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CLICKED WELCOME AMSOIL DRIFT RACING THE VENUES THE SLEDS INTERVIEW: JUSTIN TATE INTERVIEW: JEN FULLER PROFILE: CHRISTIAN BROTHERS RACING 26 THE RIDERS
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Wes Selby steers through the markers amongst gently falling snow.
Are we the only ones confused by this?
Brett Lessman leads the pack in the vintage class with his SS440.
Thereâ€™s nothing better than chasing someone down on the river.
Who says chicks donâ€™t like cross-country?
Jen Fuller does a snow flap check off a road approach. 8
A couple of lucky kids are gonna win 120s from Christian Brothers Racing again this season.
Is Jolene Bute giving Mike Carver doe eyes?
Ryan Trout shows them how it’s done in the Junior 10-13 class. How many races do you think this track stand has seen?
Ryan Simons reppin’ the Drift gear.
Um, can’t we all just get along?
That’s gonna leave a mark.
Lined up for the heads-up start at Pine Lake.
D.J. Ekre and Corey Berberich demonstrate how do properly execute a fuel stop. 9
name is Brian Nelson and I am the owner of United States X-Country Snowmobile Racing. Cross-country snowmobile racing has been a part of my life for the past 40 years, and in that time I have been a racer, ran race teams, sponsored racers, ran a successful powersports dealership (Nelson Marine), owned and operated a snowmobile tour business and, most recently, restored and raced vintage snowmobiles so I could compete in the Vintage class at the I-500. I won the Winnipeg to St. Paul as part of Enduro Team Deere in 1976 and again as part of Team Arctic in 1978. That is only
part of my resume, but you get the idea. Snowmobiles have been part of my life since I was a kid. Last Spring I was faced with a decision to take the reins of cross-country snowmobile racing by either purchasing the existing circuit or starting a new circuit. I made the decision to start a new circuit and thus, USXC was born. After four decades on the competition end of crosscountry racing, I see USXC as my chance to give back to the sport that has given me so much in the way of friendship, success and happiness. So far USXC has seen nothing but positive support from everyone involved. I want to thank the racers, the manufacturers and all of our sponsors for making this transition as smooth as it has been. Everyone should know that the goal of USXC is to provide safe, family-friendly, grassroots-level competition that fosters the growth of the sport. As cross-country continues to grow and evolve, USXC will be faced with many tough decisions. Some of these decisions will be large and complex, some small and simple. Not all of these decisions will make everyone happy, but we will make them with the best interests of the sport
in mind and without favoritism for anyone. USXC inherited a set of rules and a certain way of doing things. Some of these rules and procedures are good, some could use updating and there are some areas that need to be built or rebuilt completely. We feel we have put the right people in place to move cross-country forward and move in the right direction with this process. Again, you may see some things that are strange or new in the future but know that we will make our decisions with the best interests of the sport in mind. Sponsors are important in racing. We all have them and we all need to take care of them. We ask you to pay attention to who sponsors USXC and even if they are not a sponsor of your own program, please take the time to thank them for supporting the circuit. They are the ones that make it possible for us to go racing. You would be surprised what a simple thank you note or a few words to the brand rep can do. Finally, USXC is always open to the thoughts and opinions of its fans and racers. Feel free to send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you, and see you at the races! Brian Nelson
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OFFICIAL LUBRICANTS OF THE USXC
Founded by former jet fighter squadron commander Al Amatuzio, AMSOIL produced its first can of synthetic oil in 1972. It kickstarted an entire industry of new, premium synthetic oils with AMSOIL spearheading the movement. During his Air Force years Amatuzio had witnessed firsthand the benefits of synthetic lubricants and this inspired him to bring the technology to the masses with his own brand of lubricants. As a result, AMSOIL synthetic lubricants have expanded the boundaries of lubrication science and redefined the performance possibilities of modern machinery and engines. Based in Superior, Wisconsin, AMSOIL is also a leader in the world of racing and sponsors numerous forms including GNCC off-road, TORC truck racing series, powerboats, motocross as well as the racing you see here, USXC cross-country snowmobile racing. USXC provides a unique challenge for a lubricant - extreme temperatures, extended periods of open throttle and varied terrain mean an oil has to protect across the board. AMSOIL is the choice of USXC and is the official lubricant of the USXC racing circuit.
