sledRacer Interview: Rick Tiede

Rick Tiede sporting some Woody's Wear.

Woody’s is arguably the most recognizable name in snowmobile traction products. Founded by James Musselman and Woody Kozlow back in the 1960s, the company has been heavily into racing from its inception. Based in Hope, Michigan, the Woody’s Race Program Coordinator is a guy named Rick Tiede. It’s not too many years ago Rick was racing Semi-Pro snocross, so he’s not some desk jockey who doesn’t know a stud from a roofing nail. Always smiling and always happy to talk to anyone who approaches him, Rick is also leading a groundswell of new support for the Soo I-500. We checked in with him to find out what you need to do to get sponsorship, why track patterns are important and why Woody’s is offering more support than ever. You came from the ranks of racers, what is it like being on the other side?
Rick Tiede: Absolutely awesome, I’ve grown up in the snowmobile industry and honestly there isn’t anywhere else I’d rather work. Coming from a racing background has definitely helped me better myself as a race director though; I know what it takes to make the relationship from sponsor to racer happen from both sides.

sR: Woody’s has been in the traction and snowmobile racing business a long time, does it ever get old for people in the company?
Tiede: Woody’s is a family-owned company that basically started in racing over 40 years ago. Everyone here is truly passionate about racing, and it shows as we have one of the largest most successful race programs in the industry.

Oval racer Malcolm Chartier is sponsored by Woody's.

sR: One race you’ve supported more as of late is the Soo I-500, why?
Tiede: We have always supported the Soo I-500; it’s honestly where the racing at Woody’s all started. The Musselman family grew up racing Enduros and Drags here in Michigan and did extremely well. There are a few old I-500 trophies floating around here at the office, but as far as the recent increase in added support – that has stemmed from everyone here wanting to help bring back the Soo back to the forefront of snowmobile racing and show how prestigious an event it really is. And its working!

sR: There is a ton more interest in that race in the past few years, why do you think it’s coming back?
Tiede: It’s a great race to showcase your products at, whether it’s the sled, fuel, oil, or traction products. Winning or making it through a grueling 500 laps on a track that gets to be pretty insane is definitely something to brag about.

sR: With the economy down, where do you see snowmobile racing going in the next few years?
Tiede: Of course, everyone had to tighten up the last few years with the big economic hit on the industry, but things have definitely been on a rise the past few years. We understand that its not just sponsors that have to tighten up but racers alike, so we have definitely been trying to do as much sponsorship as we can these past few years. From our end things should only continue to get better as the years roll on!

Tiede once raced for Scheuring Speed Sports. Once.

sR: I know you’re backing a Soo team and have put together a talented group of riders including guys like Justin Tate. Would you like to see racing move more toward what Tate is doing where a rider goes cross-country racing one weekend, races snocross the next and hits an enduro here and there? Or do you think snowmobile racing will remain a sport where riders specialize in one genre such as snocross?
Tiede: I would absolutely encourage racers to get on the multiple forms of racing kick. It allows the racer to get a taste of all forms of racing, broadens not only their knowledge of the sport but also allows them to get their sponsors in front of a variety of crowds and racers. If a guy like Tate can race snocross, cross-country, and oval enduros anyone can do it! Seriously though, we never know what’s going to happen in this industry so being able to adapt to all forms of racing just makes a racer that much more valuable to a sponsor. Levi LaVallee is another perfect example how a rider can diversify his program and make it successful.

sR: If I’m a racer, what is the best way to get support from Woody’s?
Tiede: We try to make it easy for both new and past sponsored riders to get a hold of me for sponsorship. You can do that by filling out our race application online at or give me a call at 989-689-4911.

sR: What are some things you look for when you consider sponsoring racers beyond a product or discount level?
Tiede: Every racer wants to be the “factory” guy for us at Woody’s, but the teams and racers that set themselves apart are the ones that go above and beyond putting a sticker on their truck, trailer, and sled. It’s the Steve Scheurings of the sport who get us involved with the Air Force or Makita and into the Power Tool shows across America. It’s the Levi LaVallees who have open door policies for fans that make him the “Fan Favorite” every year. It’s the 4-Time World Champions like PJ Wanderscheid. And it’s the guys that not only help sell Woody’s parts by doing all these things but the racers and teams like Tim Bender, Malcolm Chartier, or Craig Marchbank that have actually helped create, test and prove some of the best products we sell today.

