Snowmobile racing needs racers to continue to be a viable sport. This may seem like a given, but it’s not. Traditionally, snowmobile racing has been a family sport, with sons and sometimes, daughters, taking over the machines when their moms and dads decided to hang up their gear.
There have been many remarkable family racing stories over the years, with these just a few:
The Wahl family – http://www.wahlracing.com/history/
Decker family, starting with Audrey & Dick – http://www.ishof.com/php/2001.php
Brothers, Curtis, Shawn, and Jeremy Crapo – http://ultimatesnowmobiler.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=10495
However, there just don’t seem to be as many cousins, brothers, sons, and daughters coming up through the ranks these days. So how do race promoters and other interested stakeholders guarantee the future of the sport? No matter how great the organizations and the tracks, without sleds and drivers, things grind to a halt.
The Ski-Doo Freestyle Challenge aims to interest a few new youngsters and their families.
The Canadian Snowcross Racing Association (CRSA), along with support from a selection of Ski-Doo dealers, has started a program for the 2007-2008 racing season that will be a “big brother” to kids, aged 10 to 13 years, who want to learn more about snowmobile racing. Interested kids who have, of course, the support and permission of their families, can give racing a whirl.
Riders are provided with the loan of a full set of safety equipment and a Ski-Doo Freestyle snowmobile for practice and competition at a race event in Ontario. Volunteer “big brothers or sisters” who are pro racers, will provide one-on-one instruction for each new rider. At the end of the season one lucky new racer will win his Ski-Doo Freestyle sled.
Full details on the program are available at: http://www.snowcross.com/1/1_5_0.php
So, how will we judge the success of this program? This season, ten excited youngsters and their families will have a dream opportunity to get some hands-on professional training and track time. What will happen next year? Or even five years from now when those thirteen year-olds are eighteen, and able to find their own “ride?” Success might also be evaluated by how many other organizations and groups recognize the need to support up and coming young drivers–and start other types of mentoring programs.