The crew was on site in Bessemer to capture all of Friday’s action. Watch for a full recap to follow.
Tucker Hibbert lapped the field in the Pro Open final, capping a day in which he was untouchable throughout qualifying aboard his Monster Energy Arctic Cat. Fellow Cat rider Cody Thomsen made a solid return from nearly a full season away due to injury, finishing second after a hard fought battle with Kyle Pallin.
It was Pallin’s first Pro Open podium, after getting close a couple of times last season but not quite sealing the deal. Pallin actually made a move inside of Thomsen in the closing laps and briefly held the advantage before Thomsen made the final move for the runner-up spot.
Ross Martin crashed hard while giving chase to Hibbert early in the going and was forced to work from nearly a lap down once he remounted. Dominator winner Tim Tremblay was involved in an incident early on and withdrew from the final after making only a couple of laps. AMSOIL teammate Robbie Malinoski was black flagged for jumping the start of the race and had to pull over while running third.
James Johnstad made a successful return to the Pro Lite class after nearly a season away when he was injured in Shakopee, Minnesota last January. Johnstad was leading the Pro Lite point standings at the time but this was his first class win. Andrew Carlson made a remarkable comeback from perhaps one of the most severe injuries of last season, finishing second on his Polaris, less than eight months after suffering a dislocated knee that damages nearly every structure in the joint. Visiting Carlson Motorsports teammate Marcus Johansson of Sweden, rounded out the podium in third.
Full report and photo gallery coming Monday.
For full results, click HERE.
Here are a few images from all of the action that went down Friday night as the ACS tour opened with Sport racing and the AMSOIL Dominator
The first two incarnations of the AMSOIL Dominator were a big hit with race fans who made their way to the annual Friday night show at Spirit Mountain in Duluth, Minnesota. And, while the first round of this year’s spectacle was a little uneventful, save for Cody Thomsen’s start-to-finish upset of two-time champ Ross Martin, round two and the ensuing semi-finals and final, sealed its fate as one of the best one-off events to be dreamed up in a long time.
The action on Friday heated up rather nicely at the start of the second round, when Tucker Hibbert jumped to a quick lead over Justin Broberg. But when Hibbert held it on just a little too long at the top of the hill, he overshot the berm, hooked a ski and barrel rolled out of the racing line, making way for Broberg to motor by for the win.
In the next heat, fellow Arctic Cat pilots Cody Thomsen and Logan Christian went at it up the hill with Christian showing a slight advantage as they started to make the turn. Thomsen then jumped across his line in a move that left no doubt about his desire to re-establish himself after a season away due to injury. Thomsen would hold on for the win and eventually find himself as the wildcard pick into the new 3 man final, based on turning the fastest lap of the non-winners in the semi-finals.
AMSOIL teammates Malinoski and Tremblay dispatched of their quarter-final foes with relative ease and then did the same in the semi-finals, setting up a showdown between the two and Thomsen. Tremblay jumped to a slight lead at the start, with the riders actually touching in mid-air as they navigated the first set of rollers. Thomsen made a run up the inside but the battle was clearly going to be between the Ski-doo teammates.
Tremblay extended the gap slightly over the next lap and a half leading the pair to a finish reminiscent of last year’s Scheuring Speed Sports domination on the hill.
Pleasant Prairie, WI—Yamaha is pleased to announce that it’s supported riders will appear at select snocross races early this season as part of its testing ahead of the USXC cross country racing season. “We have been working on our new SR Viper RTX race sleds all summer and fall,” explained Yamaha Snowmobile Racing’s Eric Josephsen. “Our team has developed a great setup on the new sled with an eye on our primary goal, which is to win the USXC Pro title this season and be a consistent podium finisher in RMSHA. With this new sled, we want to test it in competition before the season gets under way, like a preseason football game. That will let us work out any hiccups before we get to the Pine Lake race.”
Reigning USXC Semi-Pro Champ Ben Lindbom will return to the team in the Pro ranks this season, and is joined by Pro rider Matt Piche on the Cross Country circuit. Both riders plan to gain seat time at the first two ISOC events in Duluth, MN, and Bessemer, MI, before they begin the battle for the Cross Country title.
Yamaha has also hired Steve Taylor to participate in the ISOC test and development sessions. “Most people know Steve as a fierce snocross competitor,” explained Josephsen. “But he is also a very talented and methodical testing and development rider. He brings a lot of experience and enthusiasm to the team.
“We know this is an unconventional way to start a race season,” Josephsen added. “But we think it will give us a lot of momentum and insight into the new sleds as the USXC season gets going.”
Yamaha fans can follow the team throughout the season at facebook.com/YamahaSnowmobilesUSA and youtube.com/user/YamahaSnowmobilesUSA.
This week we are on location at ground zero for pre-season testing and have interviews with all of the top Pro Lite riders as we breakdown the class favorites and hopefuls. This episode is one of the most insightful shows we have ever done, as Robbie Malinoski not only critics, but also provide loads of advice for these mid tier riders working their way to the top.
We spent the day Tuesday at Planet X in Aurora, Minnesota where many of the Polaris and Ski-Doo factory teams are practicing, along with a number of amateur racers. The home team of AMSOIL/Ski-Doo racers Tim Tremblay and Robbie Malinoski look quite comfortable on their new machines, as do Ski-Doo racers Darrin Mees and Petter Narsa who have been testing for about a week.
Ross Martin looked surprisingly fast for his first day on the snow and the entire Polaris camp sounds very eager to get the season under way with a completely revamped sled.
Purchase photos HERE
Corey Davidson Photo by: John Sandberg
Yamaha is going all in with its Cross-Country and Enduro efforts this season as we recently learned they have hired distance legend Corey Davidson to spearhead their charge at the Soo I-500. Davidson is a multi-time I-500 winner at both the Soo and the midwest-based XC version. A long-time Polaris stalwart, Davidson did race for Yamaha from 2006-08 and will be re-rejoining the blue crew as a factory supported rider but under his own program.
Heading up the team’s factory effort are 2013 Semi-Pro champ Ben Lindbom and former snocrosser Matt Piche who, along with Davidson will be competing in the pro classes on the much anticipated Viper. Re Wadena will return as a support rider in the the pro classes.
Wes Selby is a native of Grand Lake, Colorado who started his career on the national snocross tour by making the 1100 mile trek to the Midwest on a weekly basis. After a successful run in the Lites division, Selby gutted it out as a privateer in the Pro Open ranks before shifting his focus to cross-country racing in 2013. He was recently hired by Arctic Cat to work on the ZR team, under his long-time mentor Kirk Hibbert.
Planet X in Aurora, Minnesota won the annual race to make first rideable snow when they started pushing out a track on Monday. But please DO NOT call about riding just yet as the facility, owned and managed by the Scheuring Speed Sports team, will not be open to public riding until November 15.
SnoX365 just happened to be on site as the guys were pushing out what will become their practice track and was able to put together this viddy highlighting some behind the scenes action at the shop and on the track.
Watch for more content daily once the track is open for pre-season practice and all of the professional teams begin to arrive.