The 52nd Annual Canadian Power Toboggan Championships (CPTC) took place on March 1 and 2, 2014, in Beausejour, Manitoba, and it was Arctic Cat racer Gary Moyle of Houghton, Michigan, who won the prestigious Pro Champ 440 class.
Moyle has been a permanent fixture in ice oval racing since he first entered the scene in 1996. He has two world titles from Eagle River, Wisconsin, and this year was his third pro championship at Beausejour.
It wasn’t an easy win though. Two-thirds of the way through Saturday’s race, Moyle had to limp his sled to the side of the racetrack, but he came back with determination on Sunday, winning the main event.
SnoRiders caught up with the 33-year-old father of three to get the inside scoop on what happened in Beausejour, and what he has planned for next season.
What went wrong on Saturday?
I don’t know if it was the cold weather or what, but we had an ignition wire break that fed the coil and we just lost all engine power.
Who would you say was your toughest competitor at Beausejour?
Nick Van Strydonk (from Tomahawk, Wisconsin) was definitely a tough one to beat, and so was Travis Macdonald (from Gonor, Manitoba).
Now that the season is over, what will you be up to?
I’ll do some fishing in May and June, but we are such a seasonal company up here, so we’re pretty loaded for work.
What’s your day job?
Pretty much construction. We own a few gravel crushers and we sell concrete.
Are you married, with kids?
Who is your biggest fan?
That would be my oldest son, Dayton, who is 12, and he loves it.
Will he follow in his father’s footsteps?
Yeah. I’m looking at retiring when I’m 35 and I’m 33 now, so I have about two seasons left and then I’m probably going to start my oldest son in some form of cross-country, like the (United States X-Country Snowmobile Racing) circuit.
What are your plans for next winter?
I’ll probably do the Manitoba race at the beginning of the season. It’s a good test and tune for the start of the year because it’s a bigger track and it gives you the opportunity to try things and dial (your sled in). Then for sure Eagle River and probably Alexandria, Minnesota, and then the Manitoba race in March again.
Beausejour is your favourite?
I do like that track. It’s fast and it’s wide; it makes for good, clean racing up there. Some of the tracks we’ve ran in the past—like the shorter tracks—you get a lot more of a bottleneck in the first corner and that’s where a guy gets hurt a lot faster.
Have you had any major wipeouts?
Other than the traditional broken collarbone, I’ve had two broken legs but nothing too serious.
What is it about racing that you love the most?
The competitive spirit of it. You get five or six guys in a trailer for the weekend and you basically tune through every possible scenario with the sled. You make it work as efficient and as fast as possible, and then you try to get it to hold up for the whole race. That’s always a challenge in sprint racing. If you’re doing a qualifying setup, you could tune them up to go a little faster for like two laps, but they won’t make it even for five laps at that.
Do you tune to each track as well?
Yes. The bank tracks, like at Eagle River, are quite a bit different setups than the flat tracks, like the Beausejour race has.
How long does it take to tune between races?
Usually not more than six or eight hours of prep on the sled.
What’s your most memorable moment so far in racing?
When we were racing with Jacques Villeneuve and Terry Wahl (in 2006) and we were in the 600 Open class, and there were only about five of us with really fast open sleds. It was a class they got rid of because the speeds were too high, but that year we were hitting 113 miles per hour on that racetrack with those sleds. It was a great race with the front-runners. It was a hard-fought battle.
Well, we look forward to seeing you defend your title next season, Gary. Before we hang up, is there anything else you’d like to add?
The guys in Manitoba at that race in particular are just exceptionally good racers. They bend over backwards for you to put on a good show. And every year, there is always a good turnout, no matter what the weather is like. This year, it was really cold but the fence was still full, there were people in the stands, all of the hot seats were full and there were cars around the track. It was good to see so many people still come out, even in cold weather like that.