Surprise: Tucker Hibbert did not win the Pro Open final at Buffalo River Race Park Saturday night near Glyndon, Minnesota. Instead, it was Ross Martin narrowly holding off a hard charging Tim Tremblay in an exciting snocross final on the ISOC Amsoil Championship Series.
While Hibbert has been dominating every weekend except the opener at Duluth, Minnesota, way back on Thanksgiving weekend, Martin and Tremblay have been engaging in their own battle for second place in the ISOC season points standings.
Hibbert recovered from a second-lap incident to come all the way back up to fifth place in the 15-lap final. But in the end, his competitors admitted it was nice not to have Hibbert on the podium for a change.
In Pro Lite, however, the domination continued, as Jake Scott again ran away from the pack and notched yet another victory. The ISOC Amsoil Championship Series season wraps up next weekend in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.
Pro Open To Martin
If Tucker Hibbert was feeling any discomfort going into the 14th of 16 rounds on the ISOC national series, he wasn’t showing it early in the day on Saturday. In fact, Hibbert posted photos on Facebook of him trail riding 50-someodd miles from his home in Pelican Rapids, Minnesota, to the race track in Glyndon, Minnesota. That’s right – the winningest driver in modern snocross history was bouncing down the ditches and trails like a regular Joe just hours before it was time to race in the sport’s most competitive series.
A chink could be found in his armor in his second heat race, however, as Hibbert didn’t get the greatest start and ended up finishing third, behind Zach Pattyn and Emil Ohman. So, for a change, Hibbert wasn’t the top qualifier with lane choice for the final. That honor went to Ross Martin, who swept his two heat.
On green in the final, Polaris racer Kyle Pallin got the slight holeshot, but it was Cat racer Logan Christian that led the charge to the first corner. On his snowflap was Martin, who dove to the inside and charged for the lead position. Hibbert was running in about fourth at this point.
Shortly thereafter, everything changed. First, Christian pulled to the infield with what looked him front suspension damage. Hibbert, meanwhile, had his own trouble and went to the back of the field.
While Martin faced a clear track in front of him, Emil Ohman claimed second on his Warnert Racing Ski-Doo, while Tim Tremblay locked onto third on his Scheuring Speed Sports Ski-Doo. They were followed by Pallin, Pattyn, Derek Ellis, Robbie Malinoski and Paul Bauerly in the early going. Hibbert still lurked deep in the pack – holding 12th on lap four.
Martin built his lead to between 3.5 and 4 seconds and rode there comfortably, though never out of the sight of his pursuers. The lead stayed in that range until Tremblay made a late charge, starting on lap 11 of the 18-lap final. That’s when Tremblay, the defending ISOC series points champion, drove past Ohman and started a serious pursuit after Martin. Tremblay started trimming a half-second to a full-second per lap off of Martin’s lead, and when they took the white flag they were within about 3 sled lengths.
Given Tremblay’s forward momentum, it seemed a paint-trading battle was imminent on that last lap, but Martin kicked it back into high gear and pulled slightly away from Tremblay and won by about five lengths. Martin jacked both fists into the air after going past the checkered flag and earning his second Pro Open victory of the season. Tremblay finished second, with Ohman a couple of seconds back in third – his first podium finish of the season for the consistent Swedish driver.
Pallin finished fourth, with Hibbert charging all the way up to fifth by the last lap in an oddly coincidental finish. Just Friday night, Martin went to the back of the pack and put on a dramatic charge through traffic to come up to fifth.
Pattyn claimed sixth, Kamm seventh and Robbie Malinoski eighth. Johan Lidman and Paul Bauerly rounded out the top 10.
On the podium, Martin described himself as “super happy.”
“Yesterday was pretty disappointing for me,” Martin said after being blackflagged Friday for creeping forward on the start. “I just wanted to come back out here today and win. When I had a clear track ou there I was super excited. I just had a big old grin on my face.”
Martin drives the Dupont/Jack Links/Motorfist Polaris for Judnick Motorsports.
Tremblay was asked on the podium what he and Martin were talking about after the race. He said they were discussing some lines on the track, and the fact that they were “just happy that it isn’t a green one up here,” meaning Hibbert on the top step of the podium again.
Tremblay drives the Amsoil/Makita/Rock Force Energy Ski-Doo for Scheuring Speed Sports.
Ohman looked both pleased and relieved after finally making it onto the podium in round 14. He drives the Formula XP-S/Foremost Insurance/NSK Ski-Doo for Warnert Racing.
