Craig’s AJ Stoffle making strides in snocross career | CraigDailyPress.com

Craig’s AJ Stoffle making strides in snocross career

Moffat County native racing for Minnesota-based team

If there are two things AJ Stoffle looks forward to each winter, it’s fresh powder and lots of horsepower, and his season has had plenty of both.

At 19, Stoffle has spent the majority of his life involved in snocross racing, and the Craig native is going stronger than ever in his career.

As part of the AMSOIL SnocrossAMSOIL Snocross national circuit’s sport class, the 2016 Moffat County High School graduate rides for national circuit's sport class, the 2016 Moffat County High School graduate rides for Haala RacingHaala Racing, based in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota., based in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota.

AMSOIL Snocross national circuit's sport class, the 2016 Moffat County High School graduate rides for Haala Racing, based in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota.

Most recently, Stoffle took on a November race in Duluth, Minnesota and the Country Cat Snocross National, held Dec. 16 and 17 in Winter Park.

Stoffle made the finals in both segments of the event, and more than anything he enjoyed the return to regular snow in his home state of Colorado.

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"The elevation is a big change for a lot of people, but we were used to it," he said. "Winter Park snow was half-manmade, half-real, which makes a difference, and in Minnesota we're used to riding strictly manmade."

The winters up north have had less snowfall than he's used to, though the climate is far chillier with the humidity, he added.

Stoffle has been living in Minnesota as part of his racing with Haala but is back in Moffat County for the holidays, bringing visitors with him.

Alex Berglund, of Bollnäs, Sweden, is a 24-year-old fellow racer who rides for Haala's pro lite class. Alex and his father, Leif, will be joining the Stoffle family for Christmas before the two athletes need to head back north to prepare for the Pirtek Snocross National in Shakopee, Minnesota.

The snocross scene is somewhat different for Alex than in his native country, apart from the similar terrain. Laps around the tracks in the United States are far shorter, but the AMSOIL operation in the States is a much bigger deal than its counterpart in Sweden.

"It's not as big as it is here," Alex said. "Everything is a little bit bigger here with all the semis and everyone who comes to watch the race. It's much more professional here."

Leif, who owns a snowmobile dealership, added that racing in the USA is a major goal for Europeans in the sport.

Racing as part of a team provides some big opportunities, Stoffle said, most notably equipment.

"Going from privateering to riding for a team has been a big change," he said. "It's nice having support, a full-time mechanic and a side mechanic too. The sleds are always 100 percent and that's nothing we ever have to worry about. They're ready as long as we're ready."

Stoffle's past season racing for AMSOIL saw him seriously injure his back earlier this year during a race in Salamanca, New Yorkseriously injure his back earlier this year during a race in Salamanca, New York. Despite some concern that his career in the high-speed sport might be done, he has made a full recovery of the damaged area, the L1, L2, L3 and tailbone.. Despite some concern that his career in the high-speed sport might be done, he has made a full recovery of the damaged area, the L1, L2, L3 and tailbone.

seriously injure his back earlier this year during a race in Salamanca, New York. Despite some concern that his career in the high-speed sport might be done, he has made a full recovery of the damaged area, the L1, L2, L3 and tailbone.

"Everything's healed up 100 percent, I was able to get back in the gym this summer, and I haven't had any problems with it at all," he said. "This has been what I've always wanted to do, and nothing's stopped me yet."

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.