By Tara Mathews
HOWARD LAKE, MN Jason Helmbrecht of Howard Lake has been racing snowmobiles for three years, but recently his sons, Parker and Peyton, and brother, Nick, have begun racing, as well.
“I got my little brother started,” Jason noted. “And my sons have been racing since they were pre-school age.”
Jason began driving snowmobiles at 8 years old, and riding snowmobiles for other people in races they could not attend for many years, before racing his own machine.
“Now my mom, dad, wife, brother, sons, and grandma have joined my interest in racing,” he commented.
Snowmobile racing is now a family event for the Helmbrechts.
“My wife is at all of my races; she gives me a lot of support,” Jason stated.
Jason’s grandma, Marilyn, always attends his summer races; his aunt, JoAnn, attends most of his races; and mother, Sue, and father, Joe, are his pit crew.
His cousin, Aaron, helps with maintenance and on race day, as well.
This season, Jason has won four first place trophies, the most recent being a world championship race in Eagle River, WI, and the Alex Winter Spectacular in Alexandria.
He also competes at the Waconia Ride-in, and various pond racing events.
The family business, J&J Sports, sponsors Jason’s snowmobile racing.
Fast pace family
Jason’s son, Parker, 12, began Snocross racing at 4 years old, and won a third place trophy during his first season.
His son, Peyton, 8, began Snocross racing about four years ago and has won some second place trophies in his short career.
“Parker is onto the big guy sleds now,” Jason commented.
Parker recently began driving a 2007 Skidoo 550cc, which is a full-size snowmobile, and Peyton races an Arctic Cat 120cc.
Both boys also race dirt bikes, and four-wheeler classes; and Parker has raced go karts.
He has won second and third place in go kart races, Motocross (dirt bikes), and ATV (all terrain vehicle) races.
“We don’t follow any racing circuit,” Jason noted. “It’s more of a hobby.”
Jason and Nick race cars in Arlington, as well.
“My brother and I do everything together,” he said. “We actually race against each other in Arlington.”
Last year, his family had three wins in Arlington, Jason said.
Jason and Nick have acquired local sponsors for summer racing, such as J&J Sports, K-Way Express, JMS Custom Services, and Corner Bar and Grill in Winsted; and Engelke Machine in Lester Prairie.
“Nick and I work together with everything,” he said.