Lots of snow makes for great trails across the Iron Range. Many heading to the Snowmo-Fest in Caspian will be arriving by trails this weekend. According to the Iron Range Trail Club, all the groomers have been out on the entire trail system and are on a regular grooming schedule. All of the trails are in the best condition the area has seen in a few years, with conditions improving each day.
CASPIAN—Come and cheer on the racers and watch the thrills and spills during the first Caspian Snowmo-Fest.
The Snowmo-Fest will feature the third annual Mid America Championship Hillclimb (MACH) on Saturday, Feb. 15, and the Iron River Country Club Uphill Drags on Sunday, Feb. 16. Both events are hosted and sanctioned by the Mid America Snow and Terrain Expert Racers, commonly known as the MASTERS Racing Circuit.
Saturday’s MACH hillclimb competition will begin at 10 a.m. at the old Caspian ski jump hill. On Sunday, the competition will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the Caspian ski hill. Both locations are just off M-189 on along County Highway 424.
The MASTERS has reduced the VIP parking fees for the MACH to only $10. Admission to each event is $5, or a Snowmo-Fest weekend pass can be purchased for $7.
Local racers will be competing, including members of Goldbach Racing. Favorites of the events are Louie Goldbach and Chris Nordang.
The MACH Hillclimb is exciting to watch, as riders apply speed and skill through a series of gates as they switchback up the hill to the top and through the timing chute. The drivers compete in stock, modified, junior and vintage. There is also the popular 120 cc class for children between the ages of 4 and 9 to see how far they can go up the steep hill.
The MACH will be the first of two professional snowmobile hillclimbs that are qualifiers for the World Championship hillclimb in Jackson, Wyo., March 20-23. The Pro Stock King of the Hill and the Pro Mod King of the Hill winners at the MACH and the March 1 TADCA Pine Mountain Hillclimb in Iron Mountain will automatically qualify for this year’s World Championships. Other winners from both hillclimbs will also qualify for the World Championships.
The top two professional hillclimbers in the Midwest, Jordan Stank of Stoughton, Wis., and Travis Kaurala of Pelkie, have already qualified for the World Championships from MASTERS hillclimb events that took place last winter after the World Championships. According to MASTERS, both are expected to compete at both the MACH and Pine Mountain. Jordan Stank’s father, Layne, will also be competing at both hillclimbs.
The Iron River Country Club Uphill Snow Drags will take place on Sunday. It is the third leg of the Ojibwa Casino MASTERS Snow Drag Series. Three drivers won three classes at the Sagola Sportsman Club Tip Up Town snow drags on Saturday, Feb 1. It was in Sagola that Calumet’s Jerry Buschell took the point lead to become the circuit’s No. 1 driver. Buschell did this by winning the featured class, Top Gun.
Buschell now has a two-point lead over Iron River’s Louie Goldbach, and a four-point lead over last years’ Top Gun champion, Iron River’s Chris Nordang. Goldbach won the Top Gun feature at the U.P. Championships in Ontonagon in January. Nordang has not won a Top Gun feature yet this year.
Both Nordang and Goldback race for Goldbach Racing. It was Buschell’s teammate, Paul Voelker, who returned to professional snowmobile drag racing at Sagola and made it to the finals in Top Gun, along with winning the pro open mod class.
Voelker is one of two drivers in the MASTERS Racing Circuit Hall of Fame. This coming weekend, the 20-year racing circuit will announce its third Hall of Fame inductee.
Also competing at the uphill snow drags will be the circuit’s all-time most successful driver, Matt Lacosse of Champion. Lacosse won three classes at Sagola.
During the Caspian Snowmo-Fest, history will be made as one driver in the MASTERS Ojibwa Casino Circuit plans to compete in the three different series that the MASTERS will run this winter: hillclimb, snow drags and hillcross. That driver is Shay Thompson of Gwinn. Thompson won three classes at Sagola and will be competing in both this Saturday’s MACH and in Sunday’s snow drags.
“Hillclimb, snow drags and hillcross are completely different from each other,” said Skip Schulz, MASTERS Racing Circuit president. “For any driver to actually try to compete in all three series is hard to imagine.
“While we have already seen how Shay (Thompson) is dominating in his classes in snow drags, it will be interesting to see how he does at the hillclimb on Saturday.”
Both the hillclimb and the drag races are open to any driver.
“It is not uncommon at all for a brand new driver to compete in his/her first hillclimb and walk away winning the class,” Schulz said. “We even had a junior driver, under 17, last year end up posting times at one of our hillclimbs that was comparable to our top drivers. Plus in the drags, we run a trail stock class for the everyday trail riders to compete in.”
The Pro Stock King of the Hill and the Pro Mod King of the Hill will win $500 from the Iron River Country Club and the MASTERS Circuit. This is in addition to the money they win for qualifying for the King of the Hill Shoot-Out. In the 15 driver Top Gun Class, that winner will get $500 from General Concrete/Precision Engineering.
Final registration for those who want to compete in the hillclimb will be Friday night at the Iron River Country Club. Friday night is also the mandatory drivers meeting for those competing in the hillclimb. That meeting will begin at 7 p.m. The final registration for the snow drags will be on Saturday night at Iron River Country Club.
For more information, contact Schulz at 906-884-9101 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.