Brian Dick used Woody's traction products to win the USCC Red Lake I-500 last year.

sR: What is something a racer should know about traction but probably doesn’t?
Tiede: The biggest thing that racers tend to overlook is their track patterns. Track patterns can truly make or break all forms of racing. We spend a ton of time creating different patterns for all forms of racing, from drag patterns with too many scratch lines to count, to oval sprint patterns that help riders to break the back end loose with controlled slip, all the way to balanced patterns for cross country races so when they get on the throttle coming out of a left or right hander they aren’t going to spin because we all know spin is just time wasted.

sR: What is the best part of your job?
Tiede: Best part of my job has to be getting on the road and attending every top snowmobile event in the country, from snow shows to the X Games. I’ve had the privilege of making what is most peoples joy and hobby a profession, you can’t beat hanging out and working side by side with some of the industry’s most influential people and getting paid for it! Also thanks to my job I’ve made some great friends all across the country.

Tiede dabbled in racing for a number of years. He says his racing experience plays in huge in his current position as Race Program Coordinator.

sR: Is there anything new we can we expect to see from Woody’s this year?
Tiede: R&D is one of the big factors that separate Woody’s from the rest of the snowmobile traction industry. We are always working on something new and improved, we definitely have some industry changing news to release this season but you’ll have to stay checked into the website and snowmobile events for that release. Also we have yet again came out with a really cool clothing line so be sure to check that out online, the new Woody’s Wear is top notch!

Fox Racing Shox Intelligent Ride Dynamics

Fox Racing Shox was showing off its Intelligent Ride Dynamics system at a bike show this past weekend. It uses an electronic shock pump that transmits air pressure, compression and rebound data wirelessly to your iPhone (or iPod Touch or iPad) via Bluetooth or Garmin via ANT+. Then you use Fox’s iRD app to dial in your suspension. The core of the system is Fox’s Smart Pump. Right now it’s just an in-house deal, so you can’t download the app or anything just yet. However, could this be the future of snowmobile suspension tuning?

News Rumors And Things To Think About 2.0

The Vet 30+ class at the ISOC Nationals is set to explode during the next few seasons. The class already boasts names such as Reimer, Tate, Schultz and Bauerly and this season T.J. Gulla and Robbie Malinoski are eligible to race it. Hard to believe, but next year Levi LaVallee will be eligible too.

Kody Kamm

Kody Kamm finished 29th in the 250 class at the Red Bud National in Buchanan, Michigan, this past July 2. The 17-year-old Polaris racer from Kenosha, Wisconsin, rides a Yamaha YZ250F and finished 24th and 28th in his two motos.

If you haven’t heard, Logan Christian messed up his knee racing the Canadian Nationals. He should be back ready to race Duluth.

Despite our predictions of a new buggy, sources are telling us Polaris does not have a new race chassis coming for the 2012 season. It’s amazing – they’re going on seven seasons with that buggy in an era when three years is a lifetime. We’ll predict a new chassis again next year because one of these years we’ll be right and then we’ll look like geniuses.

We got the scoop on the whole Jeff Goodwin deal. Goodwin and BRP parted ways back in May, leaving Marcel Imbault as interim Race Manager. We don’t want to air too much dirty laundry, all we’ll say is Goodwin was let go, he did not quit.

More on race sleds – Ski-Doo’s racer should be very similar to last years. Also, some may remember sledRacer revealed Cat would have a new race buggy based on the ProCross chassis. They were testing the sled at Ski Gull in Brainerd last Spring and out West this summer. While we’re still sure the sled will use the ProCross chassis, we found out that the new racer will look nothing like what the boys were shaking down at Ski Gull.

What will Johan Lidman's buggy look like in 2012?

If they’re not out already (and posted here on sledRacer) two major teams have or will announce big changes to rider and/or brand lineups.

It seems the Soo has been attracting a lot more attention in recent years. With the announcement of P.J. Wanderscheid and Gary Moyle riding for Cadarette Racing, add in guys like Gabe Bunke who will have two sleds again, DL Racing who will have two sleds with Justin Tate and Shane Felegy riding again, Corey Davidson and all the other Soo veterans and it should be one of the strongest fields seen in decades. And let’s not forget, last year Bryan Dyrdahl and D.J. Ekre nearly ran the Soo too. Hmm, 2012 may be a good year to take a little drive up to the UP!

Are you going to Arctic Cat’s 50th Anniversary Celebration at the end of the month? We are. SledRacer will be meetin’ and greetin’ probably on Saturday and I’ll be hangin’ at the USCC rig at some point during the day.

Wanderscheid and Moyle To Race Soo

Sauk Centre, MN (July 9, 2011) – AMSOIL/Arctic Cat’s PJ Wanderscheid has a new race on his schedule for the upcoming race season. It is one that will be much different than any other in his 11 year pro career.

PJ and fellow competitor Gary Moyle of Houghton, MI has struck a deal with 2010 Soo I-500 winning team owner, Greg Cadarette for the upcoming season. Wanderscheid and Moyle will pilot an Arctic Cat sled built buy Cadarette Racing out of Alpena, MI.

The Soo I-500 race is rich in history and is going on its 44th year and has been one of the “big races” to win for many years. The track is one mile in length and the race is 500 miles. It is truly a test of man and machine.

