World Championship Snowmobile Derby

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Frontstretch (in summer)

The World Championship Snowmobile Derby is the World championship snowmobile race. It is held at the Eagle River Derby Track along U.S. Route 45 in Eagle River, Wisconsin on the third weekend in January. Eagle River is known as the "Snowmobile Capital of the World" because it hosts the Derby.[1] Eagle River is located in the same county as Sayner, Wisconsin, the place that Carl Eliason invented one of the first modern snowmobiles.[2]

History[edit]

The first event was held in 1964. The event was founded by innkeeper John Alward, his wife Betty, and their friend Walter Goldsworthy.[3] Alward's son Jake said "We had a couple of snowmobiles in the garage, and Dad figured more than a few other people did, too. He decided to have a rally."[3] The event was a cross country race run on and around Dollar Lake.[3] Many snowmobiles were unable to climb a small hill. The first winner was an eighth grade student named Stan Hayes, who won the marquee race in a 9 horsepower sled.[3] The Alward's held the race at their inn in 1965 before passing it on to the Eagle River Lions Club. The Lions Club trademarked the term "World Championship Snowmobile Derby".[3]

The 1968 derby was broadcast on ABC's Wide World of Sports. Numerous guests attended the event, including Bart Starr, Ray Nitschke and Fuzzy Thurston from the Super Bowl II Green Bay Packers championship team. The track was reconfigured to a 0.5 mile high banked oval in 1974.

The current event features 1400+ entrants racing snocross or on the oval track in vintage and modern snowmobiles.[4] 30,000 spectators frequently attend the event.[4]

Qualifying[edit]

Media tower

The riders with the sixteen fastest qualifying speeds during the Thursday night qualifying race in two heats on Friday night. The top five finishers in the two heats advance to a qualifying race. The top finisher in the ten competitor qualifying race starts on the pole position for the world championship feature on Sunday. The other nine competitors keep their seed for in a series of heat races, quarterfinals, semi-finals and consolation races to qualify for the Sunday world championship event.[5]

Winners[edit]

Gary Moyle

P. J. Wanderscheid is the only rider to win four world championships (2002, 2003, 2006, 2011). Two drivers won the championship three times Jacques Villeneuve (1980, 1982, 1986) and Dave Wahl (1990, 1996, 1997). The two time winners are Steve Ave (1966, 1968), Mike Trapp (1971, 1972), Steve Thorsen (1977, 1978), Brad Hulings (1981, 1983), Dale Loritz (1994, 1995), Mike Houle (1999, 2000), Gary Moyle (2005, 2007), and Brian Bewcyk (2008, 2009).

  • 2014 Malcom Chartier [6]
  • 2013 Malcom Chartier (50th anniversary)[7]
  • 2012 Nick Van Strydonk[8]
  • 2011 P.J. Wanderscheid[9]
  • 2010 Matt Schulz[10]
  • 2009 Brian Bewcyk(ski doo)
  • 2008 Brian Bewcyk(ski doo)
  • 2007 Gary Moyle[11](arctic cat)
  • 2006 P. J. Wanderscheid[12](arctic cat)
  • 2005 Gary Moyle(arctic cat)
  • 2004 Larry Day (arctic cat)
  • 2003 P. J. Wanderscheid(arctic cat)
  • 2002 P. J. Wanderscheid(arctic cat)
  • 2001 Jeremy Johnston(ski doo)
  • 2000 Mike Houle(ski doo)
  • 1999 Mike Houle(ski doo)
  • 1998 Terry Wahl(ski doo)
  • 1997 Dave Wahl(ski doo)
  • 1996 Dave Wahl(ski doo)
  • 1995 Dale Loritz(ski doo)
  • 1994 Dale Loritz(ski doo)
  • 1993 Al Fenhaus(ski doo)
  • 1992 Gary Vessair(ski doo)
  • 1991 Greg Goodwin(ski doo)
  • 1990 Dave Wahl(ski doo)
  • 1989 Bruce Vessair(ski doo)
  • 1988 Bobby Donahue(ski doo)
  • 1987 Chuck Decker(ski doo)
  • 1986 Jacques Villeneuve(ski doo)
  • 1985 Michael Gingras(ski doo)
  • 1984 Jim Dimmerman(arctic cat)
  • 1983 Brad Hulings(ski doo)
  • 1982 Jacques Villeneuve(ski doo)
  • 1981 Brad Hulings(scorpion)
  • 1980 Jacques Villeneuve(ski doo)
  • 1979 Bobby Elsner(arctic cat)
  • 1978 Steve Thorsen(polaris)
  • 1977 Steve Thorsen(polaris)
  • 1976 Ed Schubitzke(yamaha)
  • 1975 Jim Bernat(polaris)
  • 1974 Gilles Villeneuve(alouette)
  • 1973 Bob Eastman(polaris)
  • 1972 Mike Trapp(yamaha)
  • 1971 Mike Trapp(yamaha)
  • 1970 Yvon Duhamel(ski doo)
  • 1969 Roger Janssen(arctic cat)
  • 1968 Steve Ave(ski doo)
  • 1967 Duane Frandsen(ski doo)
  • 1966 Steve Ave(ski doo)
  • 1965 George Gensler(evinrude)
  • 1964 Stan Hayes(polaris)

Winning Makes[edit]

  • SKI DOO 26 +
  • ARCTIC CAT 9
  • POLARIS 4
  • YAMAHA 3
  • ALOUETTE 1
  • SCORPION 1
  • EVINRUDE 1

+from 1982 until the late 1990s, Ski-Doo was the only manufacturer making machines specifically for oval ice racing

Additional resources[edit]

  • Of Ice and Engines (book), chronicles the first 25 years of the Derby
  • Decades Of The Derby (video), chronicles the first 40 years of the Derby

References[edit]

  1. ^ Eagle River, Wisconsin, Retrieved November 25, 2007
  2. ^ Sayner, Wisconsin, roadsideamerica.com; Retrieved November 18, 2007
  3. ^ a b c d e Snowmobiles Keep Coming Though the Ice Is Melting; New York Times; Joe Drape; January 15, 2006, Retrieved November 19, 2007
  4. ^ a b World Championship Snowmobile Derby, travelwisconsin, Retrieved November 24, 2007
  5. ^ "Sweet Sixteen Pole Position" To Run During Parts Unlimited Friday Night Thunder; SnoWest magazine; November 2, 2007, Retrieved November 24, 2007
  6. ^ http://www.jsonline.com/sports/malcolm-chartier-wins-at-eagle-river-b99187345z1-241115481.html
  7. ^ Shepherd, Shannon. "Chartier Wins 50th World Championship Snowmobile Derby". WSAW-TV. Retrieved January 22, 2013. 
  8. ^ "49th World Championship Snowmobile Derby Results". WSAW-TV. Retrieved December 17, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Wanderscheid races into history in Eagle River". WJFW. Retrieved December 17, 2012. 
  10. ^ "World Champion Snowmobile Drivers Signing Autographs". State Park Speedway. Retrieved 1 July 2010. 
  11. ^ 2007 Results; AMS Oil Action News; March 2007; Page 14; Retrieved November 20, 2007
  12. ^ Wanderscheld wins Eagle River Derby; January 15, 2005, American Snowmobiler Magazine, Retrieved November 20, 2007

External links[edit]