell the story because an injury ended his season very early after a strong start, including a win in the Duluth Sunday final. This wild child has shown he is one of the few competitors who can run with and occasionally faster than Hibbert, but he runs on the edge. If he can find consistency and run smarter, he could be a champ. Rated No. 2 on most ballots, his lowest was 4th.
- Tim Tremblay, No. 11 Ski-Doo from Ste-Jeanne D’Arc, Quebec — The big man from Quebec has been the closest thing Hibbert has had to a nemesis the last couple of seasons. He finished 2nd in points in each of the last two years and jumps up for a victory here and there each season. But, like Hibbert, he’s no kid anymore — he turned 30 in early November. From our experts, he was rated between 2nd and 5th on every ballot except one.
- Ross Martin, No. 837 Polaris from Kenosha, Wisconsin — Except for Hibbert, no current racer has more Pro victories that this popular Wisconsin racer. He struggled early last season with injuries and with his machine, so some folks thought he may be washed up at age 31. Then he won finals in each of the last two weekends of the year and announced to the world that he was not to be counted out. He finished 9th in points last year after missing races with injury and was rated as high as 2nd and was top 6 on all ballots except for one.
- Lincoln Lemieux, No. 13 Ski-Doo from St. Johnsbury, Vermont — Tremblay’s teammate on the Scheuring Speed Sports team has become a consistent top five runner. He finished a strong 3rd in points last year and will celebrate his 23rd birthday the Friday of the Duluth event. He was rated as high as 3rd and was in the top 8 on all ballots except for one.
- Adam Renheim, No. 311 Ski-Doo from Sweden — This 27-year-old dominated the European scene before bringing his talents to North America, and has been impressive here too. He started last season as a podium regular, collecting several second-place finishes, and concluded the season 4th overall in points. Our expert panel members rated him high as 3rd, and he was in the top 10 in all ballots except for three.
- Petter Narsa, No. 54 Polaris from Sweden — Here’s another Swede to keep your eye on! Narsa was super-strong at mid-season last year, including finishing second to Hibbert both nights at the Canterbury Park event, but then he was injured the following event at Deadwood. Once recovered, though, he finished very strong, including winning a final on the last weekend. Even with the injury, he still finished 7th in points last year. We was rated as high as 3rd and was in top 10 on all ballots except for two. He’s 24.
- Kyle Pallin, No. 324 Polaris from Ironwood, Michigan — This zany Yooper and LaVallee protege is a crowd favorite who finds his way onto a couple of podiums every year and has won on the big stage. Will this be the year that he finds consistency? The 25-year-old finish 5th in points last year and was rated as high as 4th by our experts and made every top 10 list, though most slotted him between eighth and tenth.
- Elias Ishoel, No. 200 Ski-Doo from Norway — This rookie is the true wildcard in Pro Open this year. He was beyond a doubt the fastest Pro Lite racer last year and won many finals, but he also may have set a record for the total number of times he crashed while leading! His talent is absolutely undeniable but the 18-year-old rides to the ragged edge and beyond. If he can maintain his speed while reigning in his recklessness, he could be the sport’s next superstar. He was rated as high as 2nd on one ballot but missed five Top 10 lists.
- Logan Christian, No. 43 Arctic Cat from Fertile, Minnesota — Affectionately called “Logie” by friends, competitors and announcers, he is definitely the Cat to watch when Team Green fans take their eyes of of Hibbert. He jumps up and take a couple of podiums every year and finished 5th in points two years ago. Last year, he ended up 14th in points last year after missing rounds due to injury. He was rated as high as 3rd on some ballots but didn’t crack the top 10 on four other ballots. He’s 24.
Also receiving Top 10 votes: Corin Todd, No. 36 Polaris, 6th in points last year (9 top 10 votes); Ryan Springer, No. 541 Polaris, 12th in points last year (4); Justin Broberg, No. 168 Arctic Cat, 19th in points after limited schedule last year (1) and Andrew Carlson, No. 151 Polaris, 13th in points last year (1)
Also on the ballot but not receiving any Top 10 votes (alphabetical): Colby Crapo (#999 Arctic Cat), Mike George (#37 Arctic Cat), Dylan Hall (#421 Arctic Cat), David Joanis (#115 Ski-Doo), Trevor Leighton (#3 Polaris) and Corey Watkinson (#173 Arctic Cat)
Also running Pro Open but not on the ballot: Brett Nastala (#248 Arctic Cat)