SALAMANCA – Friday and Saturday, the lot that sits to the west of the Seneca Allegany Casino will be transformed into a series of hills, jumps and launches.
But there will be no skiers making their way south from Ellicottville to enjoy them. Those obstacles will be used by snowmobiles with some impressive power.
The AMSOIL Snocross Series will be making a stop in Salamanca once again.
“We will start to look for sites as early as April,” said Carl Schubitzke, president of the International Series and race director. “If you drive by the race site as early as a month before, you’ll see our snowmakers on scene to make sure we are able to have plenty of snow for the event.”
Those big snow guns shower the area with snow to create a track that is designed to challenge the world’s best riders.
At first glance, it would appear that such a task would take several weeks. Schubitzke said the transformation is actually very quick.
“We will have 15 people there on the Monday prior to the event,” he said. “They will have a three-day window to get the whole thing ready for the event.”
Those 15 people forge hills and jumps 80 feet long, some 20 feet high, all solid and ready to support some of the most powerful snowmobiles in the world. The machines have been built much like race cars, to a specific size, weight and comfort level for the individual riders.
Schubitzke said that many of the classes are very similar to the ones recreational snowmobilers ride, like the younger riders who will be on 120cc machines. But as you move up to the 600cc class, the pro riders, you’ll be able to hear the difference in the sleds.
Schubitzke, a former racer, said he gets the urge to climb on a sled and hit a track from time to time. He stepped away from competing five years ago when he was asked to take the race director position.
“These guys work hard, 24/7, to shave just a half-second off their time,” he said. “I haven’t really ridden in a long time. When I get to the site, I often will find myself on the ski slopes instead.”
The event, as Schubitzke describes it, is not just the races. For families, there will be demonstrations, vendors and other activities.
He said he wants to make the event an affordable entertainment experience that people will tell others to check out.
The races at Seneca Allegany Casino will be recorded for broadcast by CBS Sports at 10 a.m. on Feb. 23 and March 2.
For tickets, go to www.isocracing.com/national/tickets.