A Visit To Christian Brothers Racing

There is a lot going on in this relatively small shop. Our visit took place during the down time between Christmas and New Year's so it was more relaxed than it normally is.

Christian Brothers Racing formed its first National snocross team in 2002 when D.J. Ekre and Bryan Dyrdahl hit all the WSA Snocross Nationals together. Little did they, or the team’s owners brothers Dwight and Stuart Christian know, what the team would eventually become. Today, CBR as two race rigs, a merchandise trailer and riders on the ISOC snocross National tour and USXC cross-country circuit. We took a trip up to Fertile, Minn., to visit the shop and see what goes on there. What we found was a hard-working, family-oriented team that concentrates on doing the best it can in everything it sets out to do.

That's mechanic Corey Berberich working on Ryan Simons' cross-country machine. Simons is the reigning Pro 600 points champion in cross-country.

This is D.J. Ekre's sled post-Pine Lake. Yep, this is how far these sleds get torn down after each race. This is one reason the team has so few DNFs due to mechanicals - meticulous preparation.

Across the shop Logan Christian's snocross mod is getting some attention.

Logy and his mechanic Justin Halvorson discuss their plan for the day. Logy often practices until 10 or 11 o'clock at night with Tucker Hibbert. We were there early and we're not sure Logy was too happy about us getting him to the shop before his normal time.

This tunnel will eventually become Logy's X Games mod. We should see the finished product in a couple weeks.

Tucked into a corner of the shop are most of the tools anyone would need to fabricate or modify parts.

One of Logy's sleds needs grips. The team is sponsored by ODI, so that's what they'll be putting on.

Snowmobile grips can be a real pain to install. You got heating elements to deal with, curved handlebars and, of course, you don't want them to slip after they're on so most times you're trying to get them installed before some sort of adhesive dries. As you can see, this install turned into a two-man job that involved compressed air and some spray paint as adhesive.

Next door, that whooshing noise is Garth Kaufman putting time in on the bike and rower, among other things, He was doing a circuit that would last something like an hour. If he wasn't riding today he said his workout would last an hour and a half.

Your first trivia question: where did this conference table and chairs come from? Answer, the old Olah Racing world headquarters in Fergus Falls.

Various trophies were scattered throughout the race shop including a bunch of team of the year trophies like these.

Back in the shop we found the team's Soo sled under construction. Last year Ryan Simons and D.J. Ekre took second at that race on a surprisingly stock sled. This year Simons and Brian Dick will ride together.

With veteran mechanics like Hector Olson and Berberich on the team you won't see much "trick" or flashy stuff, but you will see obvious mods that work, such as this nifty brake cooling duct. Walking by the sled you'd probably never notice it.

Labeled "Soo" with a piece of duct tape, this sled's team role was chosen a long time ago.

When the team tears down a sled it all goes on these carts. What looks like a pile of stuff is actually the critical inner workings of a winning snowmobile.

This particular cart is assigned to D.J. Ekre's sled. Nicknames can be a bitch, eh?

Garth divided most of his time between working out in the gym and helping with the sleds. Here he peels the graphics off his sled that will get shipped to Sweden for Clash Of Nations. Different rules over there - no studs, mod engine, stock pipe, pump gas.

Here's Garth's snocross mod. The blue goes with the logos of the team's new sponsor, Michelob Golden Draft Light. They have jumped in big and as part of their sponsorship are giving away a snowmobile and a set of Garth's race-worn gear.

A sledracer.com sticker? No wonder Simons' sled was so fast at Detroit Lakes!

That's Betsy Haldorson and she is the head mechanic at CBR. She is Matt Piche's cousin. Yes, she's a girl and yes, she probably knows more about sleds than you.

Garth's practice sled. Poor thing.

Practice sleds get rode hard and put away wet. They are a tool to test setups and keep riders sharp, that's it.

You'd think a shop this small with this many riders, sleds and mechanics would get hectic, but we found just the opposite. The place was rife with order and the more we looked the more detail we found, such as shocks etched with labels for each rider.

This sled had such a cool look to it we thought maybe it was some secret test sled or something, but it turned out to just be Logy's practice sled. Darn.

Camped out in their RV next to the shop was Sport National rider Tyler Adams. This is his sled - the only stock snocross sled in the shop.

Here's the Speedwerx engine for the Soo buggy, all torn down and getting some love from Hector.

The team works closely with Arctic Cat to get the stuff it needs. Communication is key and sometimes it means spelling out in big bold letters what you need.

A cross-country skid getting prepped on the bench.

The team lost some engines at Pine Lake a couple weeks before we were there but they already had those engines replaced and rebuilt, ready to go.

Cross-country tracks all studded up. Bet someone got a sore thumb out of that deal.

Post-lunch, the team hit the practice track which leads us to our second trivia question: who used this rig before CBR bought it? That's right, Blair Morgan Racing Team. It got smashed in the back by another one of the BMRT haulers on icy roads on the way to Lake Geneva in 2008. CBR bought it cheap from BMRT and fixed the doors. Blair won a lot of races running out of this trailer and he played a lot of video games in the lounge.

Garth warms up his buggy outside the shop. The crackle of the mod pipes made a harsh contrast to what, until then, was a quiet day.

Transition rider Evan Christian shows up to spin some laps too. Together, he and CBR rider Trent Wittwer rule the Transition classes on the National circuit.

Cory Davis was here.

The team even has starting lights just like ISOC uses so they can simulate starts.

There aren't many riders on the National circuit who are more fit than Logy, and he turned laps effortlessly while we shot photos.

Garth waits while Betsy makes some last minute adjustments to his sled. Seems it fouled some plugs.

A mechanic's work is never done.

With the short days the sun was already getting low and the day was only half done for some members of the team. Soon Hibbert would show up and he and Logy would pound the track under the lights. You know what they say, train for the time and conditions in which you will compete.

 

 

 

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