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UTV World Championships headed to derby track in Eagle River, Wis.

By By Dave McMahon

Newly opened trail system a boost for inaugural event

Russ Davis, vice president of sales and marketing at the AMSOIL World Championship Derby Track in Eagle River, Wis., knows the track’s half-century-plus of snowmobile race success.

Now, Davis and track owner Chuck Decker are banking on a similar run for UTV and ATV enthusiasts and racers. The inaugural UTV/ATV World Championship Derby will be held at the derby track Aug. 28-30. A $15,000 total purse will include $10,000 for the UTV division and $5,000 for the ATV division. A competition mud race also has been added for Saturday night, with UTV and ATV divisions. Larger-than-life eagle-topped trophies will be provided to the winners, along with other class contingencies. Race teams and drivers from all over the Midwest are expected to participate, and Davis has seen growing interest from racers calling from places such as California and Texas.

„ Chuck Decker, president and owner of the AMSOIL World Championship Derby Track in Eagle River, Wis., is shown with the huge eagle trophies to be presented at the inaugural UTV/ATV World Championship Derby. The tallest is 6 feet.

„ Chuck Decker, president and owner of the AMSOIL World Championship Derby Track in Eagle River, Wis., is shown with the huge eagle trophies to be presented at the inaugural UTV/ATV World Championship Derby. The tallest is 6 feet.

But the weekend is about much more than racing. OEMs and aftermarket companies will be on the grounds in full force, exhibiting their vehicles and products adjacent to a demo area.

“We’ll have Manufacturer City, with some of the manufacturers bringing in their big trailers, and we’ll have them all in the same area so that the attendees can easily find them,” Davis said. “All of the manufacturers are real interested in the demo area.”

Unrelated to the event but welcomed and championed by ATV and UTV enthusiasts throughout Eagle River, the Eagle River City Council and Vilas County in May passed an ordinance that allows for an ATV/UTV route to include designated city streets in the towns of Eagle River, Conover and Lincoln.

“The signs are already going up, and riders will be able to ride from our designated demo areas right downtown on the main drag and get on the trail system,” Davis said. “They opened on Memorial Day after a long battle. It’s a brand new deal for the whole county now to have links to the trails that go up to the UP communities. It’s pretty exciting.”

Serious customers wishing to demo select UTV/ATV models will have the opportunity to try the model of their choice on the newly opened Vilas County UTV/ATV trail system. There will be a UTV/ATV High Stakes Poker Run on the trail system for those who want to take a run at their luck.

The track racing figures to be equally exciting, with the oval taking on a shorter look than the typical half-mile snowmobile race oval. A closed short course also will be part of the lineup.

More than 200 RV and camping spots (all sites are 25 by 45 feet) will likely be filled to capacity, Davis said.

“You will be able to ride from your camp site out to the local UTV/ATV trail system and will also be able to access down town Eagle River right from your camp site,” Decker said.

Nighttime racing will begin on Friday, with some preliminary heats and finals in various classes under the lights.

Davis also said an “X Games”-type event will be held on Friday and Saturday nights.

“We’re getting a lot of inquiries from local dealers, especially if the brands they sell are going to be here doing demos,” David said. “It’s the first of its kind, but we have 52 years of heritage with the World Championship Snowmobile Derby. Our roots are racing, but we’re going from racing to an expo to a fun weekend.”

The state-of-the-art racing facility includes trackside air conditioned viewing areas and the Expo Hall Loft bar, which offers seated dining areas and closed circuit TVs, as well as indoor restrooms.

And if it’s an August Saturday night in Wisconsin, expect to a see a bonfire on the track grounds that might be larger than any you’ve ever seen.

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