2011-2012 sledRacer.com Snocross Rider Rankings

We’re on the brink of the 2011-2012 snocross season, time for the sledracer.com annual snocross rider rankings. Just a week out from Duluth, if you’re not ready now you’ll never be and we’ll help you get revved up with a little snocross bench racing. Bust out a cold one and read on as we give our $.02 on who is the best in snocross. You can see our past rankings (and see how accurate we were) here andhere.

11. Emil Ohman
No. 27
Ski-Doo
While Emil Ohman is entering just his third season of snocross in the United States, he’s been around Europe for a while. Translation: he’s older than you assume. But with age comes experience as well as patience, and the 2008 FIM snowcross world champion Ohman has both and both can be used to beat younger riders. Ohman had a breakout season in 2010 when he stood on the podium five times and placed third in Pro Stock points. He definitely came into Duluth on the pace last season but tweaked his knee there which opened up the gates to an injury-plagued 2011 season. Is a healthy Ohman a contender? It’s tough to say, but the pieces are there.

 

 

 

10. Kyle Pallin
No. 324
Arctic Cat
How can you put a rider on the Top 10 who has never ridden as a Pro? History would show that a rider who dominates the Semi-Pro class like Pallin did in 2012 usually makes a seamless jump into the Pro class. Plus, he finished 4th at the Winter X Games in snocross last season, proving he can ride a mod and put in the laps with the big boys. He’s got a ton of momentum behind him coming into the 2012 season, the question is, can he win?

 

 

 

 

 

9. Logan Christian
No. 43
Arctic Cat
The Pro National series Rookie of the Year last season, Logan Christian suffered a knee injury riding motocross in the off-season. After a less-the-stellar first half of the 2011 season, Christian turned it around after the New York race, made himself a consistent Top 5 rider and almost stole a win at the Hayward event. He rides for Christian Brothers Racing, one of the biggest and best teams on the circuit. Known for his relentless training regimen, expect Christian to start slow coming off injury but pick up mid-season and maybe steal some podiums.

 

 

 

 

8. Cory Davis
No. 160
Arctic Cat
Another rider who spent last year away from snocross (but not away from racing), Cory Davis is a naturally-gifted snowmobile rider, perhaps the most gifted on the circuit. During the summer of 2010 he suffered a severe injury to his foot riding ramps on his dirt bike. While now healed, questions surround Davis’ ability to ride snocross with the “new” foot. If he can pound the laps expect him to be Top 5 if not a podium contender.

 

 

 

 

 

7. Levi LaVallee
No. 108
Polaris
The progression of the sport generally means a season away from racing is a death knell for most racers, but we’re betting Levi LaVallee can come back and be competitive again. Ever fit and always fearless and aggressive, LaVallee does not like to lose and he won’t be out there to mess around mid-pack. A former race winner and Pro Open points champ, he could easily be placed higher on this list.

 

 

 

 

 

6. Mathieu Morin
No. 27X
Ski-Doo
Last season Mathieu Morin swept the Pro points titles on the East Coast Snocross circuit. ECS is not the Nationals so it’s hard to say if he can bring that momentum with him. One thing is for sure, he was without a doubt the dominant rider on that circuit last year and his track record shows he wins wherever he goes. This year he replaces Brett Turcotte on the BOSS Racing squad. He’s been on the National tour before and done well, even winning races (including Pro Stock at Duluth in 2005). He should have a good season in 2012.

 

 

 

5. Garth Kaufman
No. 48
Arctic Cat
Garth Kaufman has quietly worked his way to the top of the field in snocross and he’s stayed there for the past few seasons. His smooth, consistent style combined with an adequate “next gear” that allows him to be just a step faster than some of the mid-packers puts him on the podium enough to call him a contender. While the Christian Brothers Racing rider has yet to show if he has that top gear that would put him out front (and keep him out front) against the Top 3, he’s definitely shown he’s a rider to take seriously.

 

 

 

 

4. Robbie Malinoski
No. 4
Ski-Doo
One of the most experienced riders on the circuit, Malinsoki also rides for one of the highest-profile teams, Scheuring Speed Sports. Famous for logging the first National snocross win on a 4-stroke as well as for being the only rider other than Blair Morgan or Tucker Hibbert to sweep the points championships, Malinoski is a tough, consistent rider who can ride just about anything and always seems to find the podium. Expect him to be on the podium, but betting on the top step might prove risky.

