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Remember When: October 1990

Even with all going on in our world today, it is still October and the leaves are turning and the temperatures are falling. Football is starting to return, and snowmobilers are starting to get that itch. So, let’s talk about 30 years ago, October 1990.

Wertz Warriors once again have proven successful! Fifty riders and their support crew garnered $265,000 to cover all on-site expenses for the 1990 Michigan Special Olympics. In addition, almost $100 was given to area programs statewide to support the local Special Olympics winter sports training and competition. (Note: In 2020, the Wertz Warriors are still going strong.)

Again, this past February, Cadillac hosted the legislators snowmobile ride. Each year, snowmobilers spend millions of dollars enjoying our sport and they come from Ohio and Indiana as well as lower Michigan. We want to show our state legislators just where our trail money goes. Senate Majority Leader John M. Engler, who was running for governor, as well as State Reps. Jan C. Dolan, Glen Oxender and Ted Williams were on hand after the ride at a reception held at McGuires Resort Center.

Solidarity of members is what the newly formed Michigan Snowmobile Drag Racing Association (MSDRA) was looking for when a special pre-season membership meeting was held in July. Nearly 100 drag racers made the trek to this special meeting, gathering from all over Michigan and other neighboring Midwest states as well as Canada with one purpose in mind: Solidarity.

Drag racing has become a very professional sport in the past few years and many racers and team owners felt it was now time for a racing association. Racers can drag race both summer and winter with the same intensity and competitiveness that has earned them their rough-and-ready reputation. Be it grass or snow, a drag racer has but one way to go — fasssssst.

Indian River has it all, with over 180 miles of groomed trails
Troy Pierce & Alan Haynes celebrate their Pro 200 win for Team Dog Patch.

Indian River has it all! Just minutes from I-75 Exit 313 is a snowmobiler’s paradise with access to more than 180 miles of groomed snowmobile trails through beautiful woodlands with breathtaking sights. Trails are easily accessible from most motels. Just 1 mile south of town, the Krosswinds K.O.A. has just been opened for the winter season, with 58 pull-through sites for winter available.

The 3rd annual Boyne Country Snowmobile Rally has joined with the American Cancer Society to add an approximately 200-mile snowmobile tour (Rally Run 200) as a pledge fundraiser with proceeds to fight cancer. Snowmobilers of all ages were invited to ride and encouraged to line up sponsors now and join the fun.

Participating businesses in 14 communities throughout Michigan’s northwest lower peninsula will be among the stops to complete the run. Riders can complete the circuit at their own pace anytime during the week. In addition to the fine trail system, Boyne country is a snowmobiler’s delight.

The Munising Pro 200 Enduro Snowmobile Championship was held this past March on Munising Lake. Wet and wild aptly describes the weekend. The first annual Pro 200 Grand Island Enduro Snowmobile Championship was certainly something different, especially to MIRA racers who have grown accustomed to racing on half-mile to 1-mile oval tracks. The LeMans-style racecourse certainly tested both machine and driver as they sailed at speeds approaching 100 miles an hour around the slush-drenched course amid a driving rain.

Newly form MSDRA first group photo
Jim McGuire welcomes Senator John Engler who is running for Governor, found out just what snowmobiling does for Northern Michigan Economy.

The race was originally slated to be a 200-mile, 50-lap event but was cut to 100 miles and 25 laps because of deteriorating conditions prior to Sunday’s pro enduro. The track was worked on the evening prior to the race and in the morning when the rains came in. The race happened because, after all, enduro racers are rough-and-ready kind of guys anyway. Just a little ice beneath their sleds and they are ready to go racing. With more than 3,500 enthusiastic race fans on hand, the race must go on.

The Williams-Benner Top Gun Racing Team, with drivers Jeff Kipfmiller and Rick Zudell, got off to a flying start, taking the lead for the first two laps of racing, but it was not meant to last. According to Kipfmiller, the radiator hose came off his motor because the hose clamp wasn’t tight enough and he was stranded on the backside of the track. Realizing he had to keep fluid in the radiator until he could bring it back to the pits for repair, he looked around and noticed a spectator standing near the edge of the track drinking a beer, so he ran over and grabbed the beer out of his hand, saying, “I need this!” The man didn’t know what to think, but assumed Jeff was broke down and just need a brew, so he let him have it. The team finished ninth. Hooray for the beer.

Troy Pierce and Alan Haynes, drivers for the Dogpatch Team 2, took top honors of the day. Plans are under way for next year’s event.

Sure, we still have racing like we did back then.

Yamaha ad, when we used pretty ladies to advertise our sleds.
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