At 16, Matt LaMourea already has more than a decade of snowmobile racing under his belt.
He squeezed the throttle on his first race when he was five and has spent the better part of the last 11 winters honing his craft across the Midwest, bringing home hardware in nearly every category open to him along the way.
This winter the Eveleth-Gilbert junior will take all that experience and time on the back of sleds to the next level, joining Scheuring Speed Sports in Aurora and competing for one the country’s premier snocross race teams in the Pro Lite ranks.
“This is an incredible opportunity I have in front of me to train and learn from two of the best drivers in the world as well as having the support of one of the best crews and teams in the sport. I am very excited about this opportunity,” Matt said in a news release announcing the addition to the team earlier this month.
He will join owner Steve Scheuring’s star-studded team which is led by perennial Pro class contender Lincoln Lemieux and former Pro Lite Champion Hunter Patenaude, who will be making his rookie debut in the premier division.
The team also includes Nate Lavalley, who runs in the Sport Lite class.
The Eveleth-Gilbert teen said by email last week that he has spent a lot of time over the year practicing at the KLIM Compound (Scheuring’s state-of-the-art snocross testing facility in Aurora) and had gotten to know the owner and the team before joining.
But just knowing them wasn’t what earned him the spot – Matt’s years of hard work and success that got him there.
Inspired in part by his father Jeff, who raced part-time competitively from 1995 to 2008, He started his career competing in KCPro East ice racing and after a year moved into International Series of Champions (ISOC) Snocross, participating in both circuits for a few years before switching to snocross full-time.
Snocross racing combines big-air jumps and speed. It’s like motocross but on snow and is extremely popular across the country and the world and has been a featured event in the X Games since 1998.
He found success from the start.
“I started racing on the 120cc mini sleds and then the first full size sled, Sno Pro 500, when I was eight. (My) first National Podium (3rd) was in Deadwood S.D. when I was eight racing the 8 to 12-year- old junior class,” Matt said.
“This racing was just a hobby of ours, some kids play school sports, Matt wanted to race snowmobiles and dirt bikes,” Jeff LaMourea said. “Matt has done well racing since he’s started. I was hoping he would end up with a team once he graduated from school, but he had offers from multiple teams to race for this year. (He has had) natural talent since he started but spends a lot of time riding and practicing to get better.”
Over the years there have been multiple ISOC Regional championships in the Transition, JR 10-13, Sport lite, and Sport classes through the years of racing and numerous wins on the ISOC Snocross Regional and National tour along with multiple cross-country race wins.
“Last year in Deadwood at the National Snocross I got on the podium in all four classes I raced, Sport Lite and Sport, that was my most successful weekend to date,” Matt said.
When it comes to snocross racing, there are about a dozen classes and according to ISOC rules, riders advance upwards through them after meeting various requirements.
While the competition has no doubt been tough at times as LaMourea has moved up through the ranks, there’s no doubt his move to Pro Lite will feel like stepping out of the kiddie pool and dipping a toe into the deep end.
Business, as they say, is about to pick up.
“Sport class is the last step before Pro Lite. There are still a lot of family teams and younger riders in the Sport Lite and Sport class, once you get to the Pro Lite class there’s a lot of big teams with factory backing and extensive support,” Matt said.
His father, for one, believes he is ready.
“To be competitive, he trains year-round, is ready and in shape when the winter season starts. It’s not common for riders his age to have the results he’s had racing snocross,” Jeff said.
The season will start in November, as practice will begin in earnest at that point. Matt will be riding the same sleds as his teammates and getting the same support available to the two pros – Lemieux and Patenaude - on the team, both of which he is looking forward to working with.
He will ride a 2021 Ski-Doo 600RS, and wear sponsorship from Amsoil US Air Force, Ford, Klim, Milwaukee tools, Ski-doo, FOX, Jeff Foster Trucking, Woody’s, Goodwin Performance, Hayes, C&A Pro Skis, Action Graphics and Rox.
And his parents, Jeff and his mom Carrie, who have been there from the start, will be trackside every weekend from Thanksgiving through mid-March, cheering him on at places like Canterbury Park and Elk River, in Minnesota, Fargo, Deadwood, New York, Michigan, Iowa, Lake Geneva, Wis.
“He was successful last year with two old race sleds with lots of time on them. It’s going to be fun to see what he can do with new sleds, prepped by the best team in the sport, and racing in the Pro-Lite class,” Jeff said.