At Brainerd International Raceway, snowmobile season is year-round.
You won’t find any snow at BIR this weekend but the sleds will be providing high-flying racing action all the same – on open water. It’s BIR’s annual Wet & Wild Weekend, which features drag racing, Superbike racing and watercross, where snowmobiles race on Lake BIR in drag racing and oval racing. It’s all scheduled for June 9-11.
Watercross has quickly become a crowd favorite at BIR partly because of its novelty but also because it’s just a blast to watch. Snowmobiles defy gravity as they skip across the water, with riders “steering” their sleds by leaning into the turns while keeping their speeds up. And yes, they do occasionally sink, which prompts the rescue pontoon to hover over the sled and lift it out of the water with a hoist. The sled is then taken back to shore, where it’s usually ready for the next race.
“Watercross is a lot of fun for fans to watch,” BIR owner Jed Copham said. “They can sit along the edge of the lake on the grass or on lawn chairs and watch these guys put on a great show. The skill level of these riders is amazing.”
There are three drag racing classes, where the snowmobiles start on one shore and race across the lake to the other shore. And there are five classes for oval racing, where racers make four or five laps around floating markers and return to the same shore they left from.
Watercross is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, but BIR’s drag strip and road course will be busy Friday as well. The Bracket Drag Racing Series will feature 250-plus drag racers in the third of six race weekends. The previous race weekend was rained out, so drivers will be itching to get back on the throttle.
The drag racers compete in 11 different classes, with two chances to win and earn series points each weekend. Friday is a Test & Tune day. On Saturday and Sunday, each day starts with time trials and qualifying, followed by elimination rounds. So winners are determined in all classes at the end of both days.
On BIR’s 2.5-mile Competition Road Course, the Central Roadracing Association (CRA) will be showcasing it’s crazy brand of Superbike racing over all three days. Friday is reserved for practice sessions. Saturday and Sunday both start with practice sessions in the morning followed by six-lap sprint races in the afternoon.
The fans will be the big winners this weekend. For a single ticket, they can watch all three types of racing and can go from one to the other at will. Daily admission is $25, and kids 12 and under are free. Tickets are available at the front gate. Parking is free, as is rustic camping (with a multi-day ticket).
Watercross and Superbike racing will return for Wet & Wild 2.0 on Sept. 22-24, in case fans want another chance to watch.