PJ had this to say about the news: “We are excited to finally get to race the Soo 500. This is a race we have talked about doing for a few years now but never has the opportunity to do it. Gary gave me a call this spring and asked if I was interested in running it. I said what the heck and it kind of went from there. I know Greg knows how to build a winning sled and both Gary and I will be in top shape for the event. I think we will have a good shot at winning it”.

The dates for the 2012 Soo I-500 are January 31-Febuary 4th.

2012 Soo I-500 Schedule

The Soo I-500 has published a 2012 schedule of events. Click over, then click the photo to make big.

Weather Channel To Feature Soo I-500

The legendary Soo I-500 will be featured on the Weather Channel this month.

I-500 will be featured on the Weather Channel

Air-date:       April  27, 2011

Air time:       6:00 PM EST

Feature:     I-500 Snowmobile Race   Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.

From the Soo’s Ric Federeau, I-500 Official Spokesperson and Co-Chairman:

The I-500 event will be featured on the international program segment (award winning ) ” Cantore’s Stories”. The I-500 event is the feature story and will show case the race, the city of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan and many other aspects of the event in general. This is certainly a honor and well deserved program. It’s nothing less then a 43 year tribute to a historically dedicated group of people.

It’s deserved recognition of the event and the industry of snowmobiling. It’s a display of the natural hospitality offered to anyone visiting the city of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. It’s simply a success story of a city, it’s people and a passion for volunteerism from people, businesses and organizations throughout the eastern U.P. region.

The I-500 is about to enjoy international recognition at a level conducive to that of NASCAR and other professional racing and sporting events. This program will be viewed by MILLIONS world wide! Viewing opportunities equal to that of world wide exposure ranging from Tour De-France, NASCAR, U.S. OPEN, French Open, and other World Class Professional events which have a direct tie to weather conditions that tie the bond between the event and the Weather Channel programs.

Every person who has volunteered to help make this event possible, every commercial business participant, the local government officials, Law enforcement agencies, Educational groups, and on and on, EVERYONE can take pride in knowing they were a part of this level of recognition the I-500 is finally going to receive.

The volunteer participation for this event over the past 43yrs. is nothing less then a success story in itself. It too should be a feature program.  What a wonderful thing to be able to say. The people of the eastern U.P. region, The people of the immediate SOO community, all commercial businesses, local clubs, parking crew, special interest groups and more deserve this opportunity to have their efforts recognized.



Bunke Racing Takes Four Podium Finishes At Warroad

Bobby Menne IV made his Pro debut at the Warroad 100 this past Sunday.

Fargo, N.D. (March 14, 2011) – It was a perfect way to wrap up the race season for the Bunke Racing team as they scored four podium finishes and two wins at the USCC Warroad 75 and Warroad 100 in Warroad, Minn., this past March 12-13. Both days featured a 13-mile course that consisted of field, treeline, lake and swamp. The course was tricky and became a mix of smooth sections, sharp-edged braking bumps and massive holes that made it challenging for racers.

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Fjerstad Racing Wraps Up Season

The Fjerstad Racing team made the trip to its last race of the season this past weekend, the Canadian Power Toboggan Championships in Beausejour, Manitoba. If you’re into ice racing and you’ve never made the trip to Beausejour you need to go. Andy Baker and the crew up there put together a top-notch event and it’s one of the best tracks in ice racing.

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DL Racing Soo Wrapup

Justin Tate on the DL Racing No 29 sled.

A little Soo recap put together by our friends from the DL Racing No. 29 team:

Time has come to give the world the insight of what went on for our team at the SOO I-500.

Things started off on a good note for the No. 29 DL Racing sled, qualifying set up was looking good, practice went well, and sled looked extremely fast through out the day. When it came time to lock in for Pole Position on Tuesday night we felt very confident with our set up. Shane was set to qualify the sled for us and Rich Felegy had the motor dialed in. We got a terrible draw in the order in which we got to qualify, way down at the bottom so we knew the rest of the field would have fresher ice than we did. We still had a great run and Shane did a fantastic job qualifying our (sorta) rookie sled in 7th right behind 2010 winner Troy DeWald.

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Soo Download

The DL Racing sled gets pushed through the rough stuff late in the day at the Soo.

The DL Racing/Tiede Motorsports team made a great run at winning the Soo I-500 but in the end a broken rod put them out of the race. Team owner Don LaBean isn’t new to the Soo and neither is Rick Tiede, but the team’s riders, Shane Felegy, Justin Tate and Joe Fjerstad were all new to the race. It was a wild week of racing and handling the learning curve the Soo throws at you, but the team came through it well and was competitive until they lost the engine with less than 100 laps to go. We sat down with rider Shane Felegy to get his thoughts on what went down at the race, here’s what he had to say about setups, enduros vs. ovals and if he’s going to come back.

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