For Canadian Yanick Boucher, there is no off season. When he’s not racing dirt bikes in the summer, he converts his bike into a snowbike and races in SnowCross during the winter months. We catch up with the 2018-2019 Snowbike Champion to find out more about what snowbiking is and the importance of lubricants in this extreme sport.
Yanick, on Instagram you call your snow bike a Yeti SnowMx. What is SnowMx?
Yeti is the name of the brand that supplies the kit and SnowMx is the name of the sport of snow biking. It’s what I do in the winter. It’s a kit that adapts to a dirt bike. So, you remove the bike’s wheels and swing arm and mount a track kit and a ski on the front, and then we go racing.
Is it the same dirt bike you use in the summer season?
Yep, same bike. We just modify a couple of things, so that the motor can stay running up to temperature in the cold winter and stiffen up the forks. But it’s basically the same bike.
How different does it feel going from two wheels to a ski and a track? How different is the bike to ride?
It does feel quite a bit different. As far as being on a bike, you’re still sitting in the same position, except now you don’t have a front wheel turning but a ski. There’s a lot more traction at the back than you get with a wheel, but at the same time it’s a lot different to steer. You’re not trying to turn the bars but just leaning the bike one way or the other. It’s a little tricky to get used to at first especially when I go back and forth during the seasons from dirt to snow. But it’s a tonne of fun.
Motul is a partner of yours in both your dirt bike racing and SnowMx. What benefits do its products bring to your racing?
Yes, Motul supports us with both seasons. It has great products that help us year-round, in both winter and summer. In the winter, we use a different motor oil because of the colder temperatures, and then in the summer we’ll switch to a thicker oil. We also use Motul’s brake fluids, shock fluids, fork fluids and the cleaning products, which we use in both seasons.
How important are good quality lubricants in SnowMx? I can imagine the conditions are quite demanding on the bikes.
For sure. In the wintertime, you must contend with the cold factor and the snow. The engine’s always getting roosted with snow or it’s in the cold, so having proper fluid in there and keeping on top of maintenance is key for durability. Especially so as the bike is turning a bigger track and we must compensate for the extreme temperatures. Motul is definitely a good product and we’ve been using it for the past five or six years on the snow bikes and we’ve always had wicked durability.
How’s your season going? You must be well into it at this stage?
We’re halfway through the season right now and I’m on the road to the next round at the weekend. It’s been good so far. I’ve had some bad luck, which has been keeping me from getting more points, but we’re showing great speed and we’re currently third in the championship.
We’ve talked about the importance of lubricants in snow bike racing, but what skills are required from the rider?
Dirt biking skills are definitely handy, and also snow mobile. I had experience of both coming into the sport of snow biking. Once you get on snow, things change a lot. Snow changes every lap a lot more than dirt does. So, you’re always constantly trying to adapt to that. Having the experience of being able to adapt to the snow definitely helps.