Superior Dirt Riders Event Exciting
by Scott A. Sumner
The sport of motocross is a popular one with such big names as James Stewart, Chad Reed and Ryan Dungey making millions of dollars competing in the AMA Supercross series. It was fun for me to attend the local SDR race held just past Kakabeka in August at the KB mx track.
The competition is young in the sport and two local riders have been riding dirt bikes almost their entire life. Kenny Mandryk, age 15 has been riding for 12 years and is a regular competitor in the series and beyond. “ I rode my first dirt bike when I was 3 and love the adrenaline rush, speed and jumps,” said Kenny Mandryk. “ When I was younger coming up I used to crash almost every race but not as often now. My favourite rider was Jeremy McGrath. The sport is hard on the body. and you work out each day to keep in shape.” Kenny does about 20 races each year.
Matthew Drazecki, age 15 has been racing for 9 years locally as well as in the AMA District 2 series and in Southern Ontario doing about 25 races each years.” We were racing guys from Texas at the beginning of the summer. Our parents help us to do this. It is about $500 to $1000 per weekend to race in the US,” said Matthew Drazecki. “ I have an injury to my knee right now, a torn ACL and will have surgery in September. I like dirt bikes the best of many sports I have played. My goal is to get as good as possible.”
Brady Love, age 16 is from Kenora, Ontario and also an avid motocross rider. In the Pro Am class he came third in the moto with Earl Reimer first and Bob LeBlanc second. Brady started riding motocross at age 7 but motocross is summer training for Snocross, which is what he is going for the most. He races in Manitoba and regional ISOC series each winter.
“ This year I will be riding a 2013 Polaris 600 IQ race sled. We got a little sponsorship from Polaris. In the regional circuit I’ll probably be doing Pro Lite. In national I’ll do Sport,” said Brady Love. “ Last year our circuit had troubles with only 2 races but I got top 3. In the states I am top 5 riders. We may also try Southern Ontario and the CSRA.”
Anyone who has followed the sport of snocross is familiar with Earl Reimer. Earl, age 44,has been racing motocross for 29 seasons. “ I started snocross in 1995 when I was 27 and made a living at it for 10 years. I rode for Ski Doo and Arctic Cat mostly and then 1 year on Polaris. In 2003 I won Pro Open and Pro veteran races at Duluth, which was my biggest, win of my career. It is probably somewhat of a record to win both at the same weekend at a national event in the US. I had just turned 30 at that time,” smiles Earl Reimer. “ They changed the age from 30 to 35 for veteran when they did that I turned 40 and it became harder after that. I had won the Pro Vet class for 4 seasons before that but it has been harder to win since then. Since they have changed the age to 30 I have won two races and I used to win most of the races.”
Last year at Duluth Earl finished 5th but had a broken fibula in his leg, which wasn’t diagnosed until 2 weeks later. This year he would like to do the National Vet series and some local races in Manitoba. In 1997 Earl won the Semi Pro National championships in 440 and 600 classes and in 1998 won some regional pro championships in the US but never a National championship.
“ I did win a national title when there was a small indoor series that went from the Pontiac Silver dome to the Toronto Sky dome and a few others,” notes Earl Reimer. “ People say it is pretty amazing to do this sport when you are 44 and racing a 16 year old but I can’t quit, I’ll get old. In the last 29 years I’ve probably burned about 15 billion calories and would be a fat old man if I wasn’t still doing it.”
Earl Reimer has had the nickname “ Scrap Iron” for much of his race career. “ Tom Rager and Bill Rader were in charge of the race shop when I started there at Ski Doo. At one of the Duluth races I crashed in practice and busted the hood on my sled and the visor on my helmet. Bill was right there and asked if I was ok. I said I better do that jump again or it will bother me all day so I tried it again and made it. Ever since then he has been calling me scrap iron because of some wrestler he knew called Scrap Iron. He called me that for three or four years until Greg Creamer who was the announcer at the Nationals heard it. Once he head it got blasted on the loudspeaker every weekend and it became my nick name I guess.” laughs Reimer.
The snocross racing is getting bigger all the time over the years Earl Reimer has been racing. “ The guys a re making some pretty good money out there. There is way more money in the pits now with all the haulers, but about the same amount of spectators about 25 to 30,000 at the races. There is more TV but we don’t get to see it in Canada, “ notes Earl. “ I have a hauler at home but don’t use it because it is very expensive to run. You need sponsors to do that. You really have to sell your team to sponsors and that was never really my forte. I just rode and if somebody wanted me to ride for them I’d deal with them but I wasn’t the guy to go hunting sponsors. I’m basically a racer.”