 

 

3. Tim Tremblay
No. 27
Ski-Doo
Two years ago Tim Tremblay filled a spot on the Warnert Racing roster and won the Pro Stock points championship in his rookie season, proving he belonged on the National circuit. His results tapered off in 2011 but he still claimed a handful of podium spots. Still, he’s competitive and is even able to win on the Ski-Doo, a sled that has been a disappointing third best in the pack. On paper, the sled looks much improved for 2012, but will it put Tremblay in the mix with Hibbert and Martin again?

 

 

 

 

 

2. Ross Martin
No. 837
Polaris
Ross Martin led more laps in more races than any other rider in the Pro class on the snocross National tour last season. Problem was, more often than not he wasn’t leading when it counted. Martin races for Judnick Motorsports, one of the most successful racing teams in the history of snocross and has the full force of the Polaris racing empire behind him. The mod-only Pro class should play into his favor because he’s always been better on his mod and has three Pro Open championships to prove it (2007, 2008, 2010). He’s the only rider who, when it comes to ability, racing experience and support, can match Tucker Hibbert. But, until he leads the laps that count, he remains the No. 2 rider on the list.

 

 

 

1. Tucker Hibbert
No. 68
Arctic Cat
In addition to being the reigning ISOC Pro points champion, Tucker Hibbert holds 66 Pro National snocross wins, he won the FIM Snowcross World Championship in 2010 and holds 10 Winter X Games snocross medals, including five gold medals. He locked up both championships last season despite suffering from an injured wrist (that required off-season surgery) for nearly half the season. While Blair Morgan’s win total still eludes Hibbert, the double race format this season could put him close to Morgan’s record of 84 wins. Despite his stats not being as fat as Morgan’s, Hibbert is arguably the greatest snocross racer ever and, until someone beats him on the National circuit, he is No. 1 on our list.

I Trained All Summer Part IV

Don't let the swingset fool you, Zak Mason got some serious training done via Drew and EvolvedMX. Wasn't he the guy in front of you last season?

Hopefully all of you are well into your summer training regimen and hopefully you are healthy and making progress. Me? I’m just trying to keep up with whatever Drew Robertson from Evolved Nutrition tells me to do next. I call Drew “Trainer to the Stars” because chances are if they’re riding the Pro class at an ISOC race Drew has had at least some input into their training.

I’ve made it through the first two stages of the EvolvedMX training program and am ready for the third stage, one that Drew says will become more intense.

“The next stage will move you into strength, power and endurance, three things you need a lot of in snocross,” explained Drew. “When I train motocross riders I like to keep them lean. For snocross you need more strength because it’s a bigger machine, so I try to build strength in the core and the legs primarily.”

After completing two stages of cardio, core strengthening and flexibility through circuit training, the third stage will require things such as a weight vest and will begin to build strength.

“What we’ve done up until now with Jim is basically getting him ready for the ‘real’ training,” said Drew. “So far he’s been able to complete the circuit training without much thought, meaning it’s been pretty easy. From here on out he won’t be able to daydream during the program since it will require much more skill, strength and concentration.

One thing I’m changing to suit Jim’s training is I’m taking out biking and replacing it with running, since he’s been doing some half marathons and plans to do more. This will be a gauge we can use to track his progress too since we can tell from his times how much progress he’s making.”

For those who want to get on Drew’s program or find out what it’s like firsthand, EvolvedMX will be having two Snocross Boot Camps, one can be seen here, the next has yet to be announced but will be held at ERX.

“I’m excited about the camps this year, we are going to have 20-25 snocross athletes out for the 5 day camps, we provide food, lodging, training, public speaking seminars, mental preparation techniques and much much more, plus they leave with a 3 month training program,” Drew said.

There will also be some industry sponsors at the camps available to talk with the athletes, helping them with the correct ways to approach sponsors as well as what sponsors are looking for when they sign and support new athletes. Stay tuned to sledRacer.com for more details.