Inspired by the passion to win, DRIFT Racing offers highperformance outerwear and gear for snowmobile enthusiasts. The DRIFT lineup includes everything from the uninsulated Drift Racing Suit to the Intimidator Jacket, Diesel Coat and the rest of the lineup. DRIFT also has matching bibs and pants for all its gear. For women, the Diva line offers stylish comfort and unmatched functionality. The Speeder line is aimed at the younger riders and its styling is reminiscent of the adult DRIFT gear. DRIFT also offers a full line of casual wear, gloves and headwear. DRIFT Racing is proud to be the official clothing outfitter of USXC. See the entire DRIFT apparel lineup at www.driftracing.com.
The 2012-2013 USXC racing season will feature a challenging mix of racing venues as well as a variety of one-, two- and three-day events. The goal of the USXC schedule is to make racing fun, affordable and challenging for USXC racers while also helping bring business into local communities during a time when they might not see much consumer traffic. The result are events that provide toplevel racing and competition, fan entertainment and commerce for local communities. USXC events also serve to promote the sport of snowmobiling and snowmobile racing.
PINE LAKE 100
DECEMBER 15-16, 2012 Gonvick, Minnesota Once the traditional start of the cross-country racing season, over the decades Pine Lake has seen some of the best racing cross-country has to offer. USXC is returning to Pine Lake to kick off its season with a two-day event that will feature a 10-mile lake lemans course and heads-up racing. Where? Pine Lake, Minnesota, five miles North of Hwy 2. Places to Stay: Bagley, Fosston, Clearbrook and Seven Clans Casino.
J&K MARINE BEACH BAR 200 JANUARY 5, 2012 Detroit Lakes, Minnesota This one-day event will feature a five-mile ice lemans course. Held on Big Detroit Lake just off Highway 10 right in the heart of Detroit Lakes, it is a perfect event for fans to get out and see some of cross-countryâ€™s best racers. The Pro final will feature a heads-up start, all other classes will leave at intervals and run on time. Be sure to stop in at the Beach Bar inside the Holiday Inn for a refreshment. Where? Detroit Lakes, Minnesota; 3.5-hours Northeast of Minneapolis; 1-hour East of Fargo/Moorhead. Places to Stay: Holiday Inn, Detroit Lakes: 877-251-9348
NELSON TOURS WILLMAR 100 JANUARY 12, 2013 Robbins Island Park Willmar, Minnesota This one-day race will run right out of the host tow of Willmar and will be a crosscountry event. The course will contain a mix of terrain and ice and amount of each will be determined by snow conditions. Where? Willmar, Minnesota, two hours East of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Places to Stay: There are six major hotels in the Willmar area including a Holiday Inn Express, AmericInn, Super 8 and Comfort Inn. 14
JANUARY 26, 2013 Oslo, Minnesota Located just North of Grand Forks, Oslo, Minnesota, will play host to the Oslo 100. The race will feature a 25-mile course that will consist of ditch, woods and river. In the past, this race has proved challenging and exciting for both fans and riders. After this race the town typically hosts a dinner, so schedule that into your travel plans. Where? Thirty minutes North of Grand Forks, North Dakota. Places to Stay: Pretty much any place in Grand Forks, but Grafton, North Dakota, and Thief River Falls, Minnesota, are not too far away.
SEVEN CLANS I-500 FEBRUARY 7-9, 2013 Seven Clans Casino Thief River Falls, Minnesota This is the granddaddy of all cross-country races. It is the modern version of the famed Winnipeg to St. Paul and later the Jeep 500. The three-day, 500-mile event is a test of man and machine and each 170-mile day features two fuel stops and a post-race maintenance session where riders can fix damage and prep their sleds for the next day. The course will take riders through fields, ditches, rivers and woods. An I-500 win puts you among the best snowmobile racers in the world. Where? Seven Clans Casino, Thief River Falls, Minnesota Places to Stay: Seven Clans Casino, Thief River Falls, Minnesota
VENUES HOYT LAKES 100 FEBRUARY 16, 2013 Hoyt Lakes, Minnesota Located in the heart of Minnesotaâ€™s Iron Range, Hoyt Lakes is surrounded by pristine forests and offers challenges not seen at a typical cross-country event. The proposed course will be a mix of ice lemans and woods racing making setup a challenge. This will be a one-day race in and around Hoyt Lakes. Where? One and a half hours North of Duluth, Minnesota. Places to Stay: Country Inn: 218-225-3555; Giantâ€™s Ridge: 800-688-7669; or check out places in Eveleth, Minnesota.
