A monstrous and enthusiastic crowd got to see a dramatic, sub-plot-filled Pro Open final on a frigid Saturday night in Shakopee, Minnesota. You want stories from this Amsoil Championship Snocross round? How about these:
- Winner Kody Kamm returned to the top of the podium exactly one year after a crash at the same track ended his season.
- Early leader and second-place finisher Logan Christian earned his first podium of the season racing on a weekend when a Christian Brothers Racing teammate was killed in a cross-country racing incident.
- Third-place finisher Adam Renheim – considered a pre-season top-five racer by many – finally overcame an early season funk to earn his first podium of the year.
- The Pro Open winners so far this season – Tucker Hibbert, Lincoln Lemieux and Elias Ishoel – were non-factors in the final. In fact, HIbbert crashed twice, Ishoel crashed once and then was run into by another racer and Lemieux never advanced past his mid-pack start.
All of this shook up the season points standings. Racing continues Sunday as a make-up for the fogged-out Round 2 originally scheduled for Duluth, Minnesota, in November.
Dramatic Pro Open Final
With 16 sleds signed up in the Pro Open class and 15 sleds scheduled for the final, the heat races were mainly about collecting points for the season championship standings and starting positions in the final. Tim Tremblay and Kody Kamm won the two first-round heats, then Tremblay repeated in round two, while Petter Narsa grabbed the other heat.
When the starting lights flashed green in the final, Tremblay led the pack past the flagman the first time on his Ski-Doo but Logan Christian and his Cat were at Tremblay’s side and Adam Renheim was also right there on his Ski-Doo. When the snow dust settled, however, Tucker Hibbert was standing alone and righting his sled from a crash that also almost collected Kody Kamm.
Up front, Tremblay got pinched off a bit in a corner and ceded the lead to Christian while Renheim quickly jetted into second. Soon thereafter on one of the last turns before completing the second lap, the top three all came together, with Tremblay charging into the corner late and getting scraped by Christian as he was landing a jump.
While Tremblay shook that off, Polaris-riding Kamm appeared from nowhere and grabbed third place, with Friday night winner Elias Ishoel quickly slotting into fifth. After three laps, the order was Christian, Renheim, Kamm, Ishoel and Tremblay, then Narsa, Corin Todd, Todd Pallin, Ross Martin, Ryan Springer, Andrew Carlson, Lincoln Lemieux and Dylan Hall, with early crashers Hibbert and Corey Watkinson far off the pace.
Within a lap, Kamm moved to second and started dogging Christian. In a show of his new-found maturity as a racer, Kamm showed impressive patience, trying different lines both to the inside and outside of Christian’s chosen line instead of just trying to plow his way into the lead as he may have done in the past. It took a few laps, but nine laps into the 15-lap final Kamm made a clean pass for the lead and quickly got away from Christian.
While that chase was going on up front, there were several dramatic develops in the pack involving the sport’s top racers. Ishoel was on the move, but shortly after he moved past Renheim for third place, he nosed into a mogul and his sled stuck like a lawn dart (or Jart, if you will). The impact tossed Ishoel into the middle of the track and Renheim barely missed running him over. Caught in heavy snowdust, Tremblay wasn’t as lucky – he plowed into Ishoel as the young racer was trying to get to his feet. As it turns out, the impact didn’t seem to affect Ishoel much, as he quickly got back to his feet and walked off of the track.
Soon thereafter, Hibbert was off his sled again – his second crash in the final. And then Tremblay was the center of attention again, as he seemed to lose track of where he was on the race course and charged through a corner and way off the race track.
Up front, Kamm was opening a gap on the field and ended up winning by 6.4 seconds. There was a dramatic challenge for second place on the last couple of laps, though, as Renheim caught up to Christian’s snowflap but Christian held the spot by a sled-length to claim second, with Renheim third. Narsa and Pallin rounded out the top five, then came Tremblay, who recovered for sixth, followed by Lemieux, Martin, Carlson and Springer. The bottom five, in order, were Hall, Hibbert, Todd, Watkinson and Ishoel.
After earning his first win of the season, Kamm showed much jubilation, parking his sled in front of the crowd, jumping up onto its seat and pumping his arms in the air. Not only was it redemption at the track where he was hurt one year earlier, it was also a victory in the hometown of the Hentges Race Team for which he rides, and a win on his Pirtek-sponsored sled at the race where Pirtek is the title sponsor.
The racer from Kenosha, Wisconsin, said that, prior to last year’s crash, he actually had a good track record at Canterbury Park in Shakopee. “It’s been a year now since my injury and I’m super happy right now,” Kamm said after the race. He said the key was “taking smooth lines out there and watching where Logan (Christian) was going, and then changing up my lines a little bit.”
Christian was the center of attention for Cat officials after the race, who congratulated the young racer from Fertile, Minnesota, who lost a teammate, Hunter Houle, to a snowmobile accident in northern Minnesota on Friday.
“There’s been a lot happening with the team this weekend,” a somber Christian said on the podium. “It’s been a roller coaster of a weekend.”
For Renheim, a third-place finish probably felt a bit like a victory after a dismal start to the season.
“We were far off at the beginning of the season, but I finally got it going,” the Swedish Ski-Doo racer said.