The AMSOIL Championship Snocross tour refired the 2013 campaign on Friday night at Canterbury Park in Shakopee, Minnesota. The state-of-the-art horse racing facility annually hosts one of the largest spectator turnouts on the tour and despite the hometown Minnesota Vikings taking part in a playoff game on Saturday, a large number of race fans turned out to see Monster Energy/Arctic Cat racer Tucker Hibbert in peak form.
Hibbert dominated Pro Open competition all weekend earning the top qualifier spot on Friday and tying with reigning champ Tim Tremblay for the honors on Saturday. But when the green flag waved on the main events, it was all about T-Train who jumped to early leads and was never challenged.
Two major items of note over the weekend were the stumble of the Scheuring Speed Sports team and the rise of Hentges Racing’s Kody Kamm. Series point leader Robbie Malinoski had an ignition wire connector break and come loose during Friday’s final resulting in a DNF, while Tremblay cartwheeled off the start, for the second time in as many weekends, and had to rejoin the field a lap down. Tremblay kept pace with the front runners and worked through traffic to eighth, but could only watch as second place Ross Martin and third place Kamm waged their own battle around him. Tremblay’s AMSOIL/Air Force teammate Darrin Mees looked uncomfortable all weekend, finishing ninth on Friday and missing the main event on Saturday.
Like Martin, Kamm and teammate Justin Broberg recently ditched their effort with a new Tim Bender designed chassis and went back to the tried and true production-based model they raced last season. “It was a good idea at the time,” said Kamm, “but it just didn’t work out.” The extended break over the holidays meant ample test and rebuild time for the Polaris teams, as well as much needed time for Kamm to continue recovering from a back injury sustained in a summer moto crash that had not fully healed when the season started.
On Saturday, Kamm improved his finish, blitzing his way to second, while BOSS Racing/Jimmy John’s Swedish import Petter Narsa had by far his best showing of the season in third. To further shake up the action at the top of the class, Tim Tremblay made heavy contact with Ross Martin as the two battled for second and third, knocking Martin’s sled out from under him costing him several positions and resulting in a disqualification for Tremblay.
Emil Ohman, Kyle Pallin and Justin Broberg also turned in consistent rides throughout the weekend. Each finished in the top seven during both days of racing and have established themselves as the next level of riders with a high probability of standing on the podium in the near future.
The Pro Lite class continued it’s time-honored tradition of generating the most exciting racing of the weekend. This class has a minimum of 6 riders who could win on any given day and a chaotic nature that could find any one of the those six just as likely to not clear the LCQ. Dave Joanis, Jake Scott, Andy Lieders, Travis Muller and Renaud Alexandre have started to position themselves for a title run, but it was only a few weeks back at rounds three and four that the order could have been completely reversed. With all of this young talent racing to become next in line at the Pro Open ranks, the razor edge can get awfully thin at times. Muller and Joanis traded wins in Minnesota, with Scott and Joanis being the most consistent over the two days.
James Johnstad came into the weekend one point out of the lead but DNF’d on Friday after getting landed on in the final and having his right thumb dislocated whenever he would apply throttle. JJ sat out Saturday’s race and is having an MRI done first thing this week.
Marika Renheim made a surprise return from Sweden to race the Pro-Am Womens class. She has dueled with 2012 Champion Jennifer Pare at each of the first two tour stops, but Pare imposed her will to take the lead in the showdown. Renheim was actually involved in a scary first lap tangle with podium regular Samantha Tarnowski in the main event, opening the door for Megan Campbell and Sasha Cook to round out the podium.
Zak Mason turned heads in the Sport division, sweeping both days of competition on his Polaris. Arch rival Eddie Neubauer kept him honest finishing second both days.
Random Notes Mike Bauer returned to action for the Dupont/Jack Link’s/Polaris team as he was hoping to finish well enough to garner one of three at-large X Games entries that was being finalized during the weekend. Unfortunately, Bauer had a crash in Saturday practice that left him unable to compete.
Former national Pro Lite racer Derek Ellis was on hand with his Jess Racing team for a final tuneup for resuming the ECS series next week in New York. Ellis made the Pro Open main on Saturday finishing 14th while Montana Jess made the Sport final on both days.
ERX hotshoe Ryan Springer was the benfactor of some trickle down racenomics after catching the eye of the Carlson Motorsport team who were lending support for the weekend. Good thing too, Spring grenaded a brake disc just 10 minutes before his qualifier and without a top-notch effort, would not have made the call which resulted in a third on Saturday.
The T-Train is building an awful lot of momentum heading into Winter X.
Robbie Malinoski gave up the red plate, but he's the last guy we would count out early.
Zak Mason (far left) equaled a personal best, sweeping the ultra competitive Sport class.
Joey Sagan grew up admiring Blair Morgan. Photo: Steve Hamilton WFO Photo
Unfortunately, there's only one Superman. Photo: Steve Hamilton WFO Photo
Trevor "Cowboy Up" Leighton making the save.
ISOC Starter Jim Madden working the red light district.
Future tense. Most of these guys know the podium drill better than the Pro Lite riders.
It gets really busy about 50 feet from the first turn.
Colby Crapo (center) going to school with the honors class. So far we'd give him a passing grade.
The track apron at Canterbury was dang near an auto show. We like the local effort!
Ross Martin is still searching for the path of least resistance, but he can sure hang an elbow with the best of 'em.
Justin Broberg isn't lacking for style points either.
Cody Thomsen has shown he has the speed but now a fractured wrist could sideline him for Winter X and then some.
Number 5 add peppers, no onions.
Andy Lieders had been consistently inconsistent, but he's finding a way to get it done in Pro Lite.
Best name in snocross, hands down.
While Dave Joanis has been grabbing headlines, teammate Dylan Hall has been quietly sneaking up on his bumper. Fourth Friday and a close seventh overall in Pro Lite.
Logan Christian just might be that guy, who finds himself at the top of the box before the season is over.
Emil Ohman is enjoying the atmosphere at Warnert Racing and riding with a purpose.
Maxime Taillifer is part of the early season Canadian invasion and has been making the Pro Lite main events.
Derek Ellis made the trip home worth while, earning a spot in Saturday's Pro Open final
The Carlson Motorsports crew doin' work for up and comer Ryan Springer.
Casey Boylan has been looking a little quicker every weekend.
If it were your first day at the track and you needed a crew, these two would be a good start.
Scott Muller builds big motors for pulling tractors. The kid's Skeeter pulls pretty good too.