Two brothers from Humboldt are gaining ground with their sporting achievements.
While his brother Rusty is making waves in the world with a wakeboard, Robbie Malinoski is sticking to snowmobiles and making a name for himself in the winter sport of snowcross racing.
In fact, he’s more than making a name for himself this year. Malinoski is racing for Sheuring Speed Sports’ professional sports team, based in Minnesota, and currently sits in third place in the overall national snowcross championships for the United States.
“I’ve known them (Scheuring) for years in the industry,” Malinoski told the Journal in a telephone interview from his home in Minnesota. “They were going through some transitioning with their riders, and I was going through some transitioning with other teams, and it just worked out ever since.”
For Malinoski, who grew up in Humboldt, racing for Scheuring Speed Sports is a full-time job that means travelling and often being away from his wife and two children.
“It’s a year-round job,” he said. “We race six months out of the year, but the other six months are pretty much taken up with preparing, training, and getting ready for the season. It’s pretty intense.”
Snowcross racing, he explains, is like motocross racing on snow. They ride on snowmobiles and each rider, although he races individually, has six or seven guys working behind the scenes. A snowcross race is done on a typical racetrack set out within a confined area.
“You do laps, and there are jumps and bumps and big corners — hairpin turns — laid out right in front of you,” Malinoski said. “Races are anywhere from 12 to 15 minutes long, and that is anywhere from half a mile to a full mile in length.”
And it takes some training to be able to resist the kind of physical effort needed for snowcross racing.
Malinoski laughed and said, “It’s pretty much everything you would do from training to run a marathon to a workout for an MMA (mixed martial arts) fighter.”
When he spoke to the Journal, his most recent competition had been a two-day event in Farmington, New York, March 2-3. Because the tracks are built with man-made snow, racing events are not dependent on having the right amount of snow, however, it doesn’t always guarantee that ideal weather conditions will prevail, as Malinoski attests.
“That weekend it was really tough, with fifty-mile-an-hour gusts of wind, rain and snow,” he said. “It was really not the ideal kind of situation, in fact it was really kind of a difficult one.”
Nevertheless, he came away with a first-place win in Friday’s Pro Open category, and finished second in Saturday’s race.
“Every race counts toward an overall points championship, and if it were to be over today, I would be third overall in the Nationals,” Malinoski said. “But we have another six rounds left, so there’s plenty of time to make up the points and we need four more points to win the overall.”
The final race of the season is coming up on the weekend of February 16-17 outside of Chicago.
“We’re wrapping up now,” said Malinoski, “we’re coming to the end of a long season. We’re eight points out of first right now, and we’re sitting in third, so it’s going to be a tight battle.”