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Brian Dick & Wes Selby Win Shortened Soo I-500

Snow Goer staff

EDITORS NOTE: We had set aside some time Saturday afternoon to watch the Soo I-500 broadcast online, but the race ended early. Here’s some information we were able to pull together from check-ins we did at various points during the race.

You won’t often hear many snowmobilers complain about gobs of white stuff spilling down from the heavens, especially in a snow-challenged year like this. But for racers and fans at today’s Soo I-500, the falling snow brought an anti-climatic end to what was setting up to be a storied event.

The 47th annual, Soo I-500 race in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, was brought to a halt due to poor visibility for the racers at lap 282. Plans for a 500-lap race around the 1-mile oval were scuttled more than an hour later, as the conditions worsened and the forecast called for no break in sight.

That meant the leader when the red flag was enacted — the Christian Bros. Racing Team of Arctic Cat employees Brian Dick and Wesley Selby — was declared the winner of one of snowmobile racing’s most celebrated annual events.

For the first 250 laps, some of the sport’s top teams consistently ran toward the front, including both Bunke Racing Polaris entries, both Christian Brothers Arctic Cat entries, the Team Blu #02 entry piloted in part of 2015 Eagle River World Champ Cardell Potter, the Troy DeWald/Cadarette Collision No. 21 and, for awhile, the No. 3 entry led by historic Soo slayer Corey Davidson.

Soo I-500 winners Wes Selby (left) and Brian Dick (center) with Arctic Cat VP and legend Roger Skime (right). Photo lifted from the Soo I-500 Facebook page.

Soo I-500 winners Wes Selby (left) and Brian Dick (center) with Arctic Cat VP and legend Roger Skime (right). Photo lifted from the Soo I-500 Facebook page.

The pole sitting #60 Flannery Racing Polaris dropped out early, as was expected with their 2001 sled. At lap 100, here’s how the field sat (apologies for any misspellings, we’re taking the names off of the scoresheets):

1. #537 Bunke Racing Polaris driven by Faust/Kindle/Faust/Hetteen/Kadlec

2. #15 Christian Bros Arctic Cat driven by Dick/Selby

3. #02 Team Blu entry driven by Potter/Hicks

4. #3 XLT Engineering Polaris driven Davidson/Hjelle/Carsen

5. #311 Millennium Motorsports Ski-Doo driven by Erdman/Ritzinger/Dohm

6. #52 Christian Bros. Arctic Cat driven by Simons/Herfindahl

7. #21 Cadarette Collision Arctic Cat driven by Dewald/Lian/Miaskoch

8. #99 Bouchard Racing Polaris driven by Dyrdahl/McArthur/Wahl/Oberle

9. #74 Bunke Racing Polaris driven by Bunke/Christiansen/Bunke

10. #414 Yovich Racing Polaris driven by May/Minta/Celestino

The racers continued to click off laps in the generally uneventful  and fast race. There were particularly entertaining stretches where, for instance, one of the Christian Bros. Arctic Cats would be leading and then one of the Bunke Racing Polaris sleds would make a particularly hard charge and run side-by-side for awhile. Then the race would settle back in, as competitors prepared for the long haul over 500 laps. In a race that can take 8 hours to finish, that’s generally a good plan — run fast but run steady, and don’t use up your equipment or all of your energy too early.

At lap 200, here’s how the race sat:

1.  #15 Christian Bros Arctic Cat driven by Dick/Selby

2. #537 Bunke Racing Polaris driven by Faust/Kindle/Faust/Hetteen/Kadlec

3. #414 Yovich Racing Polaris driven by May/Minta/Celestino

4. #74 Bunke Racing Polaris driven by Bunke/Christiansen/Bunke

5. # 32 Piche Performance Polaris driven by Young/Ball/Vermeersch

6. #02 Team Blu Polaris entry driven by Potter/Hicks

7. #21 Cadarette Collision Arctic Cat driven by Dewald/Lian/Miaskoch

8. #5 LMB Speedshop Polaris piloted by Bouman/Bouman

9. #3 XLT Engineering Polaris driven by Davidson/Hjelle/Carsen

10. #34 Bryan Kovar Racing Poalris driven by Maki/Travis

The racing stayed good, but longer yellow flags were occurring as track officials groomed the surface and the intensity of the snowfall picked up. Under one yellow at lap 250 — what should have been the race’s halfway, had weather not intervened — the Polaris of three-time defending champion Gabe Bunke was running up front, with the Dick/Selby Arctic Cat right behind and Bunke’s second team with lead pilots the Faust boys right behind them. Surely it would be a great last half of the race.

But as with so many other things this winter, Mother Nature would rule the day. While she didn’t deliver snow to Minnesota, causing the cancellation of the cross-country I-500, she brought too much snow to the Michigan/Ontario border towns on this Saturday, and created dangerous racing  conditions.

Race officials brought the red flag out at lap 282, and after an extended wait, they called the race some time later.

The leader when the red came out was the Brian Dick and Wesley Selby entry, and soon they would be declared the winner. Lest anybody take anything away from Dick and Selby, both are accomplished cross-country racers, and Dick has been competitive many times at the Soo. Still, it would have been fun to see this highly competitive race play out. The team was directly followed by some excellent past championship, including a Troy Dewald led team in second, the three-time defending champion Gabe Bunke team third, Bunke’s second team that chased him to the line last year in fourth.

The final results are as follows:

1.  #15 Christian Bros Arctic Cat driven by Dick/Selby

2. #21 Cadarette Collision Arctic Cat driven by Dewald/Lian/Miaskoch

3. #74 Bunke Racing Polaris driven by Bunke/Christiansen/Bunke

4. #537 Bunke Racing Polaris driven by Faust/Kindle/Faust/Hetteen/Kadlec

5. # 32 Piche Performance Polaris driven by Young/Ball/Vermeersch

6. #02 Team Blu entry driven by Potter/Hicks

7. #14 Beard Motorsports/Gentz Racing entry driven by Davidson/Gentz/Kolbus

8. #52 Christian Bros. Arctic Cat entry driven by Simmons/Herfindahl

9. #3 XLT Engineering Polaris driven by Davidson/Hjelle/Carsen

10. #5 LMB Speedshop Polaris piloted by Bouman/Bouman

 

 

 

 

 

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