All You Have To Say Is DJ
by Scott A.Sumner
Team Amsoil Snocross racer DJ Ekstrom has pretty much ridden snowmobiles all his life since age 2 or 3. He started racing when he was 15 or 16 and his first year at Spirit Mountain was 97 or 98. "I've been around started on Ski Doo and then getting sponsored by Yamaha the following year. I then moved to Arctic cat for a season and finally to the Amsoil team for about 6 years now," smiles DJ Eckstrom. "I love being based out of my hometown, Duluth with the race shop a hour from my house. It is convenient. I have a trainer and work on my fitness. It is the same as every year, we just train, practice and ride. We go to the gym in the morning here in Duluth, work out and then drive up to the track and ride for a couple hours and call it a day. I drive home every night and get up and do it again the next day."
"We can build what ever kind of track we want at the Amsoil Race facility in Biwabik and do full blown motos. We may work on the sleds as well. You have to be totally fit. This is our job," notes Eckstrom.
Last year I finished 2nd and 3rd in the championships. We could have been better but we had some mechanical break downs. It's tough as I probably would have won a championship although its hard to say. It is a number of things. We had some problems with staders. There is really nothing the mechanics can do about it. They just go. There were some other problems, so it wasn't meant to be but hopefully this year we will put it all together."
The personable racer had three wins last year including Duluth, Valcourt and New York. In the summer he rides dirt bikes. "I like the Duluth track the best but I guess it depends on the conditions - what the weather is like and how the track performs. If it is icy or the weather doesn't cooperate it can be a bad track," notes DJ. "I really don't like how they have the start set up this year. It is pretty tight for all the guys out there. It is dangerous but you cant worry about it."
"The sled is the same as last year with some changes to the rear suspension and the skid. Our mechanics have done a great job getting them ready for the season. We have 10 or 11 sleds at the race shop," states Eckstrom. "Its tough as the sport is so competitive and there is a lot of money involved. A younger kid has to shell out the money and it is tough to do it on your own with the mechanical work etc. I got a lot of respect for the guys to do it. Can you pull in with a pick up truck and win? It's possible but pretty unlikely the way the competition is now with the teams and all the work they do and how prepared the riders are. I think every one is fast out there. "