Craig riders finish strong in snocross |

Craig riders finish strong in snocross

Nate Waggenspack

AJ Stoffle, 15, of Craig, gets air during the International Series of Champions Snocross race in Fargo, N.D., in March. Stoffle and other Craig riders finished up their snocross seasons recently, claiming several regional points championships.

With winter coming to an end in Northwest Colorado, so too has the snocross racing season.

Xtreme Mountain Racing, which pits snowmobile riders from Colorado, Wyoming and Utah against one another, finished its season with more championships for Craig riders.

Wesley Chapman, competing for the first time in the Pro Lite division, earned a points championship in Pro Lite 1 and took second in Pro Lite 2. Points are accrued throughout the course of the season based on place of finish in each race.

AJ Stoffle and Austin Gabbert, also from Craig, were the top two racers in both sport divisions. Stoffle was first in Sport 1 and 2, while Gabbert was runner-up in both divisions.

Gabbert also competed in the Xtreme division this season, earning a points championship.

In the younger divisions, 7-year-old Tallyn Wagner took fourth in the junior 7 to 10 division and second in the 120cc division for smaller snowmobiles.

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For the local riders, winning XMR was no surprise; they are all coming off points championships last season, as well. But they moved up in divisions to face faster riders and had a slow start to the season without snow to practice on in Craig for the early portion of the winter.

"It was a really good season," said Stoffle, 15. "It was very eventful, but we pulled out well in the end. Keeping the sleds together was quite an operation this year, but it all worked out."

Stoffle said there were more breakdown issues than normal with their snowmobiles this season, making most weekends an adventure in trying to prepare for races. But as the season wore on and the riders got more time on snow, they improved dramatically.

That never was more clear than in the national competitions. Stoffle attended the International Series of Champions race in Duluth, Minn., to start the season in 2012 but did not qualify for the finals in his 14-17 division.

He later medaled at an ISOC event in Deadwood, S.D., and most recently, Stoffle attended a race in Fargo, N.D., and qualified in fifth for the finals race. He wasn't able to race because of sled issues the following day, but he said it increased his confidence.

"I've definitely got more confidence at the national level," he said. "I never made the podium at a national event till this year. (In Fargo) I raced against the same kids I would have in the final the next day at a regional event and won. So I know I can race with the best."

Stoffle thanked the local sponsors who made it possible for him to pursue his passion in snocross for another season. He has big plans for the next year of riding, as well.

"I hope to go out and do really well at all the national races," he said. "Maybe get a seat riding for a team with how well I do."

Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 970-875-1795 or

Craig rider finishes in Xtreme Mountain Racing 2012-13 season

Pro Lite 1 — Wesley Chapman, first

Pro Lite 2 — Wesley Chapman, second

Sport Stock 1 — AJ Stoffle, first; Austin Gabbert, second

Sport Stock 2 — AJ Stoffle, first; Austin Gabbert, second

XMR Xtreme — Austin Gabbert, first

Junior 7-10 — Tallyn Wagner, fourth

120cc — Tallyn Wagner, second