ID - Select few things can lay
claim to being the fastest in the world.
Cheetahs are the fastest land animal, reaching speeds as
high as 75 miles
per hour, and peregrine falcons are the fastest bird, tearing through the sky
at speeds of more than 230
miles per hour.
Usian Bolt, the Olympic gold medal-winning sprinter from Jamaica, is
currently considered the fastest human being.
And the fastest snowbike rider on the planet? That would be
Sandpoint's Derick Driggs, who has never lost a race in a sport invented in Idaho just a few years
ago. He was tested again recently at Flashpoint in McCall, ID,
billed as the world's premier snowbike snowcross event, smoking the competition
for his 16th straight win.
He can also fly, having jumped 102 feet two years ago during
Sled Fest at Schweitzer, and is currently working with the Guinness Book of
World Records to document the feat.
Equal parts daredevil, motorcycle enthusiast and pioneer,
Driggs is a driving force in a new adventure sport that could be on the verge
of exploding in popularity.
"It's fun to be part of something that is new. I've been the
first person to do a lot of things on snowbikes," says Driggs, 31, who works
for Wells Fargo Bank in Sandpoint,
ID. "My main goal is to get the
sport exposure and push the boundaries. It's been awesome to be on the streak,
and be known as the guy to beat out there."
Snowbikes are motorcycles equipped with a one-ski, track-driven
conversion kit, allowing them to go places a snowmobile would normally travel.
The races are essentially supercross on snow, with riders jumping, passing and
fighting for space around a track.
Timbersled, a Kootenai company owned by Allen Mangum, makes
the conversion kits that allow the machines to rip along the snow with
incredible speed and agility. Driggs likens the potential of snowbiking to
snowboarding, once a fringe sport that eventually became nearly as popular as
"It has the possibility to be equally as popular as
snowmobiles," says Driggs, who feels the sport will eventually grab the
attention of the X Games. "Our group has been pioneering this, racing with the
Mountain West Racing Series."
The Sandpoint area is a hotbed for the sport, comprising
nearly half of the 24-person field in McCall, which raced in four heats based
upon skill level. In the main A draw, Sandpoint's Wade Burnett finished third
behind Driggs, while Mangum proved he can not only build the bikes, but ride
them as well, finishing fifth. Clark Ford's Ty Oliver and Wyatt Stevens,
Cocolalla's Chad Moore and Dan Wanous, and Sagle's Doug Gunter, Ray Peck and
Dale Mangum were also in action on the 7/8-mile twisty track built on a golf
While the racing is fun, Driggs believes the true beauty of
the snowbike is the back-country places that can now be traveled. Unlike a
motorcycle, which is confined to a track, trail or road, snowbikes can go
anywhere the driver wants to take them.
"It's like riding on a cloud," says Driggs, lauding the soft
flotation technology heretofore only experienced on a snowmobile. "You have the
freedom to go places you couldn't imagine. It allows you to experience anything
you want and it's fun to push the boundaries."
Driggs will be looking to defend his fifth annual Sled Fest
snowbike title at Schweitzer in April and also might try and break his jumping