In August, AJ Stoffle, of Craig, received his first factory sponsorship to race Snocross, with Skidoo investing in him. During the winter, the Craig snow sports enthusiast made Skidoo look smart.
The recently 16-year-old Stoffle just finished with his national circuit of AMSOIL Snocross races in Lake Geneva, Wisc., coming home with his fourth straight impressive finish against other young riders from across the U.S.
Stoffle took fourth place in the junior 14 to 15 division and second in the junior 16 to 17 division, a class higher than he technically needs to race at AMSOIL events. That was after placing third in both classes in Fargo, N.D., and recording a second and fourth place finish in Deadwood, S.D., earlier this winter.
A year after heading to national events and learning he had some work to do, Stoffle came back in the 2013-14 season much improved.
“It was a really good year,” he said about the season. “Last time I was out there, I was more worried about trying to make the final. This year, I was fighting to get on the podium at every race.”
Those finishes have Stoffle thinking his dream of riding for a team all the time could come true.
“This is kind of the time (Stoffle’s age) when sponsors are really starting to look at you,” he said. “I’ve been talking to the director of the whole Skidoo team and it’s been cool.”
Despite the lengthy trips required of Stoffle and his parents to get to the national events, he hopes to move up another division next year to the Sport class and make at least six events. In Sport, there is a season-long points championship to consider in addition to individual race honors. Based on the way this season went, Stoffle is confident he can compete at the next level.
“I got a lot faster this year and there were a couple kids who moved up (to Sport) at the last race this year who did well,” he said. “Me and them were pretty equal. The big thing is Sport, you’re going against close to 100 riders, where juniors is more like 40.”
Stoffle also has challenged himself in the regional Snocross circuit, Rocky Mountain Snowmobile Racing. He has taken on the Pro Lite division this year and been closer to the middle of the pack, but credits the experience with helping him grow overall.
“I’ve learned a lot. I joined that hoping I would get faster and I think I have,” he said. “It’s about more than winning in my juniors division for me. My goals are bigger than that.”
Contact Nate Waggenspack at 970-875-1795 or nwaggenspack@CraigDailyPress.com.