Call it lake racing, call it ice lemans or just call it racing; no matter the name, it used to be a staple in cross-country snowmobile racing. But with big bump snocross dominating the competitive landscape for the past decade, pure ice racing has become something of a lost art. With race now mostly designed to tackle 5-foot craters and 60-foot doubles, transforming these machines into adept ice carvers is no easy task. Fortunately for FOX Technician Rick Strobel, this isn’t his first time at the “rodeo” and he dug deep into his bag of tricks and drew on experience gained racing on frozen lakes back in the 1990s. The result? A FOX sweep of the Pro podiums at the USXC cross-country snowmobile racing season opener on Pine Lake in Gonvick, Minnesota.
FOX athlete Ryan Simons took wins in both Pro classes while Zach Herfindahl and Brian Dick swapped second and third spots on the podium beside Simons. In fact, all through the results FOX took top spots on the podium, showing the shock’s versatility by adapting from handling the big bump punishment of snocross to the more subtle nuances of handling and speed on ice.
“The number one thing we’re trying to do when setting up for the ice is to get the sled as low as possible,” said FOX Racing Manger Rick Strobel. “We shorten the shocks to give the vehicle a better center of gravity, but we also want to keep the shock compliant so the vehicle doesn’t get upset in the bumps that form in the ice during race day.”
No Bag of Tricks or Experience…No Problem
With most factory race sleds and even performance trail sleds for that matter, coming equipped with big bump compliant suspension settings, what’s a racer to do with ice racing on the brain? Just like they do for the top snocross teams in the world, the crew from FOX is ready to serve. While some of the big teams will pay a personal visit to the FOX Baxter, Minnesota location, most simply ship their components to the FOX Technicians along with a completed online service form. The form asks for a lot of details and according to Strobel, the more information you give the more acutely tuned your shocks will be for you, your sled, and the terrain.
“When the shocks arrive at our facility, we review the form and get in contact with you so we are on the same page, and make sure we are tuning the shocks to best me your needs.”
Turnaround typically takes 2-3 days, and most folks will see their shocks on their doorstep in less than a work week. Keep in mind, this service isn’t just for ice racing or snocross, FOX technicians have the experience to set-up shocks for mountain riding, hill climbing, boon-docking, trailing riding, even for the family looking for all-day comfort in the saddle. Truth is, it really doesn’t matter how or what you ride…if its FOX equipped, the FOX factory technicians are there for you. The best part? These are the same guys and girls that service the shocks of top Pros in all types of racing including snowmobiles, ATVs, dirt bikes, UTVs, mountain bikes and off-road trucks.