Snowmobile Tops 146 MPH at Swan Lake Races
Southwest of Minneapolis in Nicollet County, MN, snowmobile racers and fans flock to Swan Lake for an exciting annual racing event. Put on by the Nicollet County Trail Association, hundreds of spectators and racers were drawn to the icy lake to witness roaring engines, flying ice, and streaks of bright colors screaming across the ice.
Unlike traditional oval ice courses, the Swan Lake event is all about speed. Starting at one end of a 1,000-foot track, racers are signaled and start tearing across the ice as fast as possible At the opposite end of the track is a race official holding a radar gun. The highest speed for each racer is recorded as their score for the run. To ensure there wasn't a mix up on the radar read, racers went one-at-a-time. At the end of each class, points were compared against other racers, split into 58 categories for different styles of vehicle, snowmobile power, age, and time periods. Winning racers received trophies, placements, and bragging rights. “A little bragging rights throughout always helps,” said Jamie Lorentz, event volunteer.
Nearly 350 people from across the region took part in the races. The fastest sled hit 146.1 miles per hour. That is like driving the length of a football field in 1.4 seconds. Spectators and racers came from several surrounding states to take part in the festivities. It was a real family event with no one left out. Mariah Moeller, for instance, is 9 years old and got her snowmobile up to 38mph, placing her at the top of the youth category.
Since the warmer weather earlier in the season made hitting the trails difficult, the event took in record attendance according to Steve Jaster, association member. Also, similar radar runs in North Dakota and Wisconsin were both cancelled because of the weather, which also helped attract more racers to the event.