Up Close with Snocross Racer Racer Tim Tremblay
Ski-Doo's new top gun
Story by Paul Johnson, Photography by Paul Johnson, Feb 25, 2010
Team Warnert Ski-Dooís Tim Tremblay, the reigning ISOC National Semi-Pro Open champion, makes headlines with his smooth, smart and blistering fast race performances in the Pro classes. Tremblay is one among many Semi-Pro snocross racers, such as Dan Ebert and Cory Davis, to graduate to the Pro snocross ranks for the 2009-2010 ISOC national snocross racing season. Over the past two seasons with the Warnert Ski-Doo team, he has shown incredible determination, uncanny sled control and head turning pace. This speed and consistency carried him to first place in Pro Super Stock points and sixth place in Pro Open points after the 2010 Canadian Nationals.
In fact, he is the only Ski-Doo-mounted pro within the top ten in points in both Pro classes ó except for Warnert teammate Emil Ohman, who is fifth in points in Pro Super Stock. Itís an even more pretty impressive feat when you consider that Tremblay only has two seasons of national level snocross racing experience!
At the 2009 ISOC Canterbury National in the Semi-Pro Super Stock final, he came from deep within the pack late in the race to chase down the leader and claim the win. While this kind of a performance is not unheard of in the Pro classes, itís uncommon in the Semi-Pro ranks. Tremblay racked up a strong podium finishes during the 2009 season in Semi-Pro Super Stock on the national circuit and eventually nailed down second overall in the final standings.
At Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, the final race of the snocross season last year, the ISOC National Semi-Pro Open points title had yet to be decided. With a sizable point advantage heading into the race, ďTimbit,Ē as his team calls him, just needed a top-10 finish to secure the title. But in the final, he got knocked off the track at the start and became impatient trying to pass racers and move up toward the front of the field. In a hasty effort to pass another racer, he rammed a sled hard and toed out his sledís ski alignment by several inches. With a substantial amount of toe out, a sled can be almost unrideable. While some racers would have parked the sled, Tremblay kept on the sled and the gas, taking a ninth place finish and edging out Arctic Catís Dan Ebert by two points for the Semi-Pro Open title.
This year, the 24-year-old from Ste-Jeanne-D'arc, Quebec, actually snapped Tucker Hibbertís string of 15 consecutive ISOC national race wins by taking victory in the Pro Open class at the Western Nationals in Sandy, Utah. As he gains in experience, he seems to be improving and getting faster.,
We had a chance to catch up with the young, unassuming, and personable Tremblay at the ISOC Canterbury Park national where we asked him about his strong season.
Snowmobile.com: Youíve had a lot of success this season. You took fourth in the Pro Super Stock final at Canterbury. How did that go?
Tim Tremblay: Pretty good. I had a pretty good start in fifth but I passed Levi for fourth place. Everybody was pretty fast. They [ISOC] groomed the outside line. Everybody was taking the same line [on the outside] and I was able to make some passes on the inside but it was pretty rough. I had a good time.
Snowmobile.com: Did you bend up the runner board on your sled in Pro Super Stock qualifying?
TT: Yeah, yeah. I was making a pass in the downhill [Gravity Cavity] and I was trying to pass Ryan Simons. When I jumped down, he was jumping at the same time. We both came to the same line and I landed on his front arm [of the suspension]. That was a pretty sketchy pass. I was a little worried about it. I donít want to be overly aggressive or take people out.
Snowmobile.com: Youíve been racing snowmobiles for two years but you have a motocross racing background. Right?
TT: I started to ride dirt bikes when I was six. I started to race motocross bikes when I was 12 and then I raced in provincial race stuff. Two or three [races] last year, I raced national. And I got some good results, like second in the East coast nationals. I got a couple podiums in MX1 and MX2 in nationals. And then last year, I started to race ISOC nationals.
Snowmobile.com: Did you race snowmobiles back in Quebec before racing on the ISOC national circuit?
TT: My first year was 2007. My dealership got me some sleds and I raced my first year in Quebec. And I won pretty much everything in the first season.
