Get Started in Snow Cross
First of all, go online at the race organization you plan to race with and see which class you and your sled fall into. Your age and cc of sled will decide that.
Clothing and Safety Equipment
You need to be wearing the proper equipment when racing. A light riding jacket or pullover that will fit over you tek vest, which is a chest, back and shoulder protector. You will also need elbow pads, shin pads, and light gloves. Also boots with good ankle support should be worn. You also need a Snell 2000 helmet that is mostly orange. Or if it is not orange most places, rent and orange sock that fits over the helmet. The best combination is a motor cross helmet with goggles.
For Your Sled
There is a certain amount of safety rules you have to follow and other things you should do to be more comfortable and in turn, be faster.
First of all the things you have to do are, ski loops need to be padded, unless they are at least 1" in diameter, so if they are plastic skis, chances are they are okay. You need to have a tether cord (and unhook your key so you don't hit it with your knee, but your kill switch on your handle bar needs to work, just wrap a rubber band around, where it slides down so it's only momentary then). You also need a flap that touches the ground when you sit on the sled. The flap also needs to be tethered, or strapped to the sled. Clear tape your headlight and taillight so if it gets hit it won't shatter.
Traction and Control
Carbides have a maximum length of 10" in stock classes and 14" in open class. There are some new and different styles coming out this ear, we will have the information on what is legal shortly. When it comes to studding you track you a 96 stud limit, they can only be put in the center belt, and the stud plate can't be any closer than 3 3/4 and the stud can't stick up any higher that 3/8 of an inch from the highest point of the track.
We use Woody's Traction Products and they have plenty of choices and styles, depending on length and style of track. The track also needs to be legal for that model. Other than open class where there is no track rule.
Next is skis. Any commercially available ski is legal. You want something as aggressive as you can get without tiring you out, like C + A pro Skis are real aggressive and steer very well in the real loose snow, but are a little tougher to turn, especially if it is hard snow. A stock plastic ski steers easier in hard snow. SLP's new Straight Line Tracker, or SLT ski steers real easy and positive in most conditions. A good choice for a young rider, women, or someone that needs less effort for steering.
It is an open shock rule, meaning you can use any shock. If you are using a newer sled with rebuildable gas shocks, most of the equipment is good. but it does need to be tuned to your weight and for snow cross racing. They will need to be revalved, and possibly resprung. You need all the help you can get to stay on your sled and we can do that for you.
Most of the newer race sleds already have nice high bars that are multiadjustable. There is a lot of after market bar adjusting parts that will fit most of the trail sleds out there. Because you need higher bars than for trail riding. Some people won't be comfortable standing all the time, nor will they have the strength if they don't condition themselves, but with higher more adjustable bars you can set them the way you want so you can go from a sitting position to a standing position and still be comfortable.
You are also going to need a good set of small diameter rubber grips to old on to those bars. Stock ones are not good enough.
Hand guards are becoming more popular with racers. The reason why is they put them on is to keep debris from hitting their hands, obviously. but the other reason is to keep their hands dry. If they get wet from slush and snow your hands are going to get cold and then you're not going to be able to hold on. This year after market companies are making handle bar protectors to fit snowmobiles so you won't have to do any fabricating. We have these in stock also.
You need to have some sort of grips on your running boards, or widen them. The new race sleds already have wide boards so if you put new ATV tire screws down through the boards; the heads make for good traction.
Make sure your running boards do not have cooling extrusions under them or you will have a sprinkler system.
Under The Hood
Plenty of time can be spent under the hood. Clutching is very important. You can use any clutch components as long as you don't have to machine the clutches to make them fit. Most any weights, springs, hylixs, but you don't have to stay with the clutches themselves, other than in open class where you can put any clutch on. Also, in open class, if your running a modified sled pipes, etc., you need to make a larger clutch guard, which is also thicker.
We have all of these supplies and information available for your clutches. I can't emphasize how important clutching is. We can help.
Jetting for snow cross is important because almost all snowmobiles com jetted for 20 degrees and for running at full throttle for long periods of time. That's not what we do when we are racing, we can jet the sled down more than you would think possible, because we are only on the throttle for short bursts. We need to run the sled lean so it runs clean when the bumps are big.
It is legal to change gearing. Most trail sleds can be geared down from the factory, they are geared to go much faster than we need while racing. If you are buying a previously used race sled, just check the gearing. Count the teeth of the top and bottom and that will give you the ratio, as is you had a Top 20 - Bottom 42 = 2.10.
Other things you need to do are, put a skidpan or belly pan protector on to help your sled skim over the bumps, better if you bottom out. Extra hood straps on each side are a good idea, so the hood doesn't come out of its channel.