Ski-Doo sncross racer Elias Ishoel enters the 2019-20 snocross season as the defending Pro Class points champion. He’s the first Ski-Doo rider to enter a season as the defending champion since Tim Tremblay’s effort to repeat in the 2012-13 season. With the season opener in Duluth, Minn., fast approaching, Ishoel comes in full of confidence, but knows he’ll have a target on his back when the racing goes green.
While he found a bit of time to relax this summer on the water with his Sea-Doo watercraft on the beautiful Norwegian fjords, Ishoel spent the majority of his time working towards retaining his title.
Between shifts operating heavy equipment for his family’s masonry business, Ishoel raced local motocross circuits just as he’s done every summer since he began racing at age 12.
“I’ve been [racing dirtbikes] every summer since I started racing snowmobiles,” said Ishoel, “It’s the best training I can have,” he added.
It’s tough to argue with success, and starting the season with the red leader’s plate is proof positive Ishoel is doing something right. Even with a fresh championship title to his name, Ishoel is quick to admit last season, was anything but easy for him.
While a pro championship has always been the ultimate goal, it wasn’t until after the midway point last season that Ishoel felt he could be closing in on something special.
Locked in a tight battle with the top riders in the overall points standings heading into Rounds 11 and 12 in Salamanca, N.Y., Ishoel turned in a solid weekend with two top-5 finishes including a second place in Saturday’s main. While the results may seem unspectacular on the surface, the solid weekend was exactly what Ishoel needed to set himself up for a run at the championship.
“After New York, with only two weekends left I knew I had a good shot if I kept racing like that,” Ishoel said.
He made more than good on his prediction the two weeks later in Dubuque, Iowa, taking two wins for the weekend sweep and catapulting him ahead in the chase for the championship.
With the competition bearing down, he kept it pinned to the bars, capturing two more podiums – including a win in the season finale – to secure is his first overall Pro points championship and first for his BOSS Racing team as well.
With a fresh season about to kickoff, Ishoel says not much has changed since that indescribable he crossed the finish line in Lake Geneva, Wis., at the end of last season.
“I’ll do what I’ve always done, go out there and have fun,” said Ishoel. “I have been lucky to have had the opportunity to race here in the U.S. and lucky to have Ski-Doo behind me. I’ve got a great team and clever people [in the trailer] with me,” he added.
While the competition will surely be aware of him, Ishoel’s focus remains singular.
“I just focus on myself, sometimes you can be your own biggest enemy,” he said.
That statement says a lot about Ishoel’s maturity as he aims to defend his title. His ride-on-the-edge, highflying style or racing has often been a point of criticism in the pits, but his gambles on the track were calculated to near perfection last season. And he doesn’t plan on changing his style anytime soon.
When the first green flag drops on the season, he had just one word when asked what would be going through his mind: “Race!”