XMR Extreme Mountain Snowmobile Racing
by Terry Allen
January 23, 2018
The third stop on the XMR Vintage Snowmobile Racing Tour was held in Pinedale, Wyoming this past Saturday (January 20, 2018). There are four events in Colorado and two in Wyoming. About two-dozen vintage sleds competed in 12 different classes from Juniors all the way to Outlaws. Vintage means 1985 and older leaf spring sleds (stock, super stock, and modified.) The event was hosted by the Pinedale Snow Explorers/Altitude Off-Road Inc.
The track is very near the historic town of Cora, Wyoming. The track is bordered by historic log cabins and historic beef cattle range. In fact, according to Gary Neeley and Mike Carrillo, one of the old log cabins used to be the Bronx Schoolhouse out at Forty Rod, and the other was a cookhouse. That leaves one cabin a mystery. If you know, let me know and I'll update this account.
Gary Neeley said there used to be 126 different snowmobile brands in America until the recession in the 1980's. By the time the dust settled, there were only four companies remaining. That leaves a lot of interesting snowmobiles for vintage racing.
The course is an oval. About half of it is a huge banked turn and the other half is a flat turn. The driving adjustments make it fun to watch. This year due to the light snow pack, it's also fun or painful to listen to. Since we live on top of gravel from the ice age, that means racers just have to deal with rocks...going thru the track tunnel and their tracks taking what they find in there...out with them when they leave...at about 100 miles an hour.
Tom Barnard from Colorado learned it better than anyone. He was on the tail of someone and caught a rock right between the eyes. One inch gash and a broken nose. I went down to the pits to check on him and he was on his phone. I could tell by the way he talked he was talking to a girl, so I knew he'd be alright. Sure enough, when his class came up, he shoe-horned his swollen nose into his helmet and finished the race.
I talked with Tip Top Rescue and they said his googles did just what they were supposed to do...not shatter and not let the rock thru the polycarbonate...though there was a star right between his eyes.
Speaking of stars, Tom said he definitely saw them. "I saw a lot of stars and gushed a lot of blood," he said. "I couldn't get my helmet off fast enough. I didn't see the rock that got me but it sure went POW! and hurt like a bitch! They took real good care of me in the ambulance, in fact it was a toss-up whether to stay in there with the cute nurse or get back on the track."
Robert Jaskolski was flagging the finish line and we talked about how they'd prepared the track for the race. "We packed it down with our pickup trucks after we knocked down all the badger hole dirt piles." A young woman was with Robert and she was doing the hard work writing down finish numbers with cold fingers. About the time I was noticing she had a nice smile, a voice down in the turn called out. "Hey honey, if you get cold you can go to the trailer and warm up." I asked the young woman if they were newlyweds and she laughed and said, "No, I think he's just trying to get me to heat up the soup and make him a sandwich."
Jerry Jeff and Amanda are friends of mine and back when she was expecting...I just assumed there would be one baby, but there turned out to be two. Henry and Pearson. Jerry Jeff bought them their first snowmobile Saturday and they had been racing it up and down the parking lot all day. But because of the stage of life they are in, in between runs with Dad, they had to check in with Mom, and that included a hello kiss and a goodbye kiss.
As an old bobsled coach, I'm built to look for racing secrets. This kissing before a race thing sounds sort of interesting. I might try to track the twins racing success and see if I can find a correlation. This could be big, folks!
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