Thief River Falls, Minn.
January 17, 2009
Ski-Doo’s Bryan Dyrdahl will head out for the final day of the Red Lake I-500 tomorrow morning with a 58-second lead over Polaris driver Corey Davidson. If Dyrdahl holds on, it will be his fifth I-500 cross-country win and his third in four years.
Last year, Dyrdahl went into the last day of the 500 with a five-minute lead and won by 10 minutes. Does the narrower margin matter?
“I just need to stay on the sled and ride my own race,” Dyrdahl said. “I’ve had bad luck on the last day before. But if nothing goes wrong, I’ll be alright.”
Cat rider Brian Dick, who had the fastest time of the day, sits in third place overall and will leave the gate about 90 seconds after Davidson. Dick’s teammate D.J. Ekre will depart five seconds later followed by fifth place rider Dan Ebert, also on an Arctic Cat.
Dick said he pushed hard today and is happy with his run, but admitted it will be a tall order to pass front runners Dyrdahl and Davidson. “It’s gonna take a little bobble from them. It’s a lot of time [to make up], but I made a little bit up today,” he said. “Every little bit helps.” Davidson’s strategy is simple.
“I’m gonna put the hammer down tomorrow,” he said. “I ain’t gonna shut ‘er down.”
Day 3 will bring racers over the same course as Day 2. Conditions of the 149-mile leg faced by drivers varied, depending on when they left the starting gate. Drivers who left the line early plowed through deep, drifted snow. Polaris driver Gabe Bunke, who was first off the line said his run was slow and windy. “Visibility was terrible. It was like driving in snowdust,” he said. “Not a fun day.”
Other trouble for Bunke today included a poor-running sled. “The motor sucks. The clutching sucks. There’s no power. No mid-range,” the normally upbeat veteran said. To compound the problem, his Dragon SP ran out of gas just a few miles from a fuel stop, which added about 30 minutes to his time, he said. He’s in 21st place on the Pro 600 class.
The course was fast for Dick, who was the 21st sled to leave the gate today. “Some parts were technical, but there was a lot of high-speed stuff,” he said. “A lot of the ditches were wide-open running.”
Racing starts tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. CST. Check back to SnowGoerRacing.com tomorrow afternoon for results and a final report.
USCC Red Lake I-500 official 2-day standings
Pro 600: 1. Bryan Dyrdahl (Doo); 2. Corey Davidson (Pol); 3. Brian Dick (Cat); 4. D.J. Ekre (Cat); 5. Dan Ebert (Cat); 6. Ryan Huston (Cat); 7. Chad Lian (Cat); 8. Nathan Potucek (Cat); 9. Brandon Gerszewski (Cat); 10. Eric Gausen.