SNOWMOBILE RACING: Thomson to make pro debut at Duluth this weekend
Snowmobile driver Cody Thomson has had great success on the semipro circuit with the Amsoil ISOC Racing series as his two points championships will attest.
One of the rewards for his success is that Thomson gets an automatic promotion to the pro series. He will make his debut at the Amsoil Duluth Nationals Friday through Sunday.
“It wasn’t my decision, but I wanted to move up,” Thomson said. “I had no choice because I had won two points championships in semipro. I automatically have to move up to the pro class.
“I am pretty excited about it. It is the next level and I think the more I ride with faster guys, the faster I am going to get.”
Thomson turned 20 in October and will be one of the younger drivers on the circuit. However, the window is short to achieve one’s goals due to the pounding the body takes from snowmobile racing competition.
Thomson said off-season training is a large part of preparation for the circuit.
“Snocross puts a lot of pounding on your body, but that is why you train in the off-season, to get your joints and muscles to be up to taking the pounding,” he said. “You are handling a 500-pound machine that really kicks you around so you have to prepare as much as you can.”
Thomson also races motorcycles during the summer, which helps him hone his technique and motor skills, something that a number of the snowmobile drivers do.
“You work the same mechanics and brain functions as you would on the snowmobile,” he said. “From a bike it is a bit different because you are using body English. You do that on a sled too, but it is a lot tougher. It’s all about line options and trying to take smooth lines. That helps to convert over to snowmobiles.”
Thomson’s talent and wins have earned him a spot on the top Arctic Cat team, which gives him the advantage of being part of a top-notch operation.
“I race for the factory Arctic Cat team and I get to ride out of the big green Arctic Cat trailer,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun and Arctic Cat helps me, along with other sponsors like Speedworks, who works with the clutching. I also have to thank my mechanic (David Otto) for keeping me running, and Russ Ebert pretty much runs the show and knows what to do.”
Last year Thomson had the opportunity to race at the Winter X Games and at the World Championships in Finland. He said both were great experiences and he represented himself well with a sixth-place finish at the Winter X Games, and a fifth-place finish at the World Championships.
“The Winter X Games was a really good experience as I got to go up against all the guys that I will be racing against this season,” Thomson said. “I finished sixth overall, and I came from dead last up to sixth. I think I was the only driver who moved up that far.
“We had some struggles with back spasms and I was having a hard time holding on to the sled. But I think we did pretty well for the first year.
“At the World Championships it is a whole different game. There are different rules and different things that you can do to your sled. The one thing is that you can’t run studs, which is completely different. I wasn’t comfortable as it was kind of like riding on an ice rink.”
The Amsoil Nationals in Duluth this weekend start a series of nine races that make up the season. Drivers will compete in Minnesota, Michigan, North Dakota, and New York before finishing the season at Lake Geneva, Wis., at the Nielsen Enterprises Grand Finale on March 16-18.
One of their more unique stops will be in Pontiac, Mich., where they compete at the Silverdome, former home of the Detroit Lions.
Thomson has goals to win a pro title along with a first-place trophy at the World Championships. He knows he is part of a series where the best of the best compete.
“ISOC is where all the big guys are at,” he said. “If you want to make a name for yourself it is where you have to be.”
He also has a deep faith, which he leans on to guide him through the challenges that come with racing.
“If it weren’t for the Lord Jesus Christ I wouldn’t be doing what I am doing today,” he said.