IWA Returns to Hill City, and Wins my Heart

The first thing I learned about journalism is that it is the responsibility of the author to report on topics in an unbiased manner.  In the few years that I have been reporting on snowmobile races, I have lived by that principle and for the most part, kept my opinions out of my stories.  That being said it has come time that I make an exception to that rule in saying that watercross is by and far one of the most spectacular yet underrated forms of snowmobile racing.  I’ve spent the entire season with the International Watercross Association but it wasn’t until the race at the Quadna Resort in Hill City, Minnesota that I completely realized how fantastic both the sport of watercross racing and its community truly is.

With their first race at Quadna since 2006, the I.W.A. was in a position to put on a show for more fans than the event had ever seen in years past, and they certainly didn’t disappoint.  With the winds of his recent World Championship victories still blowing in his sails, you pretty much had to be a speedboat to catch up to Ski Doo’s Chad Maki.  After a rough start to the season in Pro Open, Maki set sights on more wins in the class after he finally beat the bug in Grantsburg.  Having beaten the Ski Doo’s of Andy Busse and Matt Ledin (who finished in that order), in Pro Stock, Maki had nothing but a win in Pro Open to look forward to.  Although he rides his stock Danner Motorsports Ski Doo in the modified class, Maki proved once again his ability to drive his way to a win.  Finishing second was the Polaris of Jason McPheeters, who after being out of the sport for several years returned to the scene this season and left the race with his best finish of the year.  Arctic Cat’s Dale Lindbeck rounded out the top three.

Although he races in the Semi Pro Open class, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him move up to Pro sometime in the near future based on his accomplishments this season.  Merrill, Wisconsin’s Greg Metz was the victor of the Semi Pro Open class for the third weekend in a row on board his Polaris.  With the win secured the Ski Doo’s of Aaron Hein and John Stadick finished second and third, respectively.

Unlike the Maki’s and Metz’s of the circuit, the winner of the Semi Pro Stock class took a first place trophy home for the first time ever.  In his rookie season of racing, Clinton Fjosne of Willow River, Minnesota proved to himself that he is able to win races just as well as the rest of the field.  Finishing second in the race was Joe Schellbach and Jake Schulze taking third.

Removing the oval but neither the speed nor excitement, the drag classes were full of close finishes.  Ski Doo’s Andy Busse beat Jeff Fischer and Matt Ledin for a win in the Mod Drag class.  Also aboard a Ski Doo was the 800 Drag winners David Fischer.  Leaving his competitors behind him, Cody Engstrand beat Mann Nordin by no more than a ski length.  Cole Engstrand, aboard his Polaris, also claimed his first win of the season in the 600 Drags class.  Finishing second and third were Eric Keith and Nick Benoy, both also driving Polaris’s.

If the details of this race and all of its keep-you-on-the-edge-of-your-fold-up-chair-action along with my personal opinion haven’t persuaded you to check out watercross then you may as well stay at home and watch the home shopping channel.  On the other hand, if this does seem like something up your alley then you won’t want to miss the fifth and final race of the International Watercross Association’s season, which will take place August 28-29, 2010 in Wausau, Wisconsin.

For more information and complete results, please visit www.iwausa.org.

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