Due to the recent event at ESPN's Winter X Games that took the life of freestyle snowmobiler Caleb Moore, the International Series of Champions has cancelled the planned snowmobile freestyle events this weekend.
Although Moore had other obligations and wasn't scheduled to compete in ISOC's Michigan and Wisconsin freestyle events, officials with the series felt it was best to cancel the first-of-its-kind program altogether.
"We're absolutely devastated with the tragedy that occurred at the ESPN Winter X Games this past weekend in Aspen, Colorado. The snowmobile community is very small, very close....Caleb's death has affected us all in a way that we truly feel it's in the sport of snowcross' best interest not to move forward with the two freestyle events planned for Traverse City and Lake Geneva events," said Carl Schubitzke, ISOC President/Race Director."Our thoughts and prayers are with the Moore family and Caleb's industry-wide group of friends, many of whom were his fellow competitors and regulars on the ISOC tour."
"We had a tragedy in the sport," said Pat Schutte, Public Relations Director for ISOC Racing. "The snowmobile family is very tight, it's very small. For that matter, we felt this was the right thing to do, and officials at Turtle Creek agreed with us."
"We're in complete agreement with ISOC that is it best not to move forward with the freestyle events on the AMSOIL Championship Snocross tour," said Rich Bailey, CEO of Grand Traverse Resort and Casinos.
25-year-old Snowmobiler Caleb Moore died Thursday while competing in the snowmobile freestyle final of the Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado. He came up short while trying to do a back flip. And a week after that crash, new safety concerns about the X Games are being raised.
Despite the freestyle battles being cancelled, Schutte said it's only a small portion of what Snocross fans love.
"The races itself... the guys will fly off jumps the length of an NBA basketball court and travel through the air," said Schutte. "And there's 15 of them side by side doing that for 24 laps. It's spectacular what happens."
"We are so excited," said Tracy Kurtz, Grand Traverse Resort and Casinos Media Representative. "We used 5 million gallons of water for snow-making equipment for over 2 weeks, so we have a huge mountain to play on!"
And while the best of the best in Snocross make their way to rev their engines and plow through Northern Michigan snow, the tight-knit community of racers will be thinking of one of their own.
Schutte said he is not sure when (or if) the freestyle battle event will return to the Championship Snocross, but as X Games officials complete a thorough review of the freestyle snowmobiling events as a result of moore's death, said that's when ISOC will move forward with a final decision.
The AMSOIL Championship Snocross series will be Friday, February 8th and Saturday, February 9th at Turtle Creek Casino in Williamsburg. Each day is packed with events, and everyone is guaranteed an autograph from the racers. All other events in the AMSOIL Championship Snowcross at Turtle Creek will go on as scheduled. Click here for tickets.
You can also donate in Caleb's name by clicking here.