Long Time Thunder Bay Snocross Racer Noel Kohanski Retires
By Scott A. Sumner
If you follow snocross racing, you have followed the career of Noel Kohanski. This 32 year old racer from Thunder Bay, Ontario has been at the upper echelon of the sport for many years culminating in his national wins last year in Canada. In the CSRA, Canadas national circuit, Kohanski won both the Pro 440 and Pro Open national championships. "There were 15 or 16 races in the series last year and I attended each one. Earl Reimer of Vermillion Bay was my closest competitor for the national championship in the open class. I had it in my head near the end of last year to retire. I said I was sitting pretty good for the national championship and this is what I always wanted to accomplish, win the Canadian Championship being a Canadian. It just seemed like a good way to close out my career and leave it at that," says Noel Kohanski. "Basically I'm here this weekend at Duluth having fun, riding some good friends of mine sleds. The Dusty McMillen family - that's my sponsor for the weekend." McMillen is Kohanski's brother in law.
"I think this year would be year 8 if I would race, 5 or 6 as a pro. In 1996 I made my debut in the first race as a semi pro in Duluth. I won the whole deal that year and lapped everyone in the Semi Pro 600 final on a beat up old Polaris XCR 440. Then I also made my Pro debut here at Duluth and figured why not just close out my career here as well," smiles Kohanski. "Thats why I'm here this weekend, having fun. I always loved Duluth. It's close to home and lots of Thunder Bay people are here. I'm also running the X Games qualifier and would go to the X Games one more time if I can. I've been to all seven of them. This year will be the 9th winter X Games, but the first one didn't have snocross."
Kohanski will go to Winnipeg with the Dusty McMillen team, but will not be racing. "I have a lot of friends in Winnipeg as well. We have a couple of suppliers there that we deal with through insulation that actually have a booth at the race track facility. (Kohanski works for the family business - Thunder Bay Insulations) I'll just hang out and visit people I dont get to visit with often. It will be interesting to be on the other side of the fence for once. I dont really have the race itch this weekend at Duluth as well. I'm just out enjoying myself, having fun as I always loved Duluth, the track and the people - the Thunder Bay fans." Although Noel wont be racing the full season this year he has been working out, training and went practicing on the Arctic Cats of Dusty McMillen at the new Planet X facility, as he never has raced the Arctic Cat sleds before.
"My future plans are I got married this spring and we have a baby on the way. My wife is 4 months pregnant as of today, the family thing. I'll try to lead somewhat of a normal life for a while which I haven't done during the last nine years with the travelling each weekend. I could get involved with the industry as well, states Kohanski. Last year was nice as I was able to fly out Friday and fly home Monday. I could stay home during the week, work and train. I still have my last years practice sled and the trail is 1000 yards from my house so I might do some trailriding as well. We also plan a spring snowmobile trip with all the guys in the mountains at Bear Lodge by Sheridan, Wyoming. Dusty's uncle has a cabin there so 5 of us go and tear it up." Immediately after my interview with Noel he went out and won his X games qualifier heat - borrowed sled and all. He still is very fast!