IRON MOUNTAIN - What started with promoting snowmobile hillclimbs in the Midwest in 1991, the Mid America Snow and Terrain Expert Racers (MASTERS) Racing Circuit continues to expand.
For the 2013-2014 season, The MASTERS will bring back a hillcross series to the Midwest. In addition to hillcross, the MASTERS will also include a snowmobile grass drag in the summer or fall of 2014, along with a motorcycle hillclimb.
The MASTERS will also make a return to the home of the 22-year circuit, Ontonagon. Also returning to the schedule will be a snowmobile hillclimb at Pine Mountain in Iron Mountain.
Layne Stank of Stoughton, Wis., will be racing in the MASTERS events at Pine Mountain and Keyes Peak.
New to this year's schedule will be snow drags as a part of the Sagola Tip-UP Town on Saturday, Feb. 1, and the Wisconsin State Championship Snowmobile Hillclimb and Hillcross at Keyes Peak in Florence.
The MASTERS will kick off its season with the U..P Championship Snowmobile Snow Drag Race in Ontonagon on Saturday, Dec. 7.
The MASTERS will then hold its second snow drag as a part of Tip-Up Town on Sawyer Lake. Even though the snowmobile drag races will take place on Sawyer Lake, the races will take place on a groomed snow track.
Sagola Township Sportsmen's Club, which is sponsoring the races, had run snowmobile races as a part of Tip-Up Town for a number of years. However, snowmobile races have not been a part of this popular event for the last couple years.
"The MASTERS is excited to bring snowmobile drag races back to Tip-Up Town," said MASTERS President Skip Schulz. "The Sagola Township Sportsmen's Club is an excellent organization and have made Tip-Up Town one of the biggest winter events in the Upper Peninsula for years. We're just proud to now be a part of this."
The circuit's major World Championship Snowmobile Hillclimb qualifier will once again take place at the Mid America Championship Hillclimb (MACH) in Caspian on Saturday, Feb. 15. The MASTERS will be dropping the spectator parking for this event to only $10 per vehicle.
On Saturday, March 1, the top snowmobile hillclimbers from all over the Midwest will take on the steep and challenging hill right next to the ski jumping site at Pine Mountain. The Tourism Association of Dickinson County Area has already joined in as a major sponsor for this snowmobile hillclimb.
For the return of a professional snowmobile hillclimb at Pine Mountain, the circuit and promoters have agreed to provide free spectator parking.
"This is one of the most challenging hills for our hillclimbers to compete at throughout the Midwest," Schulz said. "It's not just steep, but the drivers will have to get around a series of gates on off camber terrain. I can assure the fans this is going to be exciting."
The MASTERS will then go to Keyes Peak in Florence for the first time on March 15-16. This will also be the first two-day event for the MASTERS.
On Saturday, the MASTERS will not only make its debut but will do something that has never done in the group's 20 plus year history of promoting and sanctioning snowmobile hillclimbs.
"The drivers will have to go to the top of one hill, then come back down, make a hard left turn, and then go up a steep shoot to the top," Schulz said. "That last hair-pin turn, then a run through the woods to the top of the hill, is going to be great for the fans."
On Sunday, March 16, the MASTERS will make its return to sanctioning professional snowmobile hillcross - a drag race up a hill, with a series of jumps on the hill.
While snowmobilers are making plans for this winter's MASTERS season, the circuit is already planning on holding its first motorcycle hillclimb at the site of the MACH in Caspian. Schulz states that just like setting the date for the UP Championship Snowmobile Grass Drags in Ontonagon, the MACH motorcycle hillclimb date is dependent upon the schedule of other motorcycle hillclimbs.
Schulz has stated that if another community would like to host a snowmobile grass drag or motorcycle hillclimb, the MASTERS would be interested.
For more information on the MASTERS, go to mastersracing.net or call Schulz at 906-884-9101.