If you want to contact Drew with questions or anything else you can e-mail him at: drew@evolvednutrition.com

sledRacer Interview: Logan Christian

The snocross season started slow, but at the midway point Logy found his speed and was a consistent Top 5 racer.

Logan Christian had a busy season last year. Riding for the Christian Brothers Racing team he had to be on his game nearly every weekend from Duluth all the way to the FIM Snowcross World Championship in Tuuri, Finland, March 26, 2011. He did double duty racing cross-country and snocross and hit some of the biggest snowmobile races around the planet. Along the way he nearly won Pro Super Stock at Hayward and was voted Pro Rookie Of The Year on the ISOC National snocross circuit. We caught up with Logy while he was up in Calgary, Alberta, racing the Canadian Motocross Nationals to find out what he thinks of cross-country vs. snocross, his near National snocross win and being a member of the night crew at the Christian Brothers Racing test track.

sledRacer.com: You’re up in Canada racing bikes right now?
Logan Christian: Yeah, I’m doing the Canadian Nationals. I haven’t made any mains yet, but I’m getting closer. I’m missing them by like a split second. The first weekend I had a bone stock bike and everyone else had mod bikes and I missed it by like a tenth of a second. And last weekend in Nanaimo the track was so different than what I normally ride. It was hardpack and supercross-like, I just couldn’t get into the groove of it there and missed it by a half second or something dumb.

sR: Why are you racing up there?
LC: Dad and I thought it would help keep up the intensity of racing all summer so it’s more of a year-round deal. It’s been helping me with racing, I’m going faster and learning more. I’m also doing it to keep in shape and so I can spend some time with Drew Robertson, my trainer. He lives in Calgary and I’m staying with him. We’re working on fitness and things like that while I’m racing.

sR: But your focus is still snowmobiles?
LC: Yeah, 100 percent. The reason we’re doing this is to learn more about racing and for the intensity of it.

Logy heading out onto the river a few miles from the casino on Day 2 of the I-500.

sR: You had a lot going on last season – you were a rookie Pro in snocross and you were also racing cross-country. You were racing every weekend, was that overwhelming or was it something that worked for you?
LC: I liked it because it didn’t give me time to think about stuff and psych myself out. If I get too much time off I start to do that, so it worked out good for me. It also keeps you thinking about racing which keeps you sharp.

sR: Your snocross season started slow but after New York it turned around. Why?
LC: You know, I think I just had to get in the flow and I got my confidence up after New York. I finally had enough. I didn’t do anything different mentally or physically, everything just started clicking and I just started to feel better. I started trying to ride my way instead of trying to ride like a Pro.

sR: Was that part of it, going from Semi-Pro to Pro?
LC: I think so. I didn’t know it then, but looking back I think it did. I came off such a good year in Semi-Pro I was trying to be an awesome Pro and trying to be up there with Tucker. After the first couple races it took a little bit out of me. It started coming back though, and after New York it started to click and I started riding good again.

Logy spent all winter transitioning between snocross and cross-country.

sR: Then you almost won in Hayward.
LC: That was pretty crazy, I wish I could have kept up there with Tucker, but those guys are fast. It was cool to get that good start and show everyone I deserved to be in the Pro class.

sR: You struggled a little in cross-country.
LC: I had never really done anything like that before. I had never gone 100mph down a ditch before, I’ve always been on the tight snocross tracks, so that was a whole different ballgame but I learned and was starting to get better. Next year I’ll be back at it and I’ll be even better.

sR: What’s the difference between snocross and cross-country?
LC: The whole sled setup is way different in cross-country and it really keeps the shop busy setting up sleds. We have some of the best mechanics around, my mechanic Halvy (Justin Halvorson) and Hector (Brian “Hector” Olson) and Berbs (Corey Berberich) for the other guys work really hard to keep us at the front. The other thing is riding – instead of standing up the whole time you’re sitting down the whole time. Your whole style is different on the sled. The intensity is the same, but you don’t get the intensity from the crowd like you do in snocross. It’s tough to keep the intensity up in cross-country because most of the time you’re by yourself. You have to push yourself instead of having someone there to push you. They’re both intense, but in different ways.

sR: What were your thoughts on the I-500?
LC: That was crazy, I didn’t have very good luck at all. I got 10 miles out the first day and iced up and the second day I got 10 miles out and iced up again. I wish we could have made the sled last the whole race. You always hear the stories about the 500 from guys who have ran it, now I guess I have my first one.

sR: There were a few guys who iced up, your teammate D.J. Ekre iced up too.
LC: D.J. and I had the same problems. It was funny, on the last stretch I think he passed me going about 45mph and I was going about 30mph.

sR: That’s funny!
LC: Yeah, it’s funny, but I still wish we wouldn’t have iced up so we could have been up there. Overall it was good weekend though and it was pretty sweet with the team getting the top four spots in the race.

