Saturday was a day of defining greatness, as the No. 74 Bunke Racing Team put their Polaris race sled up front on lap 445 of the grueling Soo I-500 race in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, and held on for victory. Meanwhile, Tucker Hibbert put himself back atop the box with his record 125th victory on the national snocross scene with a green-flag-to-checked-flag domination in Salamanca, New York.
For the Bunke team, the victory was a truly incredible fete, as the team has now won five of the last six Soo I-500 races, and team owner Gabe Bunke had now been a part of seven Soo I-500 winning teams. The Soo event certainly has been won by many legends over its 49 year history, but to win five out of six events is truly historic, as this 500-mile, 500-lap, one-day race on an increasingly bumpy track has a track record of being particularly grueling on men and machines. The Bunke #74 entry featured Gabe Bunke, Aaron Christensen and Taylor Bunke as its drivers again this year. The race was completed in 8 hours and 41 minutes.
The Bunke team suffered a blown belt before the midway point in the race, which put them more than a lap behind the leaders, but they came charging back. After a restart following a yellow flag somewhere around lap 435, the Christian Bros Racing Team No. 17 entry piloted by Zach Herfindahl and Wes Selby took off from the pack and opened an impressive lead. But with Christensen in the saddle, the Bunke sled chased them down and took the top spot at lap 445 and immediately opened a gap up front.
The Christian Bros. 17 Arctic Cat team finished second, with its teammates on the Christian Bros. 52 team third.
To read the recap of the race from a local newspaper, click this link to the Soo Evening News.
Meanwhile, Hibbert added to his legend in snocross racing with another sterling performance on the ISOC Amsoil Championship Snocross series. That race circuit’s press-release recap of its Saturday racing is pasted below.
HIBBERT BACK ON TOP – CLAIMS 125TH CAREER WIN
SENECA ALLEGANY RESORT & CASINO – SALAMANCA, NY- (FEBRUARY 4, 2017) The final night in Salamanca featured a packed out to watch Round 10 of the U.S. Air Force Snocross National. With the season moving on the downward slope to the final in Lake Geneva, the points race is starting to tighten up in both Pro Open and Pro Lite. In both classes, there has been a variety of different riders on the podium throughout the season.
Solid competition in the heat races with Jake Angove (177), Montana Jess (765) and Evan Daudt (413) all getting first place finishes in round 1 of the heats. Round 2 heats saw Jacob Yurk (727), Zak Mason (63) and Daniel Benham (221) all with first place finishes. Montana Jess (765) riding his 2016 Championship sled was unable to transfer to the final in the heats, ran the LCQ and transferred in with a first place finish. Round 9 final winner Travis Muller (436) and Travis Kern (201) also locked in a transfer into the main through the LCQ.
The playing field has leveled out where any given rider could take the checkered flag with the win as Pro Lite has had six different winners in nine events, there is no room for mistakes in this division. Out of the gate early on, Evan Daudt (413) gets the Stud Boy hole shot followed by Daniel Benham (221) and Aki Pihlaja (128) in third.
Daudt, who took his first win in Deadwood, was on point with a solid run and continued to stretch his lead. As the battle for second continues, Aki is able to make a move on Benham for second and begins to run down Daudt. Zak Mason (63), the number one qualifier, finds some trouble on lap four and goes off the sled in the front stretch and of the track through the U.S. Air Force rhythm section taking him out the top five, Jake Angove(177) is there to capitilize and moves into fourth. Up front Aki has made up ground on Daudt, trying to find ground on the inside, on the outside, but he cannot find the way around Daudt for the lead.
While Evan continues to run a perfect race, Jake Angove(177) finds the rhythm and makes the pass over Benham for third on lap eight along with Nickolas Lorenz who also passes Benham for fourth. With the laps winding down, Pihlaja tries everything he can to make a pass on Daudt, but is unable to make the pass. With one lap to go, bar-to-bar racing between first and second, Angove makes a big move on the inside putting Pihlaja back one spot and tries to make a run for first, but Daudt goes on take his second win this season, followed by Angove and finishing off the podium will be Pihlaja who maintains the points lead.
- Evan Daudt
- Jake Angove
- Aki Pihlaja
- Nickolas Lorenz
- Cole Cottew
- Daniel Benham
- Kevin Wallenstein
- Montana Jess
- Zak Mason
- Jacob Yurk
- Travis Muller
- Andrew Lindholm
- Leo Patenaude
- Martin Moland
- Travis Kern
The competition from week-to-week continues elevate in the Pro Open ranks with it becoming anyone’s game to take home the win. Points leader Tim Tremblay (11) took two first places finishes in the heats while Kody Kamm (53) pulls a second and first. Lincoln Lemieux (13), who had Round 9 won until a belt broke sending him over the bars with only four laps to go and suffered a dislocated shoulder, finished the heats with a third and fourth. No LCQ was needed in Pro Open, as all sleds transferred to the main.
Fourteen sleds lined up for the weekend. Hoping for a repeat win this weekend is the number one qualifier Tim Tremblay(11), Kody Kamm(53) number two and Tucker Hibbert (68) as the third qualifer. With twenty two laps scheduled for the final, it could be anyone’s race. Green flag in the air and it is the third qualifier Tucker Hibbert with the Stud Boy holeshot and out to the early leader followed by Ross “The Boss” Martin and Lemieux in third.
With only two laps in the books, Hibbert is already extending his lead out three seconds from second place. Points leader Tremblay has his work cut out from him as he sits back in sixth place. Kamm always a contender for a podium spot is battling with Adam Renheim (311) for the fourth spot. Ryan Springer (541) makes a charge at the halfway point in the race and moves into that fourth spot putting Kamm back one position.
Tremblay finds some ground passing Kamm and Springer for fourth but is unable to track down teammate Lemieux for a podium spot. Up front with a dominating lead, Hibbert would go on to take the checkers at the Amsoil finish line putting his name in the record books with his 125th career win followed by Judnick Motorsports rider Martin (837) in second and Lemieux with his dislocated shoulder rounds off the top three.
- Tucker Hibbert
- Ross Martin
- Lincoln Lemieux
- Tim Tremblay
- Ryan Springer
- Kody Kamm
- Petter Narsa
- Kyle Pallin
- Corin Todd
- Andrew Carlson
- Adam Renheim
- Cody Paolella
- Kristoffer Holm
- Elias Ishoel