By Dan Hardenbrook
Newberry native Dan Maki and teammate Tyler Town capped off a wild weekend to remember by winning the Midwest International Racing Association’s (MIRA) Pro Enduro World Championship in Eagle River, Wisconsin on Sunday. The duo took turns driving the Kovar-Pike Racing #34 sled to a win in the 130-lap contest, claiming the championship and label of World’s Best.
The weekend started with a strong qualifying run placing Maki and Town in a top five starting position after time trials on Friday. Enduro races traditionally feature drivers in teams of two, splitting long distance oval races by switching drivers during a mandatory stop midway through. Maki typically takes off first, then Town takes the sled to the finish. But the two swapped spots for this race.
Town took on the field and held his ground, staying in the top five for the entire first half of the race. He entered the pits for the plow break and swap in fifth place.
A key pitstop put Maki, a local racing veteran on bikes and on snow, in the front of the pack. Maki moved into first place just past the midway point and never looked back, holding on for the checkered flag and the win.
Maki held off an elite field of racers, working around several cautions and restarts to win the World Championship. With a championship performance in the pits from the Kovar Pike Pit Crew, the entire team celebrated a milestone win to start the snowmobile racing season.
The MIRA Pro Enduro World Championship is the start of a season-long, multi-race event that will crown a circuit champion later this year after other races around the Midwest. Town and Maki will now make their way to the greatest snowmobile race of all when they compete in the famed I-500 in Sault Ste Marie the first weekend in February.