PARK RAPIDS 100 MARCH 2-3, 2013 Park Rapids, Minnesota This two-day event will feature a 25-mile course that will take riders down ditches and through woods. Park Rapids is located in the pristine wooded areas of Northeastern Minnesota, and area that has a storied tradition of cross-country racing. In fact, many of the Winnipeg to St. Paul races ran through this area. Where? One and a half hours East of Fargo, North Dakota; Three and a half hours North of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Places to Stay: Park Rapids has many great hotels including an AmericInn, Super 8, CmonInn and Cedar Shores Resort.
SEVEN CLANS WARROAD 100 MARCH 9, 2013 Seven Clans Casino Warroad, Minnesota Seven Clans Casino in Warroad, Minnesota has become host to the traditional endof-season cross-country race. This one-day event will feature a combined ice lemans, cross-country and swamp course. This race typically sees warm weather and plenty of snow and makes for great racing. Where? Warroad, Minnesota, three hours South of Winnipeg, Manitoba; seven hours North of Minneapolis, Minnesota Places to Stay: Seven Clans Casino, Thief River Falls, Minnesota 16
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While you can race just about any snowmobile 600cc and smaller on the USXC cross-country circuit, the dedicated 2013 race sleds from the four manufacturers are the machines that spearhead the field. They are the sleds that carry the newest technology and they are also the sleds the top Pro and Semi-Pro riders will pilot into battle. Here is a rundown of what is new on the 2013 race sleds.
ARCTIC CAT SNO PRO 600 A fter a less-than-stellar debut season, the 600 Sno Pro is back and re-worked for 2013. With a late build last year, most racers didnâ€™t get their hands on their Arctic Cats until just before the race season began. With a new chassis and little test time it put them between a rock and a hard place. While the sled saw a few problems in snocross competition, mainly with the chassis bottoming on the snow, in cross-
amahaâ€™s weapon of choice on the USXC circuit is the Nytro RTX. Powered by a 1049cc Genesis 130FI threecylinder, 4-stroke engine, the Nytro is likely to be the dominant thumper on the circuit.
country it was a huge success and propelled Team Arctic riders to numerous wins. For 2013, re-worked running board angles and 1.35-inches of extra ground clearance and new rear suspension mounting points that give the track drive more clearance help to fix the chassis bottoming. The sled is stronger with a single-layer, .080-inch thick tunnel and a new PTO engine plate for added durability. Suspension tweaks include improved caster
angle, ski stance increased to 43.5-inches, new steering ratio, a new ski damper that loads the rear of the ski for improved turning, rear suspension front arm mounting point moved back 2-inches for better transfer, an extra inch of travel on the front arm, new torsion spring and new coupling position. Arctic Cat will make a cross-country version available that will come with a larger fuel tank, 1.25-inch track and wider seat.
Yamaha has worked hard to develop a racespec front suspension and a kit that moves the rear suspension back so the sled can be fitted with a 128-inch track. This makes the machine much more competitive with
the more race-specific machines from the other manufacturers. Watch for the Nytro to put the pressure on the 2-strokes in the USXC Pro Open and Semi-Pro Open classes this season.
POLARIS 600 IQR P olaris keeps chugging along with its dedicated race sled, the IQ600R. First introduced in 2005, the sled is one of the longest-running race chassis in history for Polaris (or any other snowmobile manufacturer). The 2013 version of the sled includes a new engine package with a re-engineered cylinder head and cylinders that combine to make more horsepower. The improvements are said to improve both snocross and cross-country performance.
Racers on the USXC circuit should see crisper throttle response, better starts and stronger performance across the entire power band. Chassis improvements include greater adjustability on the Walker Evans shocks (16-click adjustability all the way around). And for 2013 the rear track shock is also rebound adjustable. The sled comes with DP brake pads which were developed with input from Polaris and are designed to handle high heat conditions better and
MX ZX 600RS The 2013 version of the Ski-Doo MX ZX 600RS picks up where the 2012 model left off and features further refinements to both suspension and engine. A redesigned front suspension features new upper a-arms, new upper a-arm ball joint, revised spindle and tie rods and new shock calibration. The new front suspension geometry eliminates bump steer and keeps camber variation to a minimum as the suspension cycles through its travel. This means the sled should track straighter and turn sharper. The progressive rate rMotion skid has a new shock calibration and the chassis
has reinforced front suspension casting mounts and stronger pyramidal frame members. Maybe the biggest news is a new engine design that includes a new cylinder with a revised intake flange, carbon fiber VForce3 reeds, stronger pistons and a freer-flowing exhaust system. With the new engine package USXC cross-country riders should see stronger pull out of corners and more top end. The 21/49 gearing is designed to work with the power band of the new engine.
resist fade. In response to racer requests, the handlebar riser is 2-inches tall, down from 2.5-inches. Racers asked for a lower bar position help then get better leverage in the corners and help them get over the bars more when riding. There is no crosscountry version, but conversion kits are readily available through the Polaris race department and a larger fuel tank is also available this season.
