The June 25th-26th race in Ely, Minnesota marked the second event in the International Watercross Associations 2011 season. A flock of drivers made the long journey north to compete at what has become one of the circuits most favored locations. With a combined effort, the IWA and the Ely Watercross Group put on a great show.
The first win of the weekend went to Grantsburg, Wisconsin native Jonathan Holmes. Aboard his Ski-Doo he cruised to victory in 600 Drags, a win well-earned after placing second in the class at the previous race in Moose Lake. Rookies Krystal Kulenkamp and Lance Gravelle, both aboard Ski-Doo’s, finished second and third.
In 800 Drags it was Ely’s own Krista Maki-Zurn who set the pace for the weekend. After going undefeated in the class at Moose Lake, the #176 repeated her performance and was untouchable on her GLH Performance Ski-Doo. Battling for positions behind her were the Polaris’s piloted by Nick Benoy and Cody Engstrand, with Benoy coming out ahead of Engstrand at the finish line.
As the fastest sleds at the event lined up for the Mod Drag final, it was really anybody’s race. As the field rocketed down the course, the lightning fast Ski-Doo of Clint Fjosne, from Willow River, MN, pulled ahead of the competition and took the win. Kyle Carpenter, who had been fast in qualifying, finished second on his Polaris and Ski-Doo’s Chad Maki rounded off the top three.
As the Semi Pro Stock oval class took to the water on Sunday after qualifying rounds Saturday, both Ryan Keith and Nick Benoy were undefeated. However, as the final rolled around it was the number three qualifier Bud Coen who got himself out front on his Ski-Doo. After biding his time behind Coen, Matt Podgorski made the pass for the win late in the race on his Yamaha, resulting in a second place finish for Coen and third for Keith.
In the modified ranks, Justin Gully of Zimmerman, MN was the top qualifier going into the Semi Pro Open final. In a relatively evenly matched field, the six drivers all approached the first corner together, while only four came out of the second corner and one more sunk shortly thereafter. With three drivers down at critical points in the course, the race was red-flagged and the remaining three drivers made their way back to shore to restart the race. As soon as the downed-drivers and their sleds were retrieved from the lake, Clint Fjosne, Matt Podgorski, and Justin Gully hit the water to complete the remaining four laps of the race. After having led the first two laps, Fjosne maintained his lead and took the checkered, with Podgorski and Gully finishing behind him in that order.
Reigning Pro Stock class champion Chad Maki lived up to his title as he went undefeated throughout qualifying and led the final from start to finish on his #413 Trygstad Motorsports Ski-Doo. Giving him a run for his money was long-time Arctic Cat racer Dale Lindbeck, who was the number two qualifier, and finished second in the final as well. In his first year competing in Pro Stock, Dan Dombrowsky held his own in a field of seasoned competitors and finished third aboard his Yamaha.
The final race of the weekend was the Pro Open final, where the fastest and most experienced drivers hit the water and grabbed the throttle to try and come out in front after the eight-laps. Despite trying to avoid repetition in my writing, any event that Maki participates in makes it difficult to do so being that he insists on winning every race he’s in. In addition to being undefeated in Pro Stock, he did the same in Pro Open and left his competition behind him. Merrill, Wisconsin’s Dennis Rhyner was extremely fast all weekend on his Polaris and took home a second place finish for Studman Racing. Kyle Carpenter, also on a Polaris, finished third.
With Ely said and done with, teams now have a few weeks off to wrench, tune and practice for the biggest race of the season: The Grantsburg World Championships! Mark your calendar for July 15-17 and get ready to witness the Greatest Show on H2O. In addition to For more information about the IWA, as well as complete results, please visit www.iwausa.org or search IWA Racing on Facebook.