By Jennifer Mayerle

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s a warm Friday for the winter sport of snocross. The national championship is going on at Canterbury Park in Shakopee.

It’s about 50-degrees warmer than when the competition was held here last year.

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“It’s just crazy action sport, and I love being in the action where it happens, you know, sleds flying all over and the sound that they make is just awesome,” said rider Peter Narsa.

Conditions make a difference when it comes to snocross.

“This is unheard of. I mean, we love this as a crew because we can be comfortable and it’s great to spectators, too,” said head flagger Brian “Ice” Allen.

Temperatures in the 40s make it comfortable to watch outside.

“I should be in a tank top watching today it’s great out here. You get a suntan,” said Matt Farley of St. Louis Park.

(credit: CBS)

But it can be tricky keeping the track intact.

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“You will see a change with the warmth that we have today and the sun, we like to call it mashed potatoes,” Allen said. “It’s really soft, it’s a challenging day for the groomer drivers because the jump faces will deteriorate rather quickly.”

The track becomes soft and forgiving for riders. It’s the opposite from this time last year, when the track was closer to concrete and spectators stayed inside. Last January it was below zero on race day.

Narsa stays focused whatever the terrain.

“It won’t change my riding too much. The only problem is … you can’t see hardly at all, so you have to wipe the snow off the goggles all the time,” he said.

People can get closer to the action with a pit pass. Teams hope warm, sunny days will make watching the sport more attractive.

“See what it takes to actually put the snowmobiles on track. It’s not just the rider out there. It’s a whole team sport, and to be able to get as close as you can in snocross is really unique,” Nate Hentges of Hentges Racing said.

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With warm temperatures and sun expected on Saturday, Canterbury expects they could break a snocross attendance record. Racing continues until 10 p.m. Friday night. Gates open at 8 a.m. on Saturday.

Jennifer Mayerle