SPEARHEADING SKI-DOO’S CROSS-COUNTRY PROGRAM
ustin Tate burst onto the crosscountry scene just a few years ago and he quickly rose to the top of the heap in the Pro ranks. But he’s far from a newcomer to the racing world and has raced as a Pro for over a decade in other disciplines. His experience, keen mechanical mind and superb riding ability make him a formidable racer. He also has a great mechanic at his side, Kolby Campbell, who makes sure his stuff is always in tip-top shape. This season he has switched brands and is also coming back from a serious injury, so we sat down with him to find out what lies ahead for him this season. USXC: You’ve switched brands this season. How did that come about? Justin Tate: I spoke with Tom Lawrence at Ski-Doo about a year ago. At the time, I had my thing at Polaris and I was happy there. Everyone at Polaris has been great to me over the years, so when the Ski-Doo thing came up I wasn’t too interested in it, but as the season went on we talked more. I had some ideas about running a program and we talked about that this past Spring. Ski-Doo was thinking the same thing, they want to get back into cross-country and it all worked out. 20
USXC: Will you have your own team? Tate: This year we are going to start putting the program together and develop the race sled into a cross-country sled. We have a good platform to start with, we just need to fine tune it. Once we have the basis for a program in place we will look toward next season and maybe taking on a Pro rider and me stepping away into more of a managerial role with the program.
never happened. I had a serious injury. When I crashed, basically some of my vertebrae shifted which cut into my spinal cord and I had some paralysis in my arm. Things progressed really fast and once I got the green light to train I spent the rest of the winter and the Spring training really hard. Sometimes its a good thing to have something come along that re-motivates you, and that’s what my injury did. It put the spark back in my program.
USXC: Ski-Doo has had a lot of success in cross-country, but they kind of fly under the radar. Will the program progress faster than people might expect? Tate: I’m certain it will. The big teams are coming in 100-percent in cross-country and that’s where Ski-Doo wants to be. They want to win, and my job will be to help them get there.
USXC: How did last season go? Tate: The two races I was at were both ice, and that’s not really my forte, but my goal was to get through them and come out with maximum points. I was focused on the long-term points, but then I got injured.
USXC: You broke your neck at the Soo I-500 and that ended your season last year. How are you doing now? Tate: I’m 100-percent. It’s crazy, on February 4 last year I had a lot of major issues and I didn’t know if I would ever ride again. After two major surgeries and some time to heal it’s almost like the accident
USXC: What is the key to winning on the USXC circuit? Tate: The key is consistency. There are some really fast guys out there but when riding on the edge bites them and they have a bad weekend they end up out of the points chase. I think it’s consistency and Top 3 or Top 5 finishes that make you successful. Everyone’s going to have their problems because it’s cross-country, but finishing is the key. Look at Ryan Simons, he was consistent last season and he won the championship.
