RACING: Inspiring Ramsey man races watercross at BIR
Never one to back down from a challenge, Scott Martinson, a Ramsey man with paraplegia, dreamed of racing his own skipper in watercross drag races. In 1998, at the age of 22, Martinson was involved in a snowmobile crash that left him paralyzed. A...
Never one to back down from a challenge, Scott Martinson, a Ramsey man with paraplegia, dreamed of racing his own skipper in watercross drag races.
In 1998, at the age of 22, Martinson was involved in a snowmobile crash that left him paralyzed. An avid motorsports fan, he didn't want to give up the things he most enjoyed.
"Scott is the kind of guy who reminds me every day how simple my problems can be," said friend and fellow racer Jerry Tongen. "He reminds me of what perseverance is and what it can do."
With a shop at his home, Martinson enjoys building things and keeping them running. He also has been an employee at Polaris Industries for the past 12 years.
"Scott is very mechanically inclined," his mother Susan Martinson said. "He even made his own grill out of an old engine."
Determined not to let anything stand in his way, Martinson used his mechanical inclinations to guide him. He decided in 2015 to build a customized 2010 Polaris IQR 800cc fully modified engine, which he raced at the BIR Wet and Wild Watercross Drag races June 10-12 A few years prior, he built a sled, but sold it before he could race it.
"I didn't know if I could do it," he said.
Although his family encourages him, Martinson said they are all concerned, but that is part of racing.
"They support me with it, but they don't care for it all that much."
Martinson along with a host of racing companions have spent time trying to build the perfect machine that would allow him to race uninhibited.
"The only thing different with my sled from everyone else's is that I have side guards on it so my feet won't fall off," Martinson said. "Jerry (Tongen) gave me the idea of cutting an old snowmobile tunnel and using that being it has a nice round edge. After doing that I used the backside (heel) of a water ski binding for a foot stop."
Martinson also had to adapt the seat a bit.
"It's an old snowmobile seat I cut up to fit on my sled and cut out the center so I could put a wheelchair cushion in it," he said.
He credits his crew of fellow racers namely: Aaron Godeen, Gabe Godeen, Nick Gustafson, Tongen and Justin Gully for helping him achieve his goal of racing his first watercross this year. He also thanks his sponsors Rapid Marine, Marty's Fabrication Shop, IWA and Special Cutting Tools for assisting in his efforts.
"Scott's the guy that you can always count on," said long-time friend Aaron Godeen. "He's been a huge help with my racing and building my sled. He handles everything with a smile."
Proving to himself that it was possible, Martinson placed second in the first race of the event in his division at Wet and Wild. However, in the second race he placed last and blew up his engine.
"I had issues with a piston skirt which wrecked the motor," said Martinson.
When discussing what he enjoyed most about his experience racing at BIR, Martinson said: "Just the fact that I can do it."
His goal is to eventually race ovals with his skipper. At this point Martinson feels he needs more practice at turning before he commits to that.
Martinson hopes to have his sled running again for a July 15 race in Grantsburg, Wis., and wants to run again at BIR at the end of September He claims his biggest challenge has been finding people with time to help him work on his sled along with finding a good place to practice. Currently he practices at a lake near Avon, but is always open to practicing elsewhere.
TAMARA HORTON may be reached at 218-855-5882 or at email@example.com