Unique race comes to raceway this weekend

US Air to host SxS Sports Spring National

A first-of-its-kind UTV race is headed to Shawano.

US Air Motorsports Raceway will be the host of the Midwest SxS Sports Spring National on Saturday and Sunday, where professionals and amateurs will showcase their UTV racing skills in front of fans from across the country.

UTV racing is a style of off-road racing that has grown in popularity over the past year. Saturday and Sunday’s event will be like no other before it, however. For the first time in the sport, UTV racing will take place on a track that is 50 percent dirt and 50 percent asphalt.

Wisconsin native Johnny Greaves, a professional off-road racer who served as a planner and promoter for the event, said the car count at the event could be the largest ever for short-course UTV racing to date. The pro purse of $25,000 is also the biggest ever.

“With this racing community and what they do over at the fairgrounds, we’re going and try to get everyone involved in UTV racing out at US Air,” Greaves said. “This is the perfect facility for an event like this.”

Pat and Anne Polk have managed the track operations since 2010 and said they are thrilled to be hosting an event of this magnitude.

“It’s big for us because it brings a lot of people in, a lot of people that we don’t ordinarily have here,” Anne Polk said. “People will be coming from all over the place, from a number of different states.”

“An event like this helps bring in a lot of out-of-town money, which is great for our community,” Pat Polk said.

Racers from all over the country are scheduled to compete in the unique event, with one racer from New Zealand planning to join in on the fun. Ricky Carmichael, a professional motocross racer, is coming out of retirement to make his debut in UTV racing.

Tickets are $15 either day or $25 for the weekend for adults. Practice and qualifying starts at 9 a.m. on Saturday, with the main events scheduled to take place between 1-4 p.m. All events will be run rain or shine. Practice for the event will take place Friday.

The event is also family-friendly. Not only will kids under the age of 12 get in free both days, but there will also be a kid’s zone featuring a area where remote-controlled cars can be driven.

Yamaha will be present at the event, offering spectators demos of UTVs. American Marine & Motorsports will also be showcasing boats and UTVs throughout the day. The racing pit stops will be open, offering fans a close-up look at some of the equipment and the opportunity to meet some of the racers.

With an event of this magnitude, one might expect that the coordination of the event took months to put together. When the idea surfaced in March to bring UTV racing to US Air Motorsports Raceway, it was a long-term plan. When Greaves came out to the raceway, those plans came together more quickly than anyone could have expected.

“We started to look at some possible dates and started calling sponsors, and things actually started coming together a lot easier and sooner then we imagined, so we decided to try and pull one off right away in the spring.”

With the event now planned and about to take place, the Polks and Greaves are hoping it’s just the start of something special.

“We are looking to grow the sport here and make the facility become known for it, and hopefully we’ll have a race here (on Saturday and Sunday) that is just one of those iconic races that everyone will have to be at every year,” Greaves said. “We would love to see it be an annual thing and maybe even more than one a year.”