Levi Lavallee Talks Snowmobiling
by Scott A. Sumner
Over my many years of traveling to Duluth, MN to cover snocross racing one of my favourite people to spend some time with is Levi Lavallee!This year we talked about a wide range of snowmobile topics.
Levi there is significant change happening with the sport of snocross this year?
“ There is a lot of change with the new Pro Open rule going to more of a stock platform. There are mixed opinions on this rule. I personally think it will be a great thing for the sport and for racing. There is
no secret there are a handful of elite teams with big budgets. They could build whatever their money will take them to with their mod sleds. The advantage of the fastest sled, the lightest sled is with the
elite teams and the faster guys are then even faster. Having a more level field with everyone basically having the same equipment gives the guys with less funds a better opportunity to compete. It also gives
them the idea mentally, I just have to beat this guy at riding skills, I don’t have to beat them mechanically. Some of the teams have crew chiefs with 20 to 30 years of experience which you don’t have to beat
anymore, just the kid that’s racing.”
“ For an example, I tried terrain racing where you race the side by sides with no changes to the machine. I just had to acquire the skills to drive this thing the way it needed to be fast. I went out and practiced a bunch and had fairly good results.”
“ If you have a bigger budget you can tweek every last thing to make it lighter, faster. It may be the most minimal thing saving an oz but it can add up. The front ends were lighter before that this years sled so
the teams have to revalve.”
“ It might broaden the field given say with the example of Corin Todd who is running as an independent this year. This rule gives a guy like Corin Todd the opportunity to be competitive now. I’m hoping for him to do well.”
What is your impression of the 2018 Polaris race sled?
Polaris has had a consistent race sled that has been good for so long. We have been able to take a good sled and refine it, making improvements.”
“ We will be able to see where we are at Duluth. Kody Kamm is running the number 1 plate and that hasn’t been done in snocross for awhile. Kyle Pallin will do well. We switched to Walker Evans shocks on the race team. They work out of the race shop. Kyle really likes the shocks.”
I recently saw your amazing snowmobile video shot in downtown St Paul
MN. Tell me about that experience Levi.
“ We shot the video in January 2016. It was a dream come true for me doing the video riding snowmobiles in downtown St Paul. When you are a kid and you first learn how to jump things you look at the world
different. I wonder if you could jump that. I always thought about the skateboarders and BMX riders who turn the city into their playground. If you could ride a snowmobile in the city that would be amazing. I
kind of pitched the idea to Red Bull and they said lets do it.”
“ It took 6 days to film it. We went down before hand and surveyed everything and then duplicated all the jumps at my compound. I had practices at home first. It was an amazing experience for me!”
How long have you been coming to this Duluth race?
My first time at Duluth racing was in 1996 at age 14. I was so nervous. I had been going to the races with my dad and kept thinking this is the big show, the real deal with all the top pros.”
“ Dad said one day do you want to try Duluth. We had an 18 foot enclosed trailer and I was the only one that was short enough to stand up in the trailer!
How long have you been out of snocross racing?
“ I raced to 2014 in snocross but will be continued on in the X Games again this year in the Speed and Style and Freestyle events. It was a lot fun racing with memories up, down, sideways- I’ve had it all.
Racing kept me out of trouble in my high school years but also established a lot of really good life lessons about working hard that will carry on. As I got into racing with all the fine details, it made
me a more detail-oriented person. You focus on the small things.”
Did you get to do any trail riding last season Levi?
We rode from the Grand Rapids, MN area to my home. I was a keynote speaker at an event there. I asked my wife if she could drive the truck with a double trailer home so we could trail ride. The trails were
freshly groomed and great. Anything and everything about snowmobiling- that is what we are about.”