MONTCALM TOWNSHIP — The heat on Saturday didn’t keep snowmobile racing from going on north of Greenville.
Sno-Motion at Nelson’s Speed Shop was packed with racing participants, spectators and vendors from all over the country. An event this size could not take place without the help of the many volunteers from the Michigan Snowmobile Association (MSA).
“Everybody here in the orange shirts working the swap meet, parking and security are our volunteers,” MSA President Bruce Wood said. “They come from all over the state and between the 40 volunteers it is a broad representation of our state.”
The two-day event usually has its biggest crowds on Saturday.
“It was a typical Friday,” Wood said. “The people come in get their bargains on oil and other deals and go. But Saturday is the big crowd draw with all the events going on.”
Owner Jack Nelson agreed that Friday was a little slower but Saturday was going along as planned despite the heat.
“It was a little slower and we knew that it would be since it was Friday,” Nelson said. “But with so much happening (Saturday) a lot of them that would have come in Friday are here today.”
Saturday attracted more spectators because of the entire list of events going on.
“The crowds are definitely rolling in today,” Nelson said. “They are here to see the lawnmower tractor race, the drag races, the freestyle and the monster truck show.”
Nelson was hopeful despite the heat and other factors that Sno-Motion would be a success.
“We are very fortunate considering that everybody thought we were all down and out after the (June 22) fire (that destroyed Nelson’s Speed Shop),” Nelson said. “There were a lot of people that thought we couldn’t pull the race off or do any of it. I can’t tell you the number of people that said they were surprised and so glad that we are putting it on and that it is here. The feedback has been very positive and we have a lot of support.”
Lakeview resident Mark Halm, owner of Halm Racing, was keeping his machine cool while waiting to race in the grass drag race championships.
“I am saving my sled because of the heat,” Halm said. “I did my practicing yesterday so today I am ready to rock.”
Halm expects to win his race by keeping his sled cool.
“They are so hard to cool down once they get hot,” Halm said. “My sled is ready to start up and go out there and win.”
Pro class racer Mike Bauer of Owen, Wis., has been racing for nine years.
“I’ve been racing here now for four years,” Bauer said. “It is quite the event.”
After Bauer got word about the fire earlier this summer he was glad to hear that Sno-Motion was going on.
“Well, Jack said it was still going to be on,” Bauer said. “We showed up and it is going to be fun.”
Other racers too were happy that Sno-Motion was happening this year.
“Well, I kind of thought he would still have the event,” said Sault Ste. Marie resident Rachelle Fountain. “It would have been a shame if he didn’t do it this year.”
Fountain, 17, is racing in the snow cross for her third year.
“It is definitely different racing in the summer,” Fountain said. “But I have a lot of fun here.”
Cody Wolf of Mukwonago, Wis., is happy he can race in August.
“I think it is awesome we can do this in 90-degree weather,” Wolf said.
However, he doesn’t expect much snow left and is concerned about the heat on his sled.
“I’m here to ride my snowmobile in the dirt,” Wolf said. “With this heat it is hard on the sled and I hope mine doesn’t blow up.”
Durand resident Zak Gentze was racing his second year at Sno-Motion.
“Snow or no snow,” Gentze said. “I am ready to go stupid fast today. Looking forward to hit some great jumps and make the sled fly.”