Garrett Goodwin

Grand Rapids, Michagan

SCI - Paraplegic

In July of 2011, a motocross accident forever changed the life of up and coming Ski-Doo snocross racer Garrett Goodwin. A member of one of the sport’s most notable families, Garrett worked through rehab, came to grips with the loss of use of his lower extremities and never looked back. Now, after having made a return the track in Lake Geneva last spring, Goodwin is on the entry list for the Winter X Games and couldn’t be happier.

I woke up Friday morning. My back was on fire and my triceps and shoulders screamed at me as I transferred into my chair. The morning after riding a snowmobile around a rough track for the first time in 9 months is always a rude reminder that countless hours in the gym just cannot get you into race shape.

Thursday was the first time I finally had a seat in rideable condition. I never realized how long it takes to design and build something from scratch, having nothing to work off of. I can’t thank Ken Neubauer of American Metalcraft Industries for his countless hours and help with the seat.

After my return to snocross last season in Lake Geneva, WI, we analyzed how the seat worked. There were several things that I didn’t like about how it moved and my position on the sled. We focused on were lowering my center of gravity and positioning my body in a more natural riding stance.

After making a new seat that fit my body better and fixing my position, it was time to try it out. I was surprised by how comfortable I felt in the turns, but then again I grew up in my dad’s snowmobile shop, Goodwin Performance, and raced since I was 5.

After a successful first ride, I made a lot of notes on things to improve, which I got to work on the next morning. One addition we made was adding Team secondary clutch springs to both sides of the seat to give me stability and support when moving side to side. My dad Greg, being a clutching wiz, had plenty lying around so we started playing with different spring rates. The overall ability of the seat really came down to getting the Fox Evol shock dialed in. One of the benefits to using this shock is that it uses air to control most of the dampening, giving it almost infinite adjustability.

Over the past few days, we made lots of little changes that all added up to a major improvement in the seat. One thing that is really helping me through the design process is my return to perusing a mechanical engineering degree at Grand Valley State University. The knowledge I’ve gained there has not only helped me develop the seat, but it’s also helped me better understand a snowmobile and how it works on a track. Using that, I know what needs to change in order for the sled to perform better, which will hopefully turn into success over the competition.

The biggest news in the sport, in my opinion, is the return of snocross to the Winter X Games. By far the most exposure the sport gets, fans get locked in to the smell of race fuel and the roar of hand built sleds ridden by the top racers in the world, and of course, the bar banging battles and spectacular crashes.

For myself to get invited to compete in Adaptive Snocross in Aspen was a dream come true for me. Growing up, every snocross racer’s dream is to race in the X-Games and of course win. After my injury, I sadly thought that dream was out the window. But I soon realized it was just on hold for a bit. I think the adaptive class really shows how much heart and passion racers have for the sport, continuing to do what they love after life changing injuries.

Whether you’re a pro, an adaptive racer, or even a junior rider, I think I can speak for all by saying we couldn’t do it without the fans. The support we receive from friends, family, and all the crazy people that stand out in the cold on race weekends really reminds us of why we continue to spend countless hours and money doing what we love. Without them, the sport and companies involved wouldn’t continue to grow.

Stay Strong!
Garrett Goodwin 333

One of the biggest obstacles with being an adaptive athlete is coming up with a solution that lets the rider be safe and comfortably positioned on the sled and still be able to maneuver in a competitive manner. Garrett's father Greg is former World Champion oval racer who has experienced the highest highs and lowest lows in racing. His support, as well as that of the entire Goodwin family and countless friends has been a big part of Garrett being able to climb back to the high side of a deep valley.  
Story Info Found and Recycled From -
More Info on Adaptive Snowmobile Seats at:
Some Photos taken by - Crystal Wallem