Avalanche Pit Crew Winner
by Scott A. Sumner
One of snocross super teams, Avalanche Racing is operated by Mike & Bonnie Glefke. The sucessful team operates out of Glendon Mn, about 30 minutes for Fargo ND, where they have a 8000 square foot shop with room for their two 50 foot race haulers and race sleds. They have their own practice track complete with snowmaking equipment and groomer as
well as a 4 bedroom condo where the racers can stay.
“ We started with it at local race tracks and had a lot of fun. It kept the family together. One year we went to Lake Geneva and said this is a lot of fun and have built from there. We pride ourselves on having great people with great aptitude. We have some great sponsors like
Parts Unlimited,Arctiva and Yellow Pages. It has become an addiction,” said Mike Glefke whose riders include Andrew Johnstad and Derrick Ellis. I was in shock and awe at Lake Geneva and always wanted to get into one of those transporters.”
A unique program started by Avalanche Racing last season was the pit crew for a day contest. You had the chance to enter and win the full experience of being part of the Avalanche team for a day at Duluth. Winner this year was an excited Jackie Ward of Thunder Bay,Ontario. “ I did some grooming and standing on the platform where the freestylers
were jumping and will do some flagging and watching as well,” said Jackie Ward. She was also in the press box, at the start line and finish line, in the groomer and walked through all the transporters meeting most of the racers. There are 8 full time Avalanche staff as
well as their families each race weekend.
Last year Andrew Johnstad won both the Semi Pro Open and Stock season championships and this year is moving up to the Pro class for Avalanche Racing. “ It is very competitive. The Pro guys are about perfect. They carry their speed for 20 laps not 5 laps. That is what separates the people, having more endurance and being smarter on the
track. I think I am ready with a great team and sponsors like Polaris and Parts Unlimited pushing us along the way this year,” said Andrew Johnstad. “ We have a great facility to work from. Ithink it a real big key to our success.”
Johnstad started riding snowmobiles as soon as he could drive a kitty cat. He started racing in 2002- 2003 in the sport class and ran semi pro for 3 years winning both championships last season. “ Fitness is tremendously important. You have to be able to ride the sleds for 20 minutes at a time. It’s like you are doing hundreds of squats. That is
what will separate people on the track. With the new ISOC circuit we had to improve our fitness,”said Johnstad. “ You have to have a positive attitude. I am full time in the winter in the summer but I work on the family farm in the summer. I love the sport and the people are great. It a lot of fun to see everyone here. Duluth is the best race.”