Changing track to test snocrossers

TED WYMAN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 1:28 PM ET

The stars will shine brightest later in the day today and tomorrow in World PowerSports Snocross races at CanWest Global Park.

That's when the freshly constructed track will start to wear down, and that's when the top racers will start to gain an advantage.

"The best way to describe snocross racing is it's motocross racing on snow," said race director Blair Bodley. "The only difference is here the jumps get worn out, and what's a jump at the beginning of the day isn't a jump later. The track changes all the time.

"That's what really starts separating the good drivers from the also-rans -- the ability to read the changing track conditions."

TEAR UP THE TRACK

Ross Martin of Pleasant Prairie, Wis., is the current leader in the WPSA points standings, and he is expected to tear up the track again this weekend.

"He is dominating," Bodley said. "In the last couple of races, he's been getting out front and staying out front the whole time. Robbie Malinoski (of Humboldt, Sask.) is coming on really strong, and Blair Morgan (of Prince Albert, Sask.) is coming back strong from his injury, but Ross Martin has certainly been the man to beat lately."

Malinoski is second in the tour point standings, while Morgan, a local favourite, is eighth.

Other racers to watch this week include T.J. Gulla from Colchester, Vt., and Steve Martin from Evanston, Wy.

"This tour has the best snocrossers in the world," said Bodley. "Our semi-pro class is really strong ... it's probably what our pro class was eight years ago. The calibre of the riders has improved so much over the last few years."

While tickets are still available for the snowmobile races, they could go quickly today if the weather co-operates. The forecast for the weekend is for plenty of sunshine with day-time temperatures between -10 and -14 C.

The event attracted 8,700 fans at Assiniboia Downs last year and 10,000 the year before that.

Racing runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, and tickets are available at Ticketmaster. Tomorrow's races will be televised in the United States on ESPN2.


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