Gear Grinder – Back In The Day



Levi Ensrud is a a former snocross racer and long-time tour mechanic who is currently Tim Tremblay’s go-to guy on the Scheuring Speed Sports team, as well as part-time truck driver. He is also one of the most opinionated guys on the tour who, often time, raises some valid points in his rants.  To add fuel to Levi’s fire, email  geargrinder@snox365.com

Hey, right back at you again this week!! I have to say thanks to all the followers and thanks for the questions!! It’s awesome that we didn’t have a race and I still have lots of questions to respond to. I can’t believe people’s take on last weeks deal on Kamm. By the way, Kody sent me a message thanking me for standing up for him. Hey, I used him as an example but he’s not the only one who gets hate stuff on the live stream and that drives me bananas. Anyway, here we go for this week!!


As a mechanic, what is your least favorite part on the sleds to work on and why? It seems like getting weight down on these sleds means cramming everything together and while I love racing, especially on Ski Doos, it’s often impossible to go through our sleds between races on race day.

Brian Petersen

I don’t really have a bad thing to point out, not a fan of wiring issues, but for the most part I really hate spending lots of time prepping sleds getting everything perfect…your ready to go and then…. They go out on the track and the son of a bitch breaks or runs like shit and boom your chasing something all day and it just snowballs from there.

Yeah, weight to durability is always an issue but that’s why we test and test before we run it. Also for our team each guy has their own specific areas they tend to; for example I handle drivetrains and suspensions, Elliot handles front ends and other chassis components, and Steve and Thorsen handle data, clutching and carb calibrations. I hope that explains a little for you on some things buddy, thanks for writing in and following snox365.com!

Ok Levi, here’s one for you.

There is endless bench racing as to why Tucker is so dominant right now, better personal prep, better equipment, more focus, etc. One point I haven’t heard discussed much is the experience gained through racing the “early” days of SnoX.

In the mid to late 90’s, most WSA nationals and regionals, which Tucker grew up in, consisted of at least two days of running multiple classes, multiple heats and finals per day, against large numbers of entries. It was commonplace for Tucker or anybody else racing during that time period (of which now the only Pro Open riders are Tucker, Robbie, Levi, and Ross) to race 15-20 times a weekend. The tracks were generally less prepared, you had to find creative lines, and if you didn’t holeshot, you had to learn how to pass.

Most of today’s top Pros came through ISOCs system of racing 1 class, 2 heats, maybe an LCQ and a Final per day. That’s much less bar to bar racing. Now, this is not a knock on talent. Kamm, Pallin, and the rest have amazing talent, are jumping HUGE obstacles, and have blinding fast raw speed. I am in awe of it. But, they lack some of the race craft that getting up at 6 AM and racing 3 rounds of 440, 600, and Open teaches someone. When Tucker gets a bad start, he goes to work, I don’t see that as often with his modern competitors


Right on man! Your right on lots of things that the older days did for some guys that still race today. But let’s talk about the old days vs. new days…did they race more? I don’t think so…. The heat races back then were so short I remember myself racing semi-pro at Duluth and racing 5 lap heat races… totally weak and that took over 12 hours to get done! Look man, the old days of getting up at 6 am we’re long grueling days and you didn’t race as much. Most of the guys who raced back then could race all day and still close the bar down cause they only raced a 8 lap final…hey #46 was that way and every woman in the bar knew who he was by the end of the night. Anyway, I’m not saying there wasn’t a craft of being there all day watching the track, watching lines, etc .,  but you have to look at it the way I do now and… Is it better? Well for sure… There is 2 ten min practice sessions on time, then 2 rounds of qualifiers, LCQ, and final all on time. The time on the track is greater for sure and the sleds, holy crap they are so much better! The evolution of sleds is why the riders are so much better. Back in the day there were good sleds and then there was the sleds that won. Sleds couldn’t make a snocross final time duration that we run now. Those things were terrible.

The craft of jumping, landing then getting back on the gas was an art to not be packing your chain case full of grease just to make the next race. It’s very rare now you see sleds getting hauled off from the skidsteer over the course of the weekend. Every race back then a sled died! Look man, I understand your question and I hope I’m not beating you up to bad on it but go on YouTube and watch 2000 and 2002 X Games finals 6 to 8 lap finals and I’m not taking anything away from the guys who won those, Tucker and Blair, because they paved the way for where snocross is today bar none. But those finals were so short the racing was short and what your seeing today with Tucker, is the best package going. The young talent and rest of the field is so F-ing good compared to five years ago and I know in years to come young guns are gonna rise to the top and have their day. I wish you would see young riders run through the pack when they get a bad start but it doesn’t happen because most of the field, other than Tucker, is the same speed. Tucker is just that much faster. Thanks for writing in bud.

Well since there wasn’t a race last weekend I got nothing to complain about to get people pissed at me, haha, Well,  keep writing in people! I love what I’ve got to talk about on here and if I’m not right and you don’t like what I write….well to bad haha send me an email @  geargrinder@snox365.com. Bench race me all you want!

One Comment

  1. johnny lundon

    May 16, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    I want to say that I agree with levi on tucker. I believe that he has an advantage racing the old sleds! as a former wsa national racer the tracks back then were brutal compared to today and he learned to smooth those tracks out using equipment that smoothed nothing! they didn’t turn for your life and precision on the landings was so key! as the suspensions evolved so did tucker! he still hits everything with more precision than anyone else and understands that the track on the ground is still the fastest way around! I watched him lap the field at Duluth last year and the only thing he was doing better was his precision! its worth up to a second a lap to him when he is on and it showed! ross martin is a BOSS! and he couldn’t figure it out! I truly believe that tuckers wealth of experience has thought him to blend old school with new and that has been the demise of all the other competitors! Kody Kamm is so talented and fast but also O.C! tucker learned that Blair rode within himself and consistency is key to championships! I really enjoy watching the new sleds on the new tracks but the old jumps were built bigger and the holes on the other sides were ejection pits for fools who jumped a foot to long or short! I believe all this has contributed to the dominance that is T-Train!
    I just found this article and you have one new follower! Thanks Levi!