The International Series of Champions (ISOC) will give sno-cross racers a fresh start this winter and likely more riding seasons to come, officials say.
To achieve a strong sno-cross community, ISOC plans to take a different approach than other associations have in years past.
Previous series left some riders unable to keep up with gas and hotel costs and entry fees, says Andy Groebner, marketing director of ISOC. So Groebner says the new organization plans to increase the payouts, which founder John Daniels did in the 1990s with the previous cross-country circuit that ran under the same name.
“A very big thing (Daniels) did then that we’re trying to do now is do large paybacks and entice more teens to come in and keep them coming back week after week,” said Groebner. “We’re trying to find ways so kids can race each week as long as they’re healthy and want to get out there.”
ISOC plans to keep the costs down mostly through sponsorships, says Groebner, but they also will do so by keeping a lean business model.
“We’re trying to keep things as lean as possible and be smart on our end so we can give back as much as we can,” he said. “The big thing is sponsorship and that’s where John had a lot of success in the ’90s. We’re getting that going again.”
ISOC has strong support thus far as BRP and Arctic Cat have agreed to sponsor the association. Also, ISOC has received written and signed commitment letters from Yamaha and Polaris.
BRP agreed to sponsor an eight-race national Sno-Cross series and also 22 episodes of the TV show Sled Head 24/7 through its Ski-Doo snowmobile division, according to a BRP press release. The episodes will be broadcast throughout North America this season, with plans to extend it in coming years.
“We’re extremely happy to see ISOC step in and take over national sno-cross racing,” Francois Tremblay, director of marketing for Ski-Doo, said in the release. “(We) look forward to them bringing the sport to new heights with new markets, better execution, better racer purses and more exposure.”
In-depth planning should bring more racers and spectators to sno-cross racing than in years past, says Groebner.
“Sno-cross has done a great job building a large-scale, pre-event presentation for bringing corporate sponsors into snocross,” he said. “It should make it easier for these kids to race and get more people back into the sport, especially with the state of the economy and gas prices.”
Anticipation for new season
With more sponsors in line, excitement from the snowmobiling community is rising.
BOSS Racing is one company looking forward to the upcoming season, says Garry Querel of BOSS Racing.
“It’s going to be an exciting next couple years and years after that with the new association because it’s new and aggressive,” he said. “John Daniels has a proven track record. We’re excited for the ISOC.”
Querel adds BOSS Racing would like to see more spectators and thinks ISOC can generate that with its increased prize money.
“ISOC has fresh, innovative ideas for the sport of snowmobile racing that will not only benefit racers, but the fans, [too],” he said in a press release.
Groebner says ISOC is looking forward to upcoming seasons.
“Everybody at ISOC is really excited and so is the snowmobiling community from the sponsors and manufacturers to the riders and viewers,” he said. “Everyone is working together, and the unity throughout the industry is great right now. Everyone has the same goal: improve snowmobiling. It’s not, ‘How much money can I make?’ It’s ‘How can we work together so everybody wins?’ ” psb