1. Ross Martin (Polaris); 2. Tim Tremblay (Ski-Doo); 3. Emil Ohman (Ski-Doo); 4. Kyle Pallin (Polaris); 5. Tucker Hibbert (Arctic Cat); 6. Zach Pattyn (Arctic Cat); 7. Kody Kamm (Polaris); 8. Robbie Malinoski (Ski-Doo); 9. Johan Lidman (Polaris); 10. Paul Bauerly (Ski-Doo); 11. Mike Bauer (Polaris); 12. Bobby LePage (Polaris); 13. Justin Broberg (Polaris); 14. Derek Ellis (Arctic Cat); 15. Logan Christian (Arctic Cat).
Much of the same off the start in Saturday’s Buffalo River Race Park Pro Lite main with Jake Scott busting out to the early lead with Andrew Carlson (Carlson Racing/Polaris) and David Joanis (Royal Distributing/Ski-Doo) in hot pursuit. But with the podium all but decided with just a several laps to go in the 12-lap contest, all heck broke loose when Carlson wadded up and Joanis ran over him.
As both racers on the ground (thankfully OK) and their sleds on their sides, Andrew Lieders (Leighton Motorsports/Polaris) and Joey Sagan (FR Motorsports/Ski-Doo) came blasting past and into the final two podium spots behind Scott. And though Travis Muller (Warnert Racing/Ski-Doo) and Riley McClelland (McClelland Racing/Arctic Cat) would give chase, there weren’t enough laps left to catch Lieders (2nd) and Sagan (3rd).
And Scott was long gone.
“My second win of the weekend … I’m so pumped right now,” said Scott, who qualified in the No. 1 position for Saturday’s Pro Lite main event. “I got the holeshot and then just had fun racing out there and was able to win.”
For Lieders it’d be his second podium of the weekend, admitting it was a bit of gift again (Joanis and Muller went down on Friday, allowing Lieders to make the podium) – but he’ll take it. “The Pro Lite class is so fast and chaotic … I’m just happy to get up here on the podium. Thanks to Trey Leighton, the team owner. It’s his birthday today and this is for him.”
The third and final podium position went to Sagan, who won his opening heat race and ran well all day to put himself in a position to podium – his first trip to the rostrum this year. “I’m super stoked, this is my first time up here,” said Sagan, who moved into the top ten in overall Pro Lite points (10th). “Sucks for David (Joanis), but that’s racing and I’m happy to capitalize on it.”
With one round remaining (two races) Scott now has a sizable 59-point lead over 2nd place overall Lieders.
Saturday Fargo Ram Snocross Pro Lite Results
1 42 Scott Jake Polaris Port Jefferson Station NY
2 857 Lieders Andrew Polaris Colby WI
3 202 Sagan Joey Ski-Doo Elmvale Ontario
4 436 Muller Travis Ski-Doo Windom MN
6 248 Nastala Brett Ski-Doo Milton WI
7 310 McClelland Riley Arctic Cat Red Wing MN
8 122 Wallenstein Kevin Ski-Doo Cadillac MI
9 105 Kraus Jordan Polaris Osage MN
10 115 Joanis David Ski-Doo Cochrane Ontario
11 144 Taillefer Maxime Ski-Doo Laval West Quebec
12 675 Rosemeyer Chase Ski-Doo Chippewa Falls WI
13 193 Pichner Matt Arctic Cat Owatonna MN
14 151 Carlson Andrew Polaris Elk River MN
15 793 Alexandre Renaud Ski-Doo Val-D’or Quebec
AMSOIL Championship Snocross Pro Lite Overall Points (w/ two rounds remaining)
1 Jake Scott 14 527 527 Team LaVallee 42 Polaris Port Jefferson Station, NY
2 Andrew Lieders 14 468 468 Lieders Racing/Leighton Motorsports 857 Polaris Colby, WI
3 David Joanis 14 466 466 Royal Distributing 115 Ski-Doo Cochrane,
4 Travis Muller 14 460 460 Warnert Racing 436 Ski-Doo Windom, MN
5 Renaud Alexandre 14 409 409 Team Jimmy John’s/Ski-doo/BossRacing 793 Ski-Doo Val-D’or, Quebec
6 Dylan Hall 14 392 392 Royal Distributing 421 Ski-Doo Ayr,
7 Andrew Carlson 14 368 368 Carlson Motorsports 151 Polaris Elk River, MN
8 Chase Rosemeyer 14 306 306 Team Bauerly Racing 675 Ski-Doo Chippewa Falls, WI
9 Matt Pichner 12 297 297 MP Racing 193 Arctic Cat Owatonna, MN
10 Joey Sagan 14 296 296 FR Motorsports 202 Ski-Doo Elmvale, Ontario