Following last year’s strong win by American rider Tucker Hibbert ending a predictable Scandinavian supremacy, the 2011 edition of the FIM Snowcross World Championship returns to the village of Tuuri in Finland on the 25th March weekend after hosting the event in 2008.
The small 500 inhabitant’s village inherited its name from an ancient Finnish god of luck, which could hopefully do some good to 43 of the best Snowcross riders in Europe plus four American representatives.
On this occasion what Tuuri expects could already be considered the Snowcross ‘battle-of-the-battles’, such is the amount of established champions gathered by the Finnish organiser at the Keskinen Brothers VillageShop circuit. Three decisive races in a technically challenging 700 meters track put together by the Finnish Motorcycling Federation with the Snowmobile Association promoter – SuSeMk.
Six times Winter X-Games Snowcross gold medallist and reining World Champion Tucker Hibbert will be in Tuuri defending his Title carrying not only the #1 plate on his Monster Energy/ Arctic Cat, but two more trophies in his bag; the American rider just wrapped up the AMSOIL Pro-Open and the Pro-Stock championships’ titles during the past weekend in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin and he’s eager to finish his season in style in Tuuri.
With Tucker comes Garth Kaufman and Christian Logan of Team Arctic/ Christian Bros., both regularly inside the top-10 Pro points in the American championship. Surprise late entry comes from the recently crowned Semi-Pro American national series champion, Factory Team Arctic’s Cody Thomsen, who will surely have a word or two to say.
Taking advantage of Finland’s home crowd support, 8-times Finnish champion Janne Jurvelin is seeking his career first world medal, too. It’s no secret that he and Jussi Honka, both Snowcross European champions, together with Iisko-Matti Näkkäläjärvi, Hannu Toppala, Aki Pihlaja and with many others have all been working their way to take the World Title back to Finland, which Janne Tapio conquered for the Finnish six years ago.
Double race winner in Tuuri on his campaign to clinch the FIM Snowcross World Championship title three years ago is Emil Öhman, who’s been competing in the American national series under the Warnert Racing team awning. The Swede has just come back home to rest after missing the start of the last stage of the US nationals in Lake Geneva due to a nasty flu. The 24 years-old rider was the only one able to stop Hibbert’s winning streak last year and he will certainly make it tough for the American a second time.
World’s Vice-Champion Johan Lidman and 2009 World champion Peter Ericsson, who is back to competition after last year’s absence, together with several other talented Swedes including Johan Dahlgren and the European Championship runner-up Johan Eriksson will form a strong line-up to fight back from their lost golden medal.
The Norwegians will make their appearance in Tuuri with eight riders topped up by the recently crowned European Snowcross Champion Magnus Lindbäck. Along with Magnus comes Ståle Eggen, last year’s best Norwegian snowcrosser at the FIM World Snowcross Championship event in Mala, Sweden, as well as Jostein Biti and Kristoffer Holm who won’t certainly miss any opportunity to get into the fight.
Last minute entries also came from the Russian federation also with eight of their best riders, the majority on the Lynx machines. Interesting to see how the present competitive level is in the eastern country as the last occasion Russian riders entered the FIM World Championship was back in 2005 with Pavel Zakharov finishing in the middle pack; we might be out for a nice surprise.
Estonia’s sole representative, national Quad and Snowcross ace Kaspar Kangur has been regularly winning in the Estonian Snowcross Open class; this all-rounder BRP Lynx rider will surely have an exciting style to watch.
Fierce battles are expected with an entry list filled up with World, European and national champions who will surely make the wonders of the crowd with their ‘screaming’ snowmobiles and impressive air jumps. With an expected packed-house in Tuuri, this edition of the FIM Snowcross World Championship has all the ingredients to become one worth remembering.