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    Snow Outlaws Michigan Madness packed some serious power!

    Posted by Tyler Nelson
    on Friday, January 19, 2018

    Contributor Jon Johnville of JJ's Outlaw Photography spent the first weekend of this year with some seriously fast sleds and extremely talented riders. Check out his recap here:

     It was the first weekend in January and that means the first round of the Snow Outlaws called Michigan Madness. This is the premier series in snowmobile drags. It takes place at the Mancelona Motorplex in Mancelona, Michigan. If you have never seen or been to an event that has Outlaw sleds it is a definite bucket list item, especially if you love snowmobiles.

    So here is a little insight into the Snow Outlaws. This is the start of their fifth season and second year racing for money, having big sponsors to make that happen. Talking with Craig Campton - the owner of Hypersports and the head-man in charge of the events for Snow Outlaws - said he would like to see them continue. Like any event, you need more people so they run smoothly. They have a different format than most events. The big difference is they run every hour on the hour for each round. Normally on Friday night they do a shootout for big money and on Saturday they run to see who will be on the Top 10 list. They also only have three events a year. Anymore then it gets to be too much for the teams. We all know that money does not grow on trees and it takes a lot to have an Outlaw Team. Craig said he has already seen a drop off of teams due to finances.

    Now let’s talk about the sleds themselves. These are not something you can just go to your local dealer and purchase. They may start off as one but to be competitive it takes a lot of time and money.

    “To be competitive and in the Top 10, you will need to have 650-720hp,” Campton said. To get that kind of horsepower takes money and a lot of work. These sleds can cost $30,000-$75,000 and that all depends on how fast you want to be. The number one and two sleds are both built by Hypersports and are the new HRC-2 sleds. These two sleds run on methanol and have a different chassis than stock. Not to mention you will need to have a crew and someone to tune the sled to make it fast. Oh wait you will need to have someone to pilot these rockets as well.

     Speaking of drivers, I got to talk to two of the best in the business, starting with Machine Gun Kelly Shilts, who is the driver of the Red Cup Racing Agent Orange. Kelly was the big winner on Friday for the $5,000. I asked Kelly what it was like to squeeze the trigger on one of these sleds his reply was “It is super exhilarating.” He loves the reliability of the sleds.

    I also got to talk to Mike Allen who is the current number one on the Top 10 list. Mike has been with Stilson Racing since St Germaine last year. I asked Mike what it feels like to have the number one spot for back to back years his reply was “Very humbling especially with level of competition out there.”

    Now that you have a little insight on the Snow Outlaws and the sleds, let’s get on to the racing.  Friday night shootout for $5,000 to the winner with a total purse of $10,000 you definitely get some outlaw teams to show up. Some of them show up with new sleds and some with the old faithful. The program is an NHRA professional ladder where the racers draw for their starting position. The racers go round and round till there are only two sleds left. This year it came down to Kelly Shilts on Agent Orange and Mike Allen on War Eagle. They lined up and starter Craig Campton hit the light. Both sleds left like rockets out of the whole. The winner was Kelly Shilts due to Allen red lighting. Now with the racing done for Friday night the racers who finished highest and are not on the Top 10 list will make up the bottom half of the ladder for Saturday’s list race with the highest finisher in the number 11th spot and so on down the list.

     Saturday’s list race would start at noon and the competitors would get to race five rounds to attempt to advance their position on the list. The event will start with the number one and two going up first and so on down the list with the highest ranked racer receiving lane choice. The losing racer in each round has to accept the challenge from the racer below him on the list in the next round. The Top 10 racers will be locked in as long as they don’t drop lower than number 10. They started the day with 21 sleds on the list with Mike Allen in the number one spot and Jacob Nuhn in the 21st. This list included racers like Jason Price, Lexie Akers and even 15-year-old Ryan Ensor. Again they will race every hour on the hour. They do this so the teams have time to make adjustments and repairs. The day went on round after round and after the fifth and final round was over, the Top 10 list was set, with the number one spot being Mike Allen, followed by Kelly Shilts, Ryan Ensor, Scott Kostman, Kenny Miller, Dan Bickel, Jeremy Hannen, Jason Price, Lance Flathers and finally Les Ferenczy. The next event is scheduled for February 2-3 in St. Germain Wisconsin. So if you are in the area and want to see some fast sleds stop by and check them out. Plus this is also the same weekend and venue as the St. Germain Radar Run. If you want to follow the action please follow Snow Outlaws on Facebook.

    Jon Johnville

    JJ’s Outlaw Photography

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