DATE OF INDUCTION: February 22, 2007
CAREER SPAN: 1977–1999
COMPETITION TYPE: Water Cross
BRANDS REPRESENTED: Ski-Doo
AGE AT INDUCTION: 44
A pioneer in the fascinating summer variant of snowmobile competition known as watercross, Maki is a unique innovator who began his very successful career just as this summertime sport was emerging, racing at the very first event held at Grantsburg, Wisconsin, in 1977. While the early years were more about just getting a snowmobile across a stretch of shoreline on a summer lake, Maki brought a love of machinery and an active imagination to the task, developing techniques and innovations that helped to steadily develop this form of competition.
Soft-spoken and unassuming, Maki nonetheless became a major figure in his chosen warm weather competition variant during the 1970’s and 80’s. He single handedly developed many of the key chassis set-up and clutching techniques that enable snowmobiles to perform on water, permitting the vehicles to race side-by-side on circular courses, handle waves and make surprisingly sharp turns in an amazing replication of the ice oval form of snowmobile racing contested in winter.
The measure of his tremendous success is clear in the 12 high-point watercross championships Mark Maki scored between 1977 and 1999 as well as The World Snowmobile Watercross record he set in 1986 with a non-stop 61 mile run that ended only when he ran out of fuel. His many victories, records and innovative race sleds identify him as Watercross’s leading innovator as well as it’s most successful fabricator and competitor in a truly unique and singular category of snowmobile competition.