IWA Spotlight: Mike Simmons of Superior Will Be Racing as the Only Twin Ports Resident in This Year’s Event
The International Watercross Association's Superior Watercross Shootout will bring racers and fans from around the country to Barker's Island in Superior August 17 and 18. Among the group of participants in this year's race events, Mike Simmons will be the only driver that calls the Twin Ports home.
Mike moved to Superior a couple years ago with his girlfriend, who is attending college at UMD, as he continues to follow his dream of snowmobile racing in multiple forms. He got his start in Snowcross and Hillcross Racing, then made the jump to Watercross with the IWA last season. Here's a profile of Mike Simmons, the Twin Ports' representative in the 2013 Superior Watercross Shootout:
Name: Mike Simmons
Racing Number: 121
Snowmobile Class: Stock 600
Race Events: Semi-pro Stock, Semi-pro Open, and 800 Drags
Second Season in IWA Racing
8 Questions with Mike Simmons
How many years have you been involved in watercross?
This is my second season in Watercross.
What got you interested in the sport?
I race Snowcross and hillcross in the winter. With winters not being what they used to be and all the time and money invested into my equipment, I figured I would give summertime Watercross a go.
What is your favorite part of watercross over the other forms of snowmobile racing?
There is a strong sense of community within the IWA. It’s a totally different group of people, where everyone has an open door policy around the pits. If you’re having problems right before your race, the guy behind you or in the next race will give you parts and help you out. That doesn't happen in other types of snowmobile racing.
What’s the most challenging part of watercross versus other forms of snowmobile racing?
Figuring out how to set up the sled for each race. You can’t just go to a dealership and buy a watercross sled. While the sleds in these races are pretty much stock, adjustments need to be made to things like the air intake and fuel tank in order to make them water-ready. Pretty much all of those modifications use handmade parts designed fit the driver and course. Hand-building then and finding a legal body of water and the time to test things on can be challenging. These machines get very hot in a couple of minutes, so testing time is limited too.
What events do you regularly participate in?
I compete in semi-pro stock and semi-pro open and I’m currently leading the points championship in semi-pro stock.
Is there anything unique about your sled that you’re proud of?
As far as I know, I am the only person in the IWA that races on a stock 600 sled in oval races. Beside what I mentioned before, I also run my sled in the 800 drags, and my little stock 600 beats up on the bigger sleds almost every weekend.
How much time would you say you invest into the sport each week?
While my girlfriend would have a different opinion, I’d say it’s about 15 to 20 hours per week.
What does it mean to you to be racing in your own backyard, with a hometown crowd cheering you on?
It’s exciting. I look forward to not having to travel very far and to put on a good show for a new crowd of people here for the hometown. I hope it gets people more interested so we can make this a big event.
You can watch Mike and the rest of the IWA drivers at the Superior Watercross Shootout August 17 and 18 at Barker's Island in Superior, WI.