ERX gets its chance & delivers

by Bruce Strand
Sports editor

Elk River’s Extreme Motorpark (ERX) had its chance to join the list of hosts for the International Series of Champions (ISOC) event last weekend and from all reports came through with flying colors.

Drivers had good things to say about the track – mainly about the amount of snow, the many turns and ample room to race (see story) – in ERX’s inaugural ISOC event, and the event drew very well. Katie Shatusky, the track’s media director, said  “for sure 6,000 people over the course of the weekend.  Roughly 2,000 on Friday and 4,500 on Saturday, but those are rough numbers. “

ERX thus joined, as an ISOC host, such venues as Spirit Mountain in Duluth, a

Tucker Hibbert, above, six-time national pro champion and two-time FIM world champion, was one of the snocross luminaries the crowds came to see. He’s an Arctic Cat driver from Pelican Rapids. Photo by Dave Moquin

huge facility that’s a favorite for snocross racers; the Pontiac Silverdome in Michigan, former home of the Detroit Lions; Canterbury Park in Shakopee and Hayward National in Wisconsin; a horse racing track in New York State and an auto racing track in Fargo; and next week’s venue, Lake Geneva,  Wis., renowned skiing and golfing resort that’s always the concluding event on the circuit capped by the ISOC banquet.

John Daniels, head of ISOC, operates Long Haul Trucking of Albertville, and was well aware of what ERX has to offer. It was Daniels who offered Carlson and Plaisted a shot at hosting an event.

“One plus is that we already make our own snow,” said ERX co-owner Todd Plaisted, “unlike at, say, Canterbury, where ISOC has to go in a week or two in advance and make the snow and set up the track.”

Pro drivers Paul Bauerly (Ski-Doo), Dan Ebert (green Arctic Cat), Bobby LePage (Mystic Polaris) and Johan Lidman (Polaris) bounce around a turn at ERX during heat races last Saturday. Photo by Bruce Strand

Plaisted said it was “very exciting” to have the opportunity, and the staff worked hard to get everything ready, in conjunction with ISOC, which is in charge of setting up the track. ERX, a 24-acre facility, rented an extra 10 to 15 acres of adjacent land for parking. They brought in five portable grandstands in addition to their permanent stands.

“We were very pleased. Attendance exceeded our expectations,”  said Plaisted.

“We learned a lot and we are already looking forward to next year. The ISOC people were saying ‘next year,’ a lot, like, ‘We’ll put some more bleachers there next year.’ “