Standish residents enter the fold of competitive snowmobile racing
STANDISH —A snowmobile is really the only thing needed to compete in Vintage Lemans Snowmobile Racing. But confidence, team chemistry and courage is what Corey Schman, 24, of Standish, is hoping will give his team an advantage in its first season of racing.
“I wanted to do something fun in the winter and not get killed doing it,” Schman said. “Then I heard about a pretty popular race up north and how they were gaining popularity, so I decided to get a team together.
“My dad (Marty Schman) was a prestigious snowmobile racer when he was younger. … When I told him about the race and what it entails he knew exactly what to build.”
Corey says the snowmobile the team will use is a Rupp Nitro. The team includes him and close friend Doug Walker as riders, along with others who will drive the sled during the endurance races; a pit crew, which Marty is the chief of; as well as what Corey calls a “whole supporting cast of skilled mechanics and muscle.”
The races, which will take place in Cheboygan, Newberry and Sault Ste. Marie are 150 miles long on tracks under a mile long that include right and left turns; jumps and whoops sections (small, consecutive bumps). Even though he’s new to the game, Corey says he’s not intimidated by the track.
“I used to ride dirt bikes on motocross tracks when I was younger, so I am familiar with the track layouts,” he said, adding he is also confident that the team has “a superior built machine and superior riders.”
“I think our competitive edge will really help put us over the top,” Walker, 25, of Standish, added. “Plus I’m not afraid to go all out to win, so I won’t be apprehensive when I’m riding.”
Corey also says that the team has fine-tuned its sled to top performance and is ultra organized.
“We, being new to the sport, had to do that (be fully prepared and organized),” he said. “You don’t want to bring a knife to a gun fight.”
However, Corey does acknowledge some weaknesses for the racing rookies.
“It’s our first year in it so we’re not going to have the kinks worked out like older teams,” Corey said.
“Our transitions between riders may take some time to master,” Walker added.
If the kinks can be worked out though, Corey says the team is looking at a chance to make some big money.
“The purse is $5,000 for most races,” he said, adding the money is a huge incentive for success after dedicating so much time and cash into equipping the snowmobile. “It cost a heck of a lot of money to build a snowmobile with aftermarket parts from nothing to a race-winning machine. That’s why we have sponsors.”
But Corey says the team which has been working on the sled for three months, is ready to win and sure of its abilities.
“Anything less than a win will be a disappointment,” he said.
Walker added that many of the team’s members have similar backgrounds and that their “all or nothing” attitudes will be the key to the team’s success.
“Our race team lives hard and races even harder,” he said.