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Return to the Winnipeg to St. Paul I-500

Pat Mach from USCC and the Winnipeg maps

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.

Stay tuned.

Brian Nelson at the 1978 Winnipeg I-500

Photo of Brian Nelson at the 1978 I-500 (which he won) from the C.J. Ramstad Archives

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21 COMMENTS

  1. Wow,
    running that race, along that historic route would be huge. Doubt that I could be a competitor but would love to at least be an observer! I hope that can come together, good luck!

  2. MERCY!!! I may not sleep well tonight! That would be about as cool as it gets. I have yet to talk to a single person who raced the Winnipeg back in the day who doesn’t seem to count it among the most memorable experiences in their life… even the spectators remember it like it was yesterday. Plus if that picture of Brian Nelson on the starting line doesn’t get your blood pumping, you may want to make sure you indeed still have a pulse! Let’s just say I really hope this works out.

  3. I’m in! Does anyone know how I can get ahold of Joey Hallstrom, I need to line up a Jag Z Special. Nevermind, I just got the ol’ Trailcat running again.

    Seriously, this would be AWESOME!

  4. Hi John,this sounds great.The I-500 is why I started racing.I watched it go by when I was very young,and I was hooked.I ran it twice in the early 90’s.Then concentrated on MRP and never ran it again.If that comes about I will run it.Time to start training to try to be the fastest 40+ rider.I hope to see you there,I know I have some work to do if you are.Take care Bob.

  5. Awesome to hear from you, Bob! Would be great to see you again…especially if it was racing together at the I-500. Don’t worry about being the fastest (which you would be naturally), just treat it like a fast trail ride w/friends and you will finish WAY high.

  6. I can hear the not so famous theme song from the early days of the race… “Winnipeg Manitoba… St. Paul, Minnesota…” I got to dig out that video tape. It’s a classic!

  7. “Winnipeg, Manitoba,….to St. Paul, Minnesota. Four days to St. Paul” Great lyrics, from Danny Peil, I believe, and used on the promo film from Polaris.

  8. I just saw U-Motors in Fargo has a 1993 Jag Z for sale.I saw it in the keep it local magazine.They are a little high on the price $1200,but I thought I would let you know.

  9. Ive heard rumors that this might be a vintage sled. event… Not really a race per say till the photo op at the end.. Has there been any movement on getting this set up?

  10. Brian also won in 76 riding a JD Liqiudator. A “tank” compared to the Cat. The team I was on from CB & C of Cuba City competed in 75 & 76. A great adventure….Arnie

  11. I never thought that an old school race would ever happen again in this country being old enough to remember my dad racing in the 60’s and 70’s but to young to have my shot at it when the word liability ended the great cross country events,if they can pull this off I will be there and I ain’t watching.Hopefully it won’t just be an old can event the modern sleds are absolutely built for this kind of race.Well good luck and if it happens make sure it is widely advertised it will be the largest rider turn out ever on this side of the border.Kind of wonder though how they will handle border crossings in this modern world might need three days just for that.

  12. The Winnipeg – St. Paul I-500 was originally ran 15 years, from 1966-’80. Does anyone know where I might obtain a list of all starters and finishers for every year, machine brands they rode, and finishing times?
    Also, I am looking for a Polaris that actually ran this race. Anyone know where there is one for sale?

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