March 18, 2009
One event remains on the inaugural International Series of Champions (ISOC) Amsoil Championship Snocross Series schedule. For some, it’s the most important race of the season as racers will battle for the biggest prize of all — a year-end points championship. Factory teams and privateers will set-up shop for Nielsen’s Grand Finale March 20-22 at the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Tight points margins in several classes mean some riders and teams are feeling pressure to perform.
Perhaps nowhere is that pressure-cooker atmosphere more obvious than in the Pro Super Stock field where Garth Kaufman (Arctic Cat) and Levi LaVallee (Polaris) are tied with 195 points in their quest for the class crown. Arctic Cat’s Ryan Simons is right on their heels with 185 points.
“It should be an exciting weekend,” said ISOC Race Director Bob Coffin. “With our scoring system, a racer has the opportunity to capture as many as 37 points in a weekend … if they win both their heat race and the final. With the points so tight, one bobble or mechanical issue can ruin their chances. It puts a lot of pressure on not just the racer, but the entire crew to perform.”
The chase isn’t as tight in Pro Open, but five riders are still in the hunt, mathematically speaking. Polaris rider TJ Gulla leads the pack with 198 points and his teammate LaVallee has 185 points. First-year pro Brett Bender has 160 points followed by Cat riders Brett Turcotte and Garth Kaufman.
In Pro Women, the margin is comfortable for Soldotna, Alaska, racer Carly Davis with 209 points. She leads JC Hupe (188 points) and April Moritz (169 points). The trio rides Arctic Cat sleds.
Four riders to square-off for semi-pro titles
The cream of the semi-pro crop have been trading wins and podium positions all season, and the close points race atop the Semi-Pro Open and Semi-Pro Super Stock standings proves it.
In Semi-Pro Open, Quebec hotshoe Tim Tremblay (Ski-Doo) holds an 11-point margin over Minnesota native Bobby LePage (Polaris). Just 15 points back from LePage is Dan Ebert (Arctic Cat), and 20 points back is Swedish sensation Christian Salemark (Arctic Cat).
“The racing action in the semi pro ranks has probably been some of the most closely contested and competitive of the season,” said ISOC Owner John Daniels. “Every week someone new steps up to take the win. Just when you think someone is going to break out from the pack to establish [himself], a crash, mechanical or fresh face comes on strong to change it up again. Lake Geneva will be interesting to say the least.”
Hentges Racing leads Woody’s Team Challenge
Year-end supremacy is more than an individual effort on the ISOC Amsoil Championship Snocross Series tour. Every member of a national race team must bring their “A” game to not only win, but to simply compete. This reality is what prompted the ISOC crew and Woody’s Traction Products to implement the Woody’s Team Challenge. The contest is designed to reward the best performing team for both the race weekend and the season, and with one race left there is $25,000 up for grabs as part of the year-end payout with $10,000 going to the winning team.
Currently the Hentges Racing team, which fields riders Brett Bender, LePage and Gulla, is leading the pack with 801 points, but with points awarded in both pro and semi-pro classes, they can add up quickly and teams trailing Hentges such as Christian Brothers Racing and HC Racing are still in the hunt for the $10,000 top prize.
A lot is on the line and Nielsen’s Grand Finale in Lake Geneva — the last chance this season to see the world’s fastest snocross racers compete. For tickets, information and to study the year-end point standings, visit isocracing.com