Snowmobile Racing is the Hottest Action on Snow
Snowmobile racing actually began, at least in an organized way, decades ago with organizations like the National Snowmobile Racing Association (NSRA) and the National Straightline Snowmobile Racing (NSSR) group. The NSSR features classes for stock sleds and an unlimited class that features exotic racing machines sporting V-8 engines and outboard motors adapted to these sleds. The NSSR began its famous World Record Series in 1988 and has been host to beefed up machines like the Coors Silver Bullet, the Budweiser Sno-King and the King Cat. This organization is the officially sanctioned place to achieve world records on a quarter-mile track, with the current world record in the unlimited class being a sizzling 170 mph!
While the NSSR events have waned, primarily due to changes in the focus from snowmobile manufacturers, Snocross snowmobile racing has risen dramatically in popularity. Snocross is akin to motocross racing on snow machines. It takes place on manmade tracks that features steep jumps, banked corners, tight turns and other track nuances that create a tight, competitive racing environment. The jumps can send snowmobile racing participants up to 30 feet in the air, covering distances of 100-125 feet. Top speeds on straight-aways may reach 60 mph. This dynamic form of snowmobile racing made its debut at X Games 1998 and has become the most popular form of racing snow machines throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe.
Safety concerns for the drivers in these snowmobile racing events is a top priority. Drivers wear all the requisite equipment including helmets, leather boots, eye protection, gloves, neck braces, knee guards and more. In unlimited classes, drivers are encouraged and sometimes mandated to wear hearing protection.
The largest organization involved in snowmobile racing is the ISOC, the International Series of Champions. It features races that draw top talent and crowds often in excess of 10,000. The circuit emphasizes safe and competitive track design, rules to produce fair racing, and the substantial payouts. Professional and amateur classes are included.
The top manufacturers in snowmobile racing remain the brands that have been at the top of the sport for decades including Polaris, Ski-Doo, Bombardier, Yamaha and Arctic Cat. Other types of snowmobile racing that are popular include Grass Drags in summer and fall, Watercross and Snowmobile Skipping, hill climb competitions, ice racing and the Iron Dog marathon in Alaska.