Trainer/coach Drew Robertson keeps a close eye on Logy's program.

sR: How has Drew Robertson helped you?
LC: Drew is my trainer and coach. He’s been around moto since about 2002 and he’s worked with a lot of good racers and knows a lot about it. He’s got a lot of good tips to get my mind and body ready to race. He helps keep me calm and not get too worked up over a bad race or anything like that. He’s been a lot of help and taught me a lot.

sR: You’re part of the night crew at the Christian Brothers test track. Tell us about that.
LC: Tucker and I kind of put that together and every once in a while James Johnstad comes out too. The rest of the team rides during the day and we usually ride later on because I was going to school, so we started calling ourselves the night crew.

sR: What do you learn from Tucker?
LC: I’ve learned so much from him. I can’t give away the secrets, but just practicing with him and watching him ride, chasing him around the track you learn so many little things. Everyone looks at the big things but really it’s the little things that make the big difference. When you practice with him every day and watch him ride you learn a lot of little things. You take them and put them together and make them work for you.

sR: He’s so good, does riding with him make you think you can beat him or does it just make you think there’s not a chance?
LC: No, it gives me confidence. There might be one practice where you say, “Holy crap, there’s no way you can beat this guy” then the next one you might give him a run. When that happens it gives you confidence knowing you’re running with the fastest guy out there. Tucker’s the most down to earth guy you’d ever want to meet and he’s never like, “Oh, you’ll never beat me.” He’s not cocky whatsoever. He works hard, does his own thing then he goes out and proves to everyone that he works the hardest. That’s where I want to be and that’s why I’m up here in Canada working hard and trying to make myself better. Tucker did the races in Canada and he learned a lot about racing sleds through racing bikes, so that’s what I’m trying to emulate.

Voted ISOC Pro Rookie Of The Year, Logy is looking to improve on a stellar rookie Pro season in 2012.

sR: A lot of people criticized Tucker for leaving snocross to race bikes, but when you look at his program a lot of it comes from what he learned racing bikes.
LC: Exactly. You learn from both, pursue what you’re better at and become awesome at it.

sR: What’s the plan for the rest of the summer?
LC: We have the race here in Calgary this weekend, then I’ll go home and come back for one more race. Then I’ll just work for dad on the farm and work on sales trucks the rest of the summer. I’ll keep riding dirt bikes and working out and get ready for this winter.

sR: Any plans to go down and try and qualify at Millville?
LC: Maybe. It depends on how busy we are, it seems like we’re always busy in the fields around that time so we’ll have to see if dad needs me or not. It’s at an awkward time for us. I’d like to for sure though, to see where I rate.

sR: Goals for next season?
LC: Win, be Top 3, be the guy everyone wants to beat. I want to be that guy who comes through the pack to pass Tucker.

CBR Riders Compete At FIM Snowcross World Championship

A bent tie rod and some bad luck kept Logan Christian out of World Championship contention. Photo: Wayne Davis

Christian Brothers Racing riders Logan Christian and Garth Kaufman traveled all the way to Tuuri, Finland, to race in the FIM Snowcross World Championship this past March 26. They faced 44 other riders from seven different countries, all vying to be the next World Champion. The races took place at what is known as the Village Shop circuit; a .43-mile snocross track in the midst of Tuuri’s shopping areas. The World Championship consisted of a qualifying session followed by an A main consisting of three races where riders gained points based on finishing position. The points would determine the World Championship standings and a 2011 World Champion. Practice on Friday led to complaints from riders about the hard, icy track. Track builders worked hard to correct the track and it was much better for Saturday’s racing. There was one qualifying round with two heats and the Top 8 riders in each heat went to the A main. Riders who didn’t make it to the A main in their qualifying race got another shot in the LCQ, where the Top 4 transferred.

