January 4, 2011
Corey Davidson won Sunday his first United States Cross-Country (USCC) Pro 600 race since 2007 at the Grafton 100 in Grafton, North Dakota. It was a crazy season-opening weekend for the USCC National Guard Cross-Country Racing Championship with back-to-back blizzards in the area that closed all major interstate highways and forced the USCC to shuffle its schedule.
Despite all the bad weather leading up to the race, race day was clear and cold and the Grafton course, a perennial favorite among USCC competitors, boasted tons of snow that made for a rough, challenging ride. The 14.5- mile course featured a twisting river run, tight woods, wide-open fields and drifted ditches and tree lines.
Twenty-four pros lined up to compete in the final event of the day, the three-lap Pro 600 race. The course had become rough and even most of the straight sections were full of square-edged bumps that pitched riders side-to-side.
After the first lap Ross Erdman, back on Ski-Doo after racing for Yamaha the past two seasons, had a six-second lead on the field and his first lap (17:39.233) held as the fast lap of the race. But Erdman was the first pro to fall victim to the course and had a get-off causing him to lose his lead.
Pro 600 favorite D.J. Ekre was slowed because he had to stop for new goggles after getting roosted with water and slush on the river. Brian Dick pulled off after one of his Cat’s shocks blew. Top pro Gabe Bunke set some fast lap times but crashed and damaged the bulkhead on his Polaris.
As the riders entered the final lap, Simons had a roughly 9-second lead with Aaron Christensen (Polaris) about a second behind him. About five miles from the finish, Christensen crashed and that allowed Davidson and his Polaris to move up. Then, about two miles out, Simons had a big get-off and Davidson was able to get by him on the time slips and take the lead.
A clean race and consistent riding earned Davidson the win with a time of 54:10.716. He was followed by Simons (54:24.763), Christensen (54:29.535), Garth Kaufman (54:41.787, Cat), Dan Ebert (54:50.226, Cat), Justin Tate (54:50.964, Pol), Ross Erdman (55:11.213), D.J. Ekre (56:03.304, Cat), Ryan Huston (56:20.656, Cat) and Zach Pattyn (57:13.249, Cat). Davidson also logged the second fastest lap time (17:44.319).
“Despite the weather, the Grafton 100 turned out to be one of the best events in USCC history,” said USCC President Pat Mach. “I would guess about a third of the racers who signed up weren’t able to make it because of the road closures, but we still almost beat our record for racers. It just shows how dedicated everyone is to this sport.”
The Grafton 100 race was a non-points event because some racers were affected by road closures. Next up for the USCC is the Grand Cities 100 in Grand Forks, North Dakota, on January 15.