One day into the Seven Clan Casino cross-country I-500 race in northwestern Minnesota, Arctic Cat hold the first three places in the Pro 600 class, but three other highly touted Cat racers already have their sleds loaded up on their trailers after first day breakdowns.
The 500-mile, three-day event, operated this year by the United States X-Country (USXC), got off to a slow start this morning, as some drifting overnight caused some quick course adjustments, plus fog limited visibility early. Once the fog cleared, though, racing was held in good conditions, as the skies brightened and sightlines improved dramatically.
With no race in 2012 due to weather conditions, the defending champ is 2011 winner Brian Dick, but he won’t repeat. He was running strong but broke down after the second fuel stop and is out of the race. Along with fellow Cat racers Zach Herfindahl and Chad Lian, they were the only three of the 26 Pro 600 entries to not complete the first day.
That’s not to say that is was a bad day for Cat fans, however. The top of the standings one day in reads Arctic Cat, Arctic Cat, Arctic Cat, with the No. 67 of Ryan Simons at the front. He ran the 147 mile looped course in 2 hours, 15 minues and 40 seconds, according to results from the USXC. That gives him a 2 minute, 45 second lead over fellow Cat racer Cody Kallock in second, with more green in the form of Wes Selby (down 3 minutes, 47 seconds) running third.
Aaron Christiansen broke up the Cat party with a fourth place run on his Polaris (4:48 behind Simons), then 7 more seconds back came the first Ski-Doo guided by Justin Tate. The next five were Cole Nymann (Arctic Cat), three-time 500 winner Corey Davidson (Polaris), Ryan Faust (Polaris), Bobby Menne (Polaris) and then Gabe Bunke (Polaris), who won last weekend’s Soo I-500 enduro race in Michigan.
The remaining 13 sleds in Pro 600 were as follows:
11. Eric Gausen (Polaris)
12. Jordan Torgerson (Arctic Cat)
13. Ryan Scripture (Ski-Doo)
14. Nathan Moritz (Arctic Cat)
15. Chad Jones (Ski-Doo)
16. Eric Christiansen (Polaris)
17. Spencer Kadlec (Polaris)
18. Sam Vanderputte (Ski-Doo)
19. Andrew Hawkins (Arctic Cat)
20. Tommy Mulligan (Polaris)
21. Justin Steck (Ski-Doo)
22. Nick Roehl (Ski-Doo)
23. Joshua Bloomquist (Polaris)
Several of the same racers double-entered in the Pro Open class, allowing their time on the course to count in both classes, but potentially facing racers with more modified equipment in the Open class. It didn’t matter to Simons – he is listed in first place in both classes. Ross Erdman on the No. 311 Yamaha is 1:20 back in second in Pro Open, then came Kallock, Selby and Christiansen, with Re Wadena scoring sixth on a Yamaha.
Cole Nymann leads the 34-sled Semi-Pro 600 class with a time of 2:22:15, with John Arneson second (33 seconds back), and Timmy Kallock third (down 58 seconds), all on Cats. Twenty five sleds are still in the race in this class. Ben Lindbom leads Semi-Pro Improved on a Yamaha, with Timmy Kallock second based on his Semi-Pro 600 time.
Benjamin Langaas is ahead in Expert 85 and Trail, Jon Arneson in Masters 40, Jim Sobeck in Masters 50+. Kevin Tinjum in Trophy 85, Mayson Croaker in Trophy 600, and Jolene Bute had a monstrous 18 minute, 45 second lead in the Women’s class.
The second day of the three-day race starts bright and early south of Thief River Falls at the Seven Clans Casino Friday morning. More ditches, trails and laketops await.