Snowmobile.com: Are you surprised how quickly youíve risen through the ranks in snocross racing?
TT: Last year, I won the [ISOC] Semi-Pro Open championship and it was my first full season in the U.S. I got one championship and second in the other class [Semi-Pro Super Stock]. This year, I won my first Pro race in my third Pro race ever, so itís pretty good. It was awesome.
Snowmobile.com: Youíve been racing Ski-Dooís for two years?
TT: One year, I was supposed to race with Warnerts and I got hurt at Duluth [snocross]. I tore my ACL, so I was out for the season. So itís my second year with Warnert.
Snowmobile.com: How do the 2010 sleds compare to the 2009 sleds?
TT: Yeah, last year we had some problems to start with. We did a lot of suspension testing and calibration. At the end of the season, we were pretty good. We started with where we left last year, so weíre still working on it. And it should be getting better every week.
Snowmobile.com: Last year at Lake Geneva, you damaged the front end of your sled in Semi-Pro and you were able to finish with it. Correct?
TT: [Laughs] I was racing for the championship and I had to finish top ten. I had a bad start. I went off the track at the start and I was pretty much last. And I was getting nervous and I tried to make a pass on somebody and I hit him. And my skis went toe out, and I had to finish the race. I was just mad because I didnít take my time [trying to pass racers]. With the skis toed out, it was pretty hard to race. The harder I hit the bumps the more my skis toed out, so I had to slow down when I was in the top ten. I got ninth place.
Snowmobile.com: How much are you able to practice before the races?
TT: We practice two or three days before the weekend. Like Tuesday, Wednesday and sometimes Thursday. We go up to Quadna (in north central Minnesota). We have a groomer, the track, and condo, so itís a pretty sweet setup.
Snowmobile.com: What are some the biggest challenges transitioning from Semi-Pro to Pro?
TT: All the guys in the Pro class are faster and theyíre harder to pass. They have more experience. Some of those guys play hard for the first couple weekends, and thatís okay, but I keep getting up to the front. I think theyíre going to respect me a little bit better.
Snowmobile.com: Do you continue to learn more about the set up of the sled and are you getting faster?
TT: For sure, this is only second season, and I need to know more about the sleds. I know a lot about dirt bikes, but not so much sleds and we will go testing and I need to be focused on my sled and what itís doing, and what we should do to make it better. I still need to improve like weíre never fast enough.
Snowmobile.com: What will take to beat Arctic Catís Tucker Hibbert?
TT: Tucker is the fastest guy for sure on the track. If he got a good start, itís going to be really hard to beat him. You need to start with him and maybe add some pressure and maybe he will make a mistake. But itís pretty hard to beat him.Ē
Snowmobile.com: How much do learn from racing against and watching Tucker Hibbert?
TT: Heís pretty smart and heís got good lines and heís got a lot of experience too. Heís been racing sleds for forever. You follow him and you find a good line there. And then you try to make other lines and to make a pass.
Snowmobile.com: Whoís the rider you respect and admire the most?
TT: I think I respect everybody on the track. If they respect me, then I am going to respect them. If they try to take me out, them maybe theyíre not going to be my friend. Tucker Hibbert has been racing for a long time and heís winning, so every time he goes out, I keep looking at his lines. And the same thing with Ross Martin; heís smart too. Those guys are always in the front. You always look at the fastest guys on the track. I was wishing to race against them last year and now I am racing with them. Sometimes I am able to beat them, so itís awesome.
Snowmobile.com: Which sled do you prefer to race: the Pro Super Stock or Pro Open sled?
TT: Theyíre both pretty good. The stocker not as fast as everybody else; they [the competition] have a little bit more power. But the suspension is working great. The mod [Pro Open sled] is pretty close to everyone else, engine wise.
Snowmobile.com: Who would you like to thank?
TT: Iíd like to thank my team, Warnert racing, Ski-Doo, NSK, XPS, NGK, Dodge, Stud Boy, Signcraft, my mechanic Kyle [Jochman], the whole team, Enzo KYB Suspension, Ron and Mark Warnert, and Oakley.