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RISING STAR IN THE PRO WOMEN WOM CLASS
en Fuller was a new addition to the Bunke Racing team for the 2011-2012 season. Originally from Saginaw, MI, Fuller now lives in Houghton and attends Michigan Tech. Not only is she smart (she’s going for her PhD in Civil Engineering), she’s an excellent crosscountry racer and a top rider in the Pro Women class. We caught up with her to find out what it’s like to compete in the Pro Women class. USXC: How did you get into racing? Jen Fuller: I’ve ridden snowmobiles ever since I was really little. I always went to the races with my parents, but all we had down in Saginaw was grass drags and drag racing. I would meet up on the river and do ice drags against the guys. When I started going to Michigan Tech I got heavily involved in the Sledheads Snowmobile Club, which is the snowmobile club here on campus. I went to a lot of races with them and they eventually talked me into racing. USXC: What kind of racing was that? Fuller: I got started in endurance racing, which is basically snocross racing but for a longer time. It’s kind of like 22
outdoor motocross where the motos are timed. Most of the races are usually on motocross tracks. USXC: You have a second and a third from Pine Lake and Grafton last season, your first season crosscountry racing. What do you think it will take to get a win? Fuller: I think now that I have a season of experience in cross-country I think that will help a lot. It takes practice. USXC: It does take practice and experience is huge. Fuller: After every race I kind of kicked myself because I knew I could have gone faster in so many areas. But there’s a big learning curve as far as control and getting around people and things like that. I know a couple times I just rode behind people when I should have gone around them. Knowing what I know now, this year I plan to push a lot harder. USXC: How do you balance school and racing? Fuller: Last year was my senior year so my course load wasn’t as heavy as it normally is, but there were times when
I was only home a couple days a week. Luckily the Mennes (teammate Bobby Menne) usually come through the Duluth area to go to the races so I was able to meet them and ride with them to most of the races. Long story short, there’s definitely a lot of juggling going on! USXC: What advice would you give to other women looking to get into cross-country? Fuller: The most important thing is to practice on your sled. Get seat time. Get to know your sled. The more comfortable you are the better you will feel and the better you will do. Don't be afraid to push your limits. Find a good mechanic to help you but also learn about your sled so that you can work on things on your own. Don't sweat the small stuff, like the way your pony tail feels under your helmet because it kind of hurts sometimes, or blisters on your hands, bruises on your legs, check engine lights and broken parts. They are all minor details. Just ride. And don't take crap from the guys. Enjoy yourself, walk around and meet people, and have fun! Racing brings great camaraderie.
hristian Brothers Racing’s roots run deep in cross-country racing. Dwight Christian began racing cross-country in the late 1970s and his passion for the sport continues today. Founded by brothers Dwight and Stuart Christian in 2002, CBR is the most successful team in cross-country snowmobile racing today and has won seven of the last eight Pro cross-country points championships. Last season Ryan Simons won his second straight Pro 600 points championship and D.J. Ekre won the Pro Open points title. Along the way the team won five of six Pro 600 races, four of six Pro open races and Brian Dick won the last running of the I-500 in 2011. The team’s success in cross-country is unmatched, but there’s no magic here, it’s simply hard work. “Our guys are in the shop and out testing every day,” said Dwight Christian. “They never rest. If you come to a race you’ll usually see them out testing late into the
MASTERS OF CROSS-COUNTRY
night getting ready for the race the next day. That’s how bad they want to win.” The core of CBR’s cross-country effort lies with riders D.J. Ekre, Ryan Simons and Brian Dick and their mechanics Joe Lesmeister, Hector Olson and Corey Berberich. Ekre has been racing crosscountry and snocross for over a decade and has competed at such high-profile events as the Winter X games. He was also a part of the first incarnation of CBR in 2002-2003 when he and Bryan Dyrdahl competed on the snocross National circuit together. And, it is Dyrdahl who has served as a catalyst for his career. “Being around the Dyrdahl family is what really got me into racing,” said Ekre. “My dad and I decided to go racing, but when you are around a guy like Bryan Dyrdahl you can’t help but learn that winning is everything. He taught me a lot about that.” Like Ekre, Ryan Simons also raced at such lofty venues as the Winter X Games before dedicating himself to cross-country. In fact, Simons has won both a bronze and a silver medal in snocross at Winter X. In 2008 he went racing cross-country on an off-weekend from his snocross schedule. At that point he had never raced the genre before. Now, just five seasons later, he owns two Pro 600 points championships. He’s a quick learner and fearless behind the bars and that’s what sets him apart from the rest of the field. Through it all it was his teammate Ekre
