Lack of adequate snowfall for an overland race puts the USXC Heartland 106 on Fish Hook Lake for the second straight year. The event, Jan. 30-31, will be a 10 mile lake Lemans style course. There will be 22 classes from pros to juniors racing both days, with the pros running about 100 miles (10 laps) around the course. Racing starts at 9 a.m. with staging at the public access off Highway 71. Spectators are encouraged to attend and park on the lake at the access. Gate admission is $10 per person with 12-under free.
This is the fourth year of the Heartland 106 and promoters Jeff Voigt and Craig Rossman of Park Rapids are excited to bring snowmobile racing back to the area as a community event. “The reason why we started was to bring racing from 30, 40 years ago back,” Rossman said. “This brings people to town and we hope those people that come here with their families will come back and enjoy the area again.” Voigt and Rossman, along with fellow promoter Jon Koch, expect about 150 racers for the two-day event competing for cash purses and guaranteed $10,000 extra payouts to certain classes.
“This race is very well received,” Voigt said. “The business community seen the need to bring it here and the riders seem to like it too.” The Heartland won race of the year honors two years ago and promoters of the year last year. Rossman doesn’t race anymore but recalls growing up in the 1970s and watching what was then the Park Rapids Heartland 200. The promoters love the sport and look at this race as a great community event. “Racing at any level, you’re racing for the passion, the adrenaline and the fun,” Rossman said.
The race course will be plowed and flags set up on Fish Hook. Snowmobile racing enthusiasts can expect to see high speeds on the lake course with professional classes likely to reach well over 100 mph on the ice. The race schedule starts Saturday, Jan. 30 with a drivers meeting at 8:15 a.m. with qualifying heats beginning at 9 a.m. and running throughout the day. Racing gets going again Sunday, Jan. 31 at 9 a.m. with the finals. The Pro Final (10 laps) is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Racers compete for cash and traditional trophies, along with a trophy unique to the Heartland. For the second year the winner of the Pro Stock class will receive a custom Heartland 106 neon sign.
The Heartland 106 is part of the United States X-Country Snowmobile Racing circuit. Voigt said they are looking at scheduling a 100 mile overland race March 13 from Park Rapids up through the Paul Bunyan Forest, if snow conditions allow. For more race information go to www.usxcracing.com.