Pro Vintage snowmobile racing to begin


December 27, 2019

Tom LaVenture/Daily Globe

A tracked vehicle driver plows snow on the inside of the oval track at the Gogebic County Fairground on Thursday. The track is being turned to ice for two weekends of snowmobile racing for the Ironwood Snowmobile Olympus.


Ironwood - The Ironwood Snowmobile Olympus will be held over the next two weekends with the oval ice racing at the Gogebic County Fairgrounds, 648 West Cloverland Drive.

The Pro Vintage Racing will be held this Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. There are 39 vintage class races that run the gamut of super stock, super modified, IFS single track suspension and other categories for older machines.

The snowmobiles are pre-1985 but many will run over 100 mph, said Jim Gribble, chairman of the Friends of the Gogebic County Fair, the nonprofit organization that organizes the Olympus.

"There are stock classes and modified classes," Gribble said. "There will be close to 85 to 100 different riders and their entourage," Gribble said.

The Olympus is popular with riders who are already in northern Wisconsin to compete for the World Championship Snowmobile Derby in Eagle River. There are riders coming from all over the country and from Canada for a tuneup run before the big race in January.

"They like to come here first and shake down their sleds and make sure everything is running good," Gribble said.

The bulk of the riders are not professional snowmobile racers, he said. They are racing for trophies and points and are out there to have some fun, he said.

"We just hope that everybody turns out to support the Snowmobile Olympus and know that they are indirectly supporting the fairgrounds," Gribble said. "It's fun watching those fast sleds go around the curves."

The Olympus is a weather sensitive event, he said. There are more fans when it's warm but the colder it is the better for the snowmobiles racing on a half-mile ice oval, he said.

"It's supposed to be below freezing for Saturday so that will be good," Gribble said.

Fans can watch from the bleachers or from the heated multipurpose building where food concessions, a full bar, restrooms and vendors will be set up.

The Pro Vintage Race will be held Jan. 5-6, 2020. The United States Snowmobile Association sanctioned race will attract some of the country's most elite ice oval drivers.

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