So what does it take to be named a season champion in a year like this?
Consistency. That’s what Quebec’s Tim Tremblay proved as he earned the No. 1 plate on the International Series of Champions (ISOC) Amsoil Championship Snocross Series yesterday with a third-place finish at the Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, season finale.
If you look only at the weekend winners over the 15-event series, parity rules: Ross Martin won four finals (Duluth Sunday, Ironwood Saturday, New York Sunday and Lake Geneva Saturday), Tremblay won four (Canterbury Friday, Pontiac, Fargo both days), Robbie Malinoski won three times (Duluth Saturday, New York Saturday and ERX Friday) and Tucker Hibbert won three times (Ironwood Sunday, Canterbury Saturday, ERX Saturday).The only other winner this year? The amazing Kody Kamm in his first-ever Pro Open final yesterday in Lake Geneva, after wrapping up the Pro Lite championship the day before.
So, back to the points, it would seem to be pretty close, right? Particularly between Martin (Dupont-backed Polaris) and Tremblay (Foremost Insurance Ski-Doo)?
Look beyond the top spot on the box, however, and you’ll see that Tremblay finished in a podium (top three) position at 13 of the 15 events, stopped only by a fourth-place finish in Ironwood and a 13th on the opening weekend in Duluth, when he had a mechanical problem while leading. For the record, he had four victories and two second-place finishes to go along with seven thirds.
By contrast, Martin finished “off the box” six times, including one 14th and one 15th. The mechanical failure at the round 13 stop at ERX in Elk River, Minnesota was most glaring, because that’s when Tremblay really started asserting control in the points chase.
For the record, the resurgent Malinoski (Amsoil-backed Ski-Doo) finished third in points thanks to 10 podium finishes. He had to play catch-up all year, though, after missing the final in round 2 at Duluth.
Long Island, New York, native Darrin Mees (Ski-Doo) ended up fourth in points despite never reaching the podium, but he made every final all year and pretty-much finished mid-pack in every race. That allowed him to earn Rookie of the Year honors on the circuit.
Tucker Hibbert’s (Monster Energy Arctic Cat) up-and-down season finished on a very notable down at Lake Geneva on Saturday. The X Games and long-time snocross dominator suffered internal injuries from a nasty crash on the downhill section Saturday evening, including a moderate laceration of a kidney and bruising on the pancreas. His stay in the hospital meant no racing on Sunday. That, combined with the missing points from the New York event Hibbert skipped to race in Europe, helped Mees lock down fourth. Still, in the 12 finals that Hibbert did compete in, he had three wins, no seconds and three thirds – far below the standard of excellence he has set for himself.
Other than Tremblay, Martin, Malinoski and Hibbert, no other driver ended up on the podium more than once. Those who did make a visit were the retiring TJ Gulla (second at Duluth), Logan Christian (second at Pontiac), Zach Pattyn (third at Pontiac), Emil Ohman (second at Fargo), Mathieu Morin (second in the other Fargo final), Brett Bender (third at ERX) and then Kamm at Lake Geneva.
When evaluating Tremblay’s season, it’s also worth noting that he won the big Pro Open final at the Eagle River World Championship Snowmobile Derby in January and took two of three Pro Open finals at the high-profile Grand Prix de Valcourt in February. Total it all up, and it’s easy to make the case that he was the best of the best in snocross in 2012.