Snowmobile racing championships are held for adult and youth drivers. There are different types of races like the drag race, snowcross, oval race, water skipping and cross-country racing. A racing event consists of multiple qualifying rounds, semifinals (heat races) and finals (feature). Entrants in a race are classified based on their age and the class of the snowmobile they ride. Some categories only allow snowmobiles with stock components while others may permit limited modification. The governing body decides the participating age for each event. All snowmobile racing events have a set of rules. The race may be between individuals or teams comprising of multiple drivers. Majority of international snowmobile racing championships are organized during the months of winter.
Snowcross snowmobile racing is similar to motocross and the most popular one. The entrants compete on an ice track that involves banked corners and sharp turns. The riders travel at speeds easily over 50 mph and jump 20 to 30 feet in the air while racing along the course. The rider who finishes first is adjudged as the winner. Safety precautions are of utmost importance while competing in these events and the driver is required to wear braces and guards on almost every part of the body. Some of the popular snowcross events include the World Championship Snowmobile Derby, AMSOIL Snocross National, and the X Games.
Another popular snowmobile racing type is hill climbing. The event requires the drivers to climb a slope while following a predetermined trail. The driver that crosses the finish line first or in the least time is the winner. The race trail features various elevation changes, has multiple obstacles and twists and turns to test snowmobile rider’s skillset comprehensively. Climbing a mountain slope on a snowmobile is a challenging task and requires the right skill and expertise with years of practice. The Eagle Point Hill Climb held at Beaver and the World Championship Snowmobile Hill Climb t held at Jackson are hill climbing events.
Besides being driven on ice and ground, snowmobiles can also go over water. Ridding a snowmobile over water requires the snowmobile to travel at a minimum speed which allows it to hydroplane. Snowmobile racing over water is known as water skipping. The riders are required to complete the course and the one that takes the shortest time wins. The water skipping event may consist of a drag race, an oval lap race or combination of different races. It is a challenging sport as reducing the throttle of the snowmobile will sink it. It is also known as watercross, water skimming, and puddle jumping. The World Championship Snowmobile Watercross is held in Wisconsin every year.
Lap racing is one of the oldest snowmobile racing events. An oval track which is one mile long is used to hold the race. The competing drivers have to complete multiple laps of the track. The team or individual who completes the laps in minimum time is declared the winner. The number of laps that a team may be required to complete depends on the competition. The International 500 is one such event that requires the teams to make 500 laps of the one-mile track. It lasts for about eight hours. TLR Cup Tour is another oval racing championship.
Drag Racing is one of the most popular snowmobile racing events. A two or four-laned ice or grass track is used for drag racing. The length of the track is 500ft. Snowmobile riders travel from start to finish point and compete to finish first. The drag race may consist of multiple rounds. The winner is the racer who takes minimum time. There are various drag racing categories at each event. There are international events centered around each of these. Hay Days is a drag racing event of snowmobiles.
Cross Country Racing
Cross Country events are the most challenging ones in the world of snowmobile racing. The events require participants to race over hundreds or thousands of miles on their snowmobiles across different parts of a state. Teams of two or more riders compete in cross country races. The events last for multiple days. The competing teams are provided adequate breaks in between. Cross country races test the physical and mental endurance of the participants. Iron Dog is a cross-country snowmobile racing event that requires participants to cover 2,031 miles across the state of Alaska.