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Racers ready for the enduro track

Reiss Sandler speeds past the grandstand crowd at the Stevens County fairgrounds during the enduro race at the Stevens County Fair in 2017. Brooke Kern / Stevens County Times1 / 3
Dylan DeToy gives his car some paint before race day at the Stevens County Fair Thursday, Aug. 9, in Morris. DeToy drives a 1977 Oldsmobile Cutlass. Submitted photo2 / 3
Reiss Sandler with his 1978 Chevy Caprice. Sandler will be #67 on the track Thursday. Submitted photo3 / 3

Dylan DeToy, 19, of Morris and Reiss Sandler, 17, of Norcross are two of many that plan on participating in the enduro races at Stevens County Fair this week.

DeToy races a 1977 Oldsmobile Cutlass with a 350 Chevy motor. Sandler drives a 1978 Chevy Caprice. Sandler’s car had been an asphalt track car for about 10 years when he first got it three years ago, he said.

The biggest difference between an asphalt track, dirt track, and an enduro dirt track is the mud.

“It gets really muddy, especially if you start towards the back of the pack,” Sandler said. “I don’t have too much of a visibility problem as long as I have enough tear offs on my helmet.”

A tear off is a clear sheet of plastic that goes over the shield of your helmet that you can tear off when it has a lot of mud on it.

“Normally you have about 20 on your helmet (at the start of a race),” Sandler said.

Just like in any competition, there are rules for enduro racing, though most are for general safety. Sandler said, “There are some specific rules on engine and suspension modifications.”

It’s not against the rules to brake during a race, but it is difficult when the track is wet, Sandler said.

“There's no traction and you start sliding right away,” Sandler said. “There’s no rule against it, but usually you don’t unless you’re following someone into the corner.”

It’s not like auto racing where speeds easily exceed 100 miles per hour.

“I’d say you’re really going anywhere from 30 to 70 miles per hour depending on track conditions,” Sandler said. “I used to get a little nervous, but now that I've done it a few times I'm always just excited to get on the track and go.”

Even after a few years of racing, DeToy still has pre-race jitters before every race.

“After the first couple laps I get over the nervousness,” DeToy said.

Both cars needed some work before they got on the track.

“The car belongs to my dads good friend Jason Stoneburg. He had it stored at our place for a few years with a blown motor. I got it into the shop and with some help, got the new motor in and running,” DeToy said.

“The big stuff I’ve done was a roll cage, transmission, wheels and tires,” Sandler said.

Sandler said converting the car to a dirt track car added a lot of modifications as well.

“I had to put mud flaps on the car, change the exhaust setup so it wouldn't drag in the dirt, add screen where the windshield used to be, and cover the nose of the car so the radiator won't pack full of mud,” Sandler said of some of the basic modifications to convert the car.

The atmosphere on race day keeps DeToy coming back each year.

“The best part of racing is being at the track with all of my friends doing something we all love and having a great time,” DeToy said.

Along with the Stevens County Fair enduro race, DeToy has also raced at Browns Valley and the Big Stone County Fair, in Clinton.

“My friends Hayden Anderson and Blake Engebretson got me started enduro racing. They both had cars before I did,” DeToy said.

The Stevens County Fair enduro race is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 9, at the Stevens County fairgrounds in Morris.

Brooke Kern

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