who helped him along. “When we first started we were just racing cross-country on our off weekends,” Simons said. “The more we got into it the more I started going out testing with D.J. and that helped me learn to dial in the sleds and how to pace myself.” Although he works full-time as the Product Team Manager of Performance and Racing segments at Arctic Cat, that doesn’t mean Brian Dick has an advantage over his fellow riders. In fact, at times it can be a detriment. “I work a lot, and by the time I get done with my day job it’s usually dark, so I don’t get as much time to test as I’d like to,” said Dick. Son of Paul Dick, who likely has raced more I-500s than anyone else in the world, Brian took his engineering degree and used it to get a job at Arctic Cat. For the past decade he has played a key role in developing the company’s products, working as Product Engineer for Suspension and Chassis, and now in his current role, one which includes the sled he races. In 2011 Dick got his biggest win, the Red Lake I-500. But it wasn’t an easy road getting there. In 2004 he ran out of gas but still finished second. In 2005 he he had the lead going into Day 3 but crashed hard and took second again. In 2006 he was catching the leader who had broken a clutch spring and, just 10 miles from the finish and less than a mile
behind the leader, a crank bearing went out in his engine. It wasn’t until 2010 that things started going Dick’s way and he won the Pro 600 points title that season. The next year he won the big one, the I-500. Show up to any given race and you’ll see Dick in the trailer late into the evening tweaking his sled, readying it for the next day. “It’s a lot of fun working with him,” said Dick’s mechanic Joe Lesmeister. “He’s never satisfied. “Sometimes it makes for long days, but his drive brings out the best in him and the people around him and that’s why he wins.” Lesmeister is part of a crew of
mechanics on the CBR team that is likely one of the most experienced in snowmobile racing. Along with Lesmeister are Brian “Hector” Olson and Corey Berberich, two guys who used to work straight out of the Team Arctic race shop before getting hired on by CBR. Also helping are Betsy Steffl and Brian Rust. Tie it all in with the Arctic Cat race shop and other companies who provide assistance such as Stud Boy, Speedwerx, FOX, Troy Lee Designs, Drift, C&A Pro and Scott and it becomes clear why CBR has been so successful in cross-country. “First and foremost, we’re a team,” said Dwight Christian. “It’s not about one guy,
it’s about everyone and when one of us wins it carries the entire team.” “We also race snocross and there’s a lot of exposure with the X Games and TV and that sort of thing, but cross-country is every bit as important as snocross,” Christian continued. “Cross-country is a passion, and it goes all the way back to when people first started racing. When you win a race like the I-500, that’s huge maybe the biggest in snowmobiling.” With a re-vamped race sled and two reigning points champions on its roster, watch for Christian Brothers Racing to fight for its place at the top of the USXC ranks during the 2012-2013 season.
In any given cross-country race you may ride an entire race through woods, along rivers and down ditch lines and never see another rider. Or, you might pass or get passed by a bunch of riders. It doesn’t matter. What matters is what the clock says. Cross-country is about time, and the best cross-country riders are smooth and consistent. The best cross-country racer has excellent vision, a quick mind, self-discipline and superb riding skills. He is a master of sled setup and a competent mechanic. In many ways, the cross-country racer is the ultimate snowmobiler. Here are some of the riders you may see this season on the USXC Cross-country circuit.
No. 74 Home: Moorhead, Minnesota Age: 36 Sled: Polaris Known as the Iron Man because he has not missed a race since the 2002-2003 season, Gabe Bunke is also one of the top Pros in cross-country racing. The epitome of the blue collar racer, Bunke balances family, a small business and racing and somehow makes it work. Fast and smooth, watch for him to be a factor in the I-500.
No. 43 Home: Fertile, Minnesota Age: 21 Sled: Arctic Cat Part of the formidable Christian Brothers Racing team, Logan Christian has all the knowledge and resources of his fellow racers to use to his advantage. Experience is huge in cross-country and Christian is only just beginning, so watch for him to get better as he progresses in the sport.
No. 3 Home: Holt, Minnesota Age: 42 Sled: Polaris A veteran cross-country racer, Corey Davidson has won the I-500 three times (1997, 2003, 2005). He combines his smooth, consistent riding style with meticulous machine setup as a recipe for success. He hates to lose and, though he has slowed slightly with age, he’s still a threat to win the big races. In fact, he won back-to-back Pro 600 races two seasons ago, so he’s definitely not done yet.
AARON CHRISTENSEN BRIAN DICK
No. 10 Home: Metiskow, Alberta Age: 31 Sled: Polaris A former Pro snocross racer, Aaron Christensen has raced the Pro National circuit and appeared at the Winter X Games in the snocross competition. A huge talent, Christensen is a force in the Pro class and often sets the pace. Meticulous with his sled setups, he rides with patience and is typically more cautious than some of the other Pros on the circuit. He is a threat to win on any given weekend.
No. 160 Home: Soldotna, Alaska Age: 24 Sled: Arctic Cat One of the best all-around snowmobilers on the planet, Davis races snocross, crosscountry, competes in freestyle competitions and has appeared at the Winter X Games and in numerous extreme snowmobiling films. Davis is the son of famed seven-time Iron Dog champ Scott Davis and grew riding Alaska’s backcountry. Experience, natural talent and a drive to win has made him one of the fastest Pros to emerge in crosscountry racing in recent years.
