The excitement and spectacle of snowmobile drag racing is coming to southwest Saskatchewan with a two-day event for vintage and modern snowmobiles at Wymark.
The inaugural Wymark snowmobile drag races will take place on Jan. 25 and 26 to raise funds for the local rink.
Clay Gross, one of the event organizers, has been a long-time snowmobile racing enthusiast.
“Myself and a few others in the community have raced at different venues and places, and we thought it would be a good fundraiser for our local rink in Wymark,” he said. “So all proceeds from these races are going to the Wymark rink.”
The event is hosted by the Wymark Athletic Association in conjunction with the Saskatchewan Vintage Snowmobile Association (SVSA).
“I've been wanting to do this for a while, but it wasn't until a year ago when I joined the rink board and they said what do you guys have as ideas for fundraisers,” he recalled. “I said I got a few ideas, and this is one of them. We're hoping to raise some good money for the rink and we're trying to keep that place open.”
Funds raised from the snowmobile drag races will be used for the general upkeep of the rink, which is the hub of community events.
“The rink is pretty well all we have in Wymark for community get-togethers,” he said. “There's been weddings in there, reunions and of course it is open during the winter for skating and we usually have some suppers there for the community as well.”
The first day of the drag races will be a SVSA sanctioned racing event for vintage snowmobiles. The Wymark race is a new addition to the SVSA racing calendar, and also the first race of the season. Five other vintage drag races will take place at Earl Grey, Nipawin, Foam Lake, Plunkett, and Prince Albert.
“Vintage snowmobile drag racing started in Saskatchewan about 25 years ago,” he said. “Vintage racing is limited to snowmobiles of 1981 model years and earlier with relic classes limited to 1973 and earlier.”
There will be 27 racing classes for the different stock and modified vintage sleds, and the number of entries in each class will determine how many heat races there will be during the day.
“Most venues typically see 100 to 125 sleds entered and it will take over 200 heats to decide all the winners,” he said.
The second day of racing will be open to old and new snowmobiles. There will be over 20 racing classes for stock and modified sleds. The performance of some older sleds against newer snowmobiles might come as a surprise to spectators.
“Some of these old sleds on Sunday are going to keep everybody on their toes, because they will keep up to some of the new ones,” he said.
Racers will be coming from across the province and elsewhere, and Gross already had phone calls from people in Montana, North Dakota, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
The two days of racing of will provide an interesting opportunity for spectators to get a closer look at a large variety of sleds from various decades.
“Some of the older sleds that come out are from about 1967 or 1968, when snowmobiling first became popular and you started to see mass production,” he said. “The newest ones they'll see over the weekend, because Sunday all sleds are welcome, will be right up to 2020 or 2019 sleds. So there's going to be lots of snowmobiles that people have seen in their childhood or past, and they won't believe that these machines are still going.”
The race track is located one kilometre east of Wymark on Highway No. 379. It is situated behind the premises of Black Diamond Service, a business owned and operated by Gross. He has been busy preparing the 660 feet track with four racing lanes for some time.
“I started packing the track about a month and a half ago,” he said. “The track was packed with a land roller and a tractor. It's a nice hard, flat surface and the snow has been holding up quite well.”
Spectators will be allowed to line up along the west side of the track in their vehicles to view the racing from the warmth and comfort of their vehicles. There will be no formal seating and spectators will have to bring their own chairs if they want to sit outside their vehicles. There will be a concession at the track.
Admission will be $10 per person, and children 10 and under are free. All minors must be accompanied by an adult. Racing on both days will start at 11:30 a.m.
Pre-registration for both race days will take place on Friday night, Jan. 24, from 7-10 p.m. at Black Diamond Service. There will also be registration on the morning of both race days, Jan. 25 and 26, from 8:30-10:30 a.m.
At the end of racing on day one there will be a banquet and trophy presentation at Wymark rink. Tickets for the banquet will be on sale at the race on Jan. 25.
There will be cash payouts for the different racing classes on the second day of racing, Jan. 26. Cash payouts for first and second places will be determined by the number of entries in each racing class. The cash payouts to winners will take place during an awards presentation after the races at the Wymark rink.
For any enquiries about the Wymark snowmobile drag races, contact Clay Gross at 306-741-2133 or Rhett Grose at 306-741-6050.