Noel Kohanski Leads The Way In The CSRA
By Scott A. Sumner
Thunder Bay resident Noel Kohanski is one of the best snocross racers on the planet and this year he is looking forward to regaining the success of past years. On May 12. 2002 Kohanski was at Atikokan, Ontario at a motocross track just practicing. It wasn't a race day, just a Sunday afternoon and he was sitting at the starting line reflecting on his day. He was doing full blown motos for practice and to improve his itness. "One of the guys comes up and says lets do a couple starts together. He went high and wide and really T bones me," said Noel Kohanski. "I broke the tibia and fibia in my lower leg. Fortunately there were no knee problems as I wear knee braces, although the incident did did bend the knee brace." The 31 year old professional snocross racer didn't want any hardware like pins or rods in his leg. It was clean break so the Thunder Bay orthopaedic surgeon set it and placed him in a cast. "Two weeks later my leg had a spasm in the cast and shifted the leg. I knew there was something wrong and the next day Dr Porter put a big rod in my leg. Three months later I was almost back to normal, it was bothering me but it was ok," said Kohanski. "September 30 I woke and walked using my leg and cried. I pretended it was ok but it swelled up like a baseball in my ankle area. I had infection in my shin area. That night they took the rod out and bored out the size of the hole. There was no infection on the inside of the bone, just on the outside near where the rod was located. I was on IV antibiotics for two weeks and then normal antibiotics for another month. In one month in a air cast everything healed. Everything is 100% now." Great health is important for Kohanski this year and is at a premium with many of the stars of the sport in various states of injury. This year Noel Kohanski will race for the Toronto based Canadian Ski-Doo Super Team operated by the Lesters of Supertrax snowmobile fame. Kohanski was with Polaris for three years and earlier Ski Doo. "My negotiations weren't going well with Polaris so I left that whole door alone. I knew at the end of the season in 02 Polaris wasnt very positive even if I was there number one rider," said Kohanski. "I got contacted by Steve Cowling from Ski Doo who asked what am I doing. He had a deal with Warnert Racing out of St Cloud, MN funded from Ski Doo. I raced on that team in 2002/2003. I missed Duluth and Winnipeg and finished 15th and 12th in the Pro Open and Pro Stock classes. The previous year I was 4th and 5th. When I did come back I was playing catch up for most of the year due to the injuries." Earlier last spring Kohanski got a call out of the blue from the Ski Doo Superteam, the Supertrax team, because my friend Dave Vincent of Southern Ontarios Vincent Motorsports was out fourwheeling with the Lesters. Luke Lester the main racer on the team is hurt and they needed a rider. "I just decided I wanted to do something different than the Warnert Race Team. The Supertrax Team deal allows me to live at home in Thunder Bay. I will fly back and forth every race weekend," said Kohanski. "Before I had to reside in St Cloud, Minnesota, 45 minutes north from Minneapolis. There was nothing to do. We lived in a small room the two of us. The lifestyle will be better living at home in Thunder Bay and flying to Toronto, Montreal or Winnipeg on Fridays and coming back on Monday," Kohanski will be able to practice during the week on his own test tracks near his rural home. He will do all CSRA National and regional races and some WSA races. "I will be at the WSA Duluth opener. I won't have any sleds up here, only a practice sled. My race equipment will be in Southern Ontario. In Duluth I'll go to the race with my practice sled in the back of my pick up truck, said Kohanski. Hopefully Ski Doo will find me a mod sled for Duluth.
Who will be the big Ski Doo riders in the sport this year. Blair Morgan wont be 100% after his severe motocross injuries earlier this year including back and leg problems. Morgan was wearing his back brace and moving slowly at Haydays. Journeyman Earl Reimer of Vermillion Bay will race Ski Doo this year with the Morgan team for Canada. Earl will be the first Blair Morgan racing team member to race the Veterans class. "There will be competition in the CSRA series There are always fast guys. It is very open in the US. Ski Doo has made their race sled better and it was dominant last year. A new clutch for this years sled is awesome and there will be a roller secondary," says Kohanski. "We tired to get it on last years sled. I'm not involved with the Ski Doo development team yet but I hope to be. I'm going to the Ski Doo test session this November in Northern Quebec, closer to Valcourt. Rumours abound that Polaris will have an A arm front suspension this year. Rick Bates is the main race developer at Polaris. Last year he was out testing himself and had an accident which left him near death. He has recovered and expect to see a Polaris mod sled with a new front end suspension system." Noel Kohanski does intense physical training all year round, 5 times a week for 2 to 21/2 hours each session. He does intense cardio work outs which elevate his heartrate to 180. I'm maxed out. I do lots of reps that I break up continually to strengthen specific muscle groups for snocross in the arms and legs," said Kohanski. "I watch my diet, eat lots of chicken. I can't remember the last time I ate any fast food," Kohanski is 6 feet tall, weighes 189 pounds and his body has a 12% fat level. Thats sounds pretty impressive when you consider marathon runners would probably have a body fat content of 8 or 9%. Noels long term goal is to become a jet airline pilot in the future for a carrier like Air Canada. "I got my private pilot license on a Cessena 172. You need to get hours on single engine, twin engines, ratings like night, commercial instrument, etc." says Kohanski. "I looked at a school in Orlando recently where they take from 0 hours to the seat of a jet. They almost guarantee you a job when you finish, although it is at a tuition cost of $50,000 US. An American airline would hire their graduates." Kohanski has wanted to be a pilot as long as he can remeber as a little kid. "I like the speed. My girlfriend printed off the internet a flying school in Thunder Bay and I loved my first session so much I decided to pursue it further." Noel Kohanski is excited about the upcoming season. His team has a 34 foot motorhome and 38 foot trailer, a double decker. A J Lester and Noel will be the only riders on the team plus two mechanics. "You get a salary as well as my winnings. If you are just making the finals you won't do as well, but if you win or are in the top three consistently you will do well," smiles Kohanski. "It is very hard to start a small private team nowadays. You must have a good sponsor right off the bat. The sport of snocross is defineately changing into a much more elaborate competitive sport today." It will be fun to follow the progress and sucess of a healthy Noel Kohanski this season. Something tells me we will be able to look for great things from this racer.