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Evolved SX Exercise Of The Week

Drew Robertson training with Iain Hayden. Watch sledRacer.com for news about the Evolved SX Boot Camp that will take place at Iain's motocross school later this summer.

Hello Sledracer.com fans, here is one of my favorite core exercises, the straight arm cable press. People often think that if they don’t feel the “burn” that they are not working hard enough. With this exercise its about the “feel” and recruiting the right muscles! In the pictures Logan Christian is using a cable machine; he has also used various bands for this exercise as well.

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CBR Shines At Snocross Finale

CBR was voted Team Of The Year for the second year in a row. Photo: Wayne Davis

Fertile, Minn. (March 22, 2011) – Podiums, points championships, the ISOC Team Of The Year and Pro Rookie of the Year awards all went home with the Christian Brothers Racing team after the ISOC snocross season finale in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, this past March 19-20, 2011. Lake Geneva has become the traditional end-of-season event for the National snocross tour and the ski slopes of Grand Geneva Resort have played host to some of the best races in snocross history. This weekend made history in a different way though – while Saturday saw mild Spring weather, Sunday’s racing saw drenching rains and even some thunder which made for challenging conditions for riders and teams.

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Evolved SX Exercise Of The Week

Drew Robertson (middle) with a couple riders he trains, Pro Rookie of the Year Logan Christian (left) and Most Improved Pro Robbie Malinoski.

What a year! Hope everyone that got a chance to go to the Grand Finale this past weekend in Lake Geneva had a great time, even though the weather on Sunday would have tested the most die hard fan!

Before I share the Evolved SX Exercise of the Week later this week I want to take this opportunity to congratulate all the Evolved athletes :

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Evolved SX Exercises Of The Week

Drew Robertson is the man behind the success of more than a few Pro snocross riders.

This week and as often as I can I will be updating all sledracer.com fans with some nutrition and training tips. I have had the chance over the last four years to work with some of the industry’s top pros, including Logan Christian, Tim Tremblay, Robbie Malinoski, Justin Broberg, Emil Ohman, Steve Taylor and Iain Hayden, just to name a few. While working with these riders I have learned a lot working with these athletes as to what works for the sport of snocross and what doesn’t. For this article I’d like to share some of my favorite exercises, my athletes LOVE these! Well, not really, but the benefits for joint stability and overall strength are well worth the sweat left on the floor when you’re done.

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Walker 100

With the passing of USCC founder and President Pat Mach a little more than a week ago, emotions ran high at the USCC Chase On The Lake Walker 100. Mach was more than a circuit owner or race director, he knew everyone who raced the USCC. He could tell you their number, brand, where they lived, everything. He probably cared about USCC racers more than most people knew and he truly appreciated each and every one of them.

The Walker 100 was hosted by Chase On The Lake and featured an 18-miled course that took riders through swamps and shoreline and featured a couple long pulls on the lake mixed with arm-pumping twisties. It was a blast of a course and, with warm temperatures and the sun trying to peek out all day it was a perfect day to go cross-country racing. Read the USCC press release here. Click over for more pics from the race.

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Pro Snowmobile Racers To Appear At SleddinXpo

Pro racer Ryan Simons will sign autographs at the SleddinXpo Dec. 4.

Professional snowmobile racers from the world of snocross, cross-country and vintage SnoPro will be appearing at the second annual SleddinXpo 2010 on Saturday, December 4, at Scheels Arena in Fargo, North Dakota. The show brings together local and regional snowmobile racing circuits, trail clubs, snowmobile dealers, vendors and related industry supporters for a kick-off of the 2010-2011 snowmobile season.

The “Celebrity Sledder Meet and Greet” will take place from 5pm-6pm and will include Pro racers Ryan Simons, who was recently invited to be a part of ESPN’s 2011 Winter X Games and is also a major contender in the National snocross series. Other Pro National racers appearing will include Garth Kaufman, Zach Pattyn, Women’s Pro snocross racer Carly Davis and up and Pro National racer Logan Christian. To view the entire SleddinXpo press release including dates, times and admission click here.