Winnipeg to St.Paul
This is Pat Mach, fearless leader of the United States Cross-Country (USCC) and in many ways the savior of snowmobiling’s purest form of racing.
As organizers of the I-500 snowmobile race since 2003, USCC has provided the most important single XC race consisting of loops with the start/finish at the 7 Clans Casino in Thief River Falls. It’s proven to be an affordable and manageable means of racing 500 miles over three days.
But Mach is also an old-schooler, having raced XC himself and grown up enamored with point-to-point races like the old Winnipeg, and he too knows there’s something magical about 500 miles from Winnipeg to the Twin Cities.
What’s especially interesting about this photo (besides Mach’s million-dollar mug) is that laid out in front of him is a series of maps. Drawn on these maps is a route that starts in Winnipeg and finishes near the Twin Cities.
Yep, my pulse just bumped up a few beats too.
With 2012 marking what will be the 40th edition of this most amazing of all snowmobile races, Mach has made it his goal to embrace the headaches, sleepless nights, brick walls and immense challenge of racing from Winnipeg to the Twin Cities, and deliver this historical opportunity.
There is NOTHING that matches the rugged romance of cross-country snowmobile racing quite like the Winnipeg I-500. If Mach pulls this off for 2012, it will be monumental.
And you KNOW Team Arctic will be there in full-force and chomping at the bit to win this most important race.
Photo of Brian Nelson at the 1978 I-500 (which he won) from the C.J. Ramstad Archives