No. 23 Home: Thief River Falls, Minnesota Age: 34 Sled: Arctic Cat The reigning Red Lake I-500 champion, Brian Dick has been a top Pro crosscountry rider since 2003. He nearly won the Red Lake I-500 in 2006 when he was in second place on Day 3 and chasing down the leader who was on an ailing sled before his own sled broke down. Dick also works as an engineer at Arctic Cat during the week and is a threat to win on any given weekend.He’s a threat to win on any given weekend.
DILLAN DOHRN No. 5 Home: Elgin, Minnesota Age: 22 Sled: Polaris An experienced cross-country racer, Dillan Dohrn is making the jump from Semi-Pro to Pro for the 2012-2013 season. Watch for him to progress up the charts as the season rolls on and log some top finishes.
D.J. EKRE No. 52 Home: Shevlin, Minnesota Age: 32 Sled: Arctic Cat With over a decade of crosscountry experience, Ekre is one of the fastest riders on the USXC circuit. Fast, tough and smart, he almost never makes a mistake. Last season he won the Pro Open points championship, a title he was won multiple times in his career. To win the coveted Pro 600 points he will have to put in a top showing at the I-500, a race where he has been snakebit more often than not and has never won.
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ROSS ERDMAN No. 311 Home: Rochester, Minnesota Age: 31 Sled: Yamaha
ARCTIC CAT - POLARIS - SKI-DOO - YAMAHA Ross Erdman is Yamahaâ€™s top rider and is one of the favorites in the Pro Open class. Erdman will ride a modified Yamaha Nytro, a sled that proved fast and consistent last season. A converted snocross racer, Ross Erdman won the Red Lake I-500 in 2007 on a Ski-Doo and he shines most in the lake races. A fearless rider, his ability should make for some top finishes this season.
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No. 537 Home: Rubicon, Wisconsin Age: 24 Sled: Polaris There must be something in the bloodlines because Ryan Faust looks every bit as fast as his more famous cross-country racing cousin, Corey Davidson. Faust cut his teeth lake racing so he is one of the bigger threats to win in the lake races. But he’s also no slouch in terrain, and typically logs top times at every event. Entering his third season as a Pro, watch for Faust to move up the ranks this season.
No. 432 Home: Brainerd, Minnesota Age: 24 Sled: Arctic Cat A poster boy for the class progression system in cross-country, Ryan Greening worked his way up from the Sport 85 class to the Pro class in a matter of four seasons. Last season was his first as a Pro and, while his times weren’t near the top, his history shows he will get there sooner than later. A tech for Fox Racing Shox, you can bet if anything Greening will have his suspension dialed in, and in cross-country that is half the battle.
No. 48 Home: Driggs, Idaho Age: 29 Sled: Arctic Cat Maybe its in his bloodlines (his uncle is legendary cross-country racer Kirk Hibbert) but Garth Kaufman has taken to crosscountry far quicker than he did snocross. Regardless, he’s at the top of the heap in both genres and when he shows up to a cross-country event he has proven he can run with the fastest regulars on the circuit. Kaufman is a highly-experienced rider, expect top finishes from him in 2012.
No. 130 Home: Thompson, Manitoba An experienced and savvy racer, Cory Grant continues to make his way up the time charts in the Pro class. One a mechanic on the Blair Morgan Racing snocross team, Grant knows what it takes to set up a sled for cross-country. His machines are some of the best-prepped ones on the circuit. Watch for him to take a leading role with the Ski-Doo race team this season.
No. 39 Home: Oslo, Minnesota Age: 23 Sled: Arctic Cat Kallock is a quiet racer who puts in consistent finishes and rarely has a DNF. Part of a family team, the Kallocks got into racing on ice ovals and later switched to cross-country. Kallock has a history of being a points racer, so at season’s end expect him to be Top 5 and watch for him to knock some of the big names off in the points chase.
No. 131 Home: Virginia, Minnesota Age: 21 Sled: Polaris Bobby Menne is young, but he rides fast and smart and rarely crashes. Part of the Bunke Racing team, Menne benefits from having the expertise of Gabe Bunke in his trailer. Last season was his first as a Pro and he held his own, laying down some competitive times in both Pro 600 and Pro Open. This season watch for him to step up his game and move up in the finishing order.
NATHAN TITUS RYAN SIMONS
No. 2 Home: Meridian, Idaho Age: 39 Sled: Yamaha Nathan Titus is set to race select USXC events aboard a modified Yamaha Nytro this season. A highly-experienced and talented rider, Titus cut his teeth racing cross-country out West with the likes of Jack Struthers and the Lasher brothers. In fact, his dad used to race with Jack’s dad Carl back in the day. Titus has spent most of his time racing Polaris and Yamaha but is perhaps best known for his Yamaha snocross days when he took Blair Morgan down to the final race in the Pro Open points chase in 1999.
No. 67 Home: Camrose, Alberta Age: 29 Sled: Arctic Cat Five seasons ago Ryan Simons had never raced cross-country. In 2011 he was Pro 600 and Pro Open points champion and last year he repeated as Pro 600 champion. His progression to the top of the heap in crosscountry racing has been quick to say the least. Though he rides with a pin-it-to-win-it style he’s been able to use his experience to limit his mistakes. He’s proven he has what it takes to put his name amongst the ranks of cross-country’s greatest riders.
No. 57 Home: Cloquet, Minnesota Age: 22 Sled: Polaris After two seasons leading the pack in the Semi-Pro class Spencer Kadlec is making the jump to the Pro class. A highly-experienced motocross rider who runs his own dirt bike racing school, Kadlec has only been racing sleds for a few years. He’s already made his name as a top rider and should make the jump to Pro with ease.
No. 15 Home: Grand Lake, Colorado Age: 28 Sled: Arctic Cat An accomplished snocross racer, Wes Selby has spent the last couple seasons racing the Pro class on the snocross National series. He raced cross-country as a Semi-Pro last season and will race Pro this season. Fast, smooth and smart, he should set top times in the Pro class.
No. 28 Home: Scandia, Minnesota Age: 36 Sled: Ski-Doo Justin Tate is a natural talent on a snowmobile. In addition to cross-country he has also competed in hillcross, the Soo I-500, the Winter X Games and he was once a top rider on the National snocross circuit. In fact, Tate won a medal in hillcross at the Winter X Games in 2004. He was poised to have his best racing season ever before he crashed at the Soo and broke his neck. Fullyrecovered, Tate will be competing on the USXC circuit aboard a Ski-Doo this season. 29
No. 312 Home: Eagle River, Wisconsin Age: 18 Sled: Arctic Cat Zac Herfindahl’s rise through the crosscountry ranks has been quick to say the least. After racing Junior and Semi-Pro last season, 2012-2013 will mark his first racing Pro.
No. 104 Home: Avon, Minnesota Age: 21 In his first season as a Semi-Pro last year Ben Lindbom made his mark, winning races and setting top times. He will be Yamaha’s top entry in the USXC Semi-Pro class in 2013.
JIM SOBECK No. 44 Home: Winona, Minnesota Age: 55 Sled: Ski-Doo They are considered the “old men” on the circuit, but the age classes are no joke on the USxC circuit. Jim Sobeck is one of the top riders in the 50+ class and leads a talented group of age-class riders.
RYAN TROUT No. 105 Home: Browerville, Minnesota Age: 13 Sled: Ski-Doo Ryan Trout and his dad race out of the back of their pickup, but they come ready to win. The competition in the Junior classes is fierce and Trout is one of the riders to beat in Junior 10-13.
BEN LANGAAS No. 473 Home: Rubicon, Wisconsin Sled: Polaris Travis Faust is an up-and-comer in the Semi-Pro class. With some of the top names bumping up to Pro, Faust should move up in the ranks and be a top finisher in 2012.
No. 190 Home: Maple Plain, Minnesota Sled: Arctic Cat Though he dabbles in the Pro class, Jon Arneson is a force in the 40+ plus class. A veteran racer with a ton of cross-country experience, Arneson is the rider to beat in 40+.
No. 231 Home: Greenbush, Minnesota Sled: Arctic Cat
TAYLOR MCLEAN No. 213 Home: Greenbush, Minnesota Sled: Arctic Cat
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Arctic Cat Polaris Ski-Doo Yamaha
No. 22 Home: Alden, Minnesota Sled: Arctic Cat Jolene Bute has been racing at the highest levels for over a decade. No other woman has as much cross-country experience as Bute and she is the rider to beat in the Pro Women class.
No. 903 Home: Goodridge, Minnesota Age: 25 Sled: Arctic Cat
JORDAN TORGERSON No. 213 Home: Greenbush, Minnesota Sled: Arctic Cat