SNOWMOBILE RACING: Nisswa's Sturm back on track after injury
High speed, big thrills and big air is what’s been in store this season for MSRA Hillcross pro driver Colton Sturm of Nisswa.
Sturm, racing this season with the No. 1 plate for the first time in his career, is getting his season off to a slow start due to a serious leg injury he suffered five weeks ago while snowboarding in Vail, Colo.
“Its always worth it,” Sturm of racing. “When I do get hurt it’s just that motivation I need to get back out there and re-do it right. I would hit that jump again.
“A good racer isn’t defined by the championships and everything, it’s how good they come back from an injury. Every good racer gets hurt and some give up but a good racer will always come back after an injury.”
Sturm is doing just that. And, with the OK from his doctor and the help of his father, mentor, and manager, Randy Sturm, he is once again ready to put his racing skills to the test at Saturday’s MSRA Hillcross race at Ski Gull Saturday.
“This is going to be my first event since I’ve got the green light,” Colton Sturm said. “I’ve been riding and I’ve been pushing it and it’s yet to give me grief. We have great suspension and the ground is going to be so soft I have no worries that my leg is going to feel fine for the race.“
While injuries are often inevitable in high-speed racing, Sturm is confident in his abilities as a pro racer, and also in the abilities of other riders who will be in close quarters with him on the track.
“We’ll be jumping 100 feet through the air and things could go horribly wrong and it’s a huge trust issue,” said Sturm. “At this level all the riders know what every rider is going to do and can adjust for it. We’re very precise on everything.
“Once you turn pro there are a lot of expectations and you have to be fast, in control, and safe. But when I do go down it’s normally a good one. I bounce good.”
Despite all the thrills, and potential dangers, Sturm always manages to keep the atmosphere anything but serious.
“I don’t start getting serious until I see the flag,” he said. “I’m always playing and yelling jokes to the other guys on the line when we’re about to take off. You know when it’s pro time because I’ll be yelling. I make it fun on the line.
“If you’re not having fun you shouldn’t be doing it. It’s a competition of course but at the end of the day we’re all friends, and we all love the sport, and that keeps us going.”
While Sturm has the No. 1 plate now, starting two races into the season makes it nearly impossible for him to rack up enough points to snag the championship this year, but he doesn’t mind.
“My goal is to just have fun and ride with my plate, but I’m not playing a points game this year,” he said. “I finally have the No. 1 plate and I just want to represent that.
“I was always a little more consistent and that’s what got me the championship. I want all the other racers to see who they have to beat to take that No. 1 spot this year.”
Sturm has always had a need for speed, starting with BMX racing at just 5-years-old, AMA racing in his teens, and at 18, pro snowmobile racing.
Racing is a family affair. Randy Sturm, owner of Sturm Racing and Repair, has been involved in racing for more than 30 years and has always supported his only child’s dream of being a pro racer.
“Colton started racing bike when he was just a little guy and it wasn’t too long before he wanted something with a motor on it,” Randy Sturm said. “Since then he’s broken bones, and crashed a few times, but every rider knows what he’s putting on the line. And, if that bothers you, you’re in the wrong sport.”
As a father and son race team, Randy and Colton have a special bond, and even get along most of the time.
“We butt heads sometimes because I know what I’m trying to say but he’s not getting it, but we both know when to walk away,” Colton Sturm said. “We both know what we’re doing but we can’t always meet in the middle. Now that I’m a seasoned racer, I’m better at explaining myself but for the most part we rarely get frustrated with each other.”
Along with Sturm Racing and Repair, Colton is sponsored by Plaisted Racing, ERX, and Brainerd Pepsi-Cola.
“They’re the people who make this possible, Colton Sturm said.