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Montana XC

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By Joe Miller
In late August, the American Motorcycle
Association (AMA) West Hare
Scrambles Championship Series comes
to Big Sky for its sixth, and final, round.
The 2011 series started January 1 in
Arizona, and travels though California
and Oregon before finishing at Big Sky
Resort, August 27-28. The KLIM Big
Sky XC attracts over 300 racers from
every Western state, as well as from the
Midwest. The event is also round six of
the Montana XC Series, a local amateur
racing series that crisscrosses Montana in

The (hare scrambles) format requires a
course at least three miles long, and a
race at least two hours long. At the ski
resort, Big Sky’s course has single track,
service roads, steep rocky climbs and
descents, and the spectator-friendly
endurocross section, which is just above
the Swift Current chairlift and includes
rocks, logs, tires, and other obstacles that
test racers’ technical riding ability and
fitness. The expert/pro loop of the Big
Sky XC is nearly nine miles long and is
widely considered to be the most technical
and demanding of the series.

Matt Wieland, who raced in the open
B class at Big Sky last year, said it was it
was one of the hardest physical things
he’s done, especially racing for over two
hours on such a challenging course. “It
definitely worked me over. If there’s any
race I’d go back to, it’d be that one. It was
exciting to dirt bike at the place I ski.”

The athletes at the top level of this type
of motorcycle racing spend countless
hours preparing and training. Last year’s
winner, Nathan Woods, was tragically
killed while practicing for the 2011
racing season. Woods held multiple national
off road motorcycle racing championships
and was a member of the 2010
six-man team USA for the International
Six Days Enduro competition, an annual
event considered to be the sport’s most
important race of the year. There will be
an award commemorating his legacy at
the Big Sky event this summer.

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