Yes, Tucker Hibbert won again in an ISOC Amsoil Championship Series final, this time in Glydon, Minnesota. But before you yawn and click off the story, you should know that the races on this Friday night included many interesting tales, including a surprise black flag plus a first-time podium by an exited young