January 24, 2011
The final day of the USCC Red Lake I-500 dawned overcast and warmer than the first two days, but strong winds Sunday blew down course markers and caused whiteout conditions in many areas of the course. With concerns for driver safety high on the minds of USCC officials, the circuit cancelled the final day of competition and declared Day 2 results final, making Arctic Cat rider Brian Dick the winner of the Pro 600 class.
“It was a tough decision for us to make,” said USCC President Pat Mach. “Everyone here came to race, but with the conditions the way they are it becomes a huge safety issue.” Weather conditions, already including visibility less than 100 feet Sunday morning, were expected to get worse as the day wore on with snow squalls moving through the area during the day. This marked the eighth time in the I-500’s long history that it had been cut short, according to Don Jorstad, the USCC’s radio announcer.
Dick’s two-day winning time of 4:57:05 was 4 minutes, 34 seconds better than second place Arctic Cat teammate Ryan Simons for the 300-plus mile race. Take nothing away from the winner, however. Dick raced hard the first two days, posting the fast time each day.
Third place rider Zach Pattyn, also on an Arctic Cat, ended up 9 minutes, 21 seconds out of first place. Following Pattyn was Cat rider Cory Davis, Ski-Doo rider Ross Erdman, Polaris rider Aaron Christensen, Polaris rider Corey Davidson and Justin Tate, also on a Polaris. Other notables include 2010 USCC Red Lake I-500 winner Dan Ebert in 11th place, about 21 minutes out of first place. Polaris veteran cross-country racer Gabe Bunke slotted in 12th place.
A total of 36 racers took the green flag in the Pro 600 class on Friday with temperatures double digits below zero. Four racers didn’t make it through the day, including Chad Dyrdahl, whose brother, Bryan, has won the I-500 a record five times. The other notable happening on the first day was the problems experienced by DJ Ekre, who started near the top but had mechanical problems and was the last Pro 600 racer to complete the 148-mile loop. Ekre is normally a frontrunner on USCC races and finished second place in Pro 600 points last season.
Arctic Cat rider Ryan Greening sits atop the time charts in the Ski-Doo Semi-Pro 600 class with a two-day time of 5:18:20. Greening was more than 14-minutes ahead of second place rider Ken Christensen and more than 16 minutes ahead of third place rider Mike Hedlund. Other class winners include Tyler Johnsrud (Cat) Expert 85; Jolene Bute (Cat), Women’s; Joey Hallstrom (Cat) Vintage. Next up for the USCC is the Chase On The Lake 100 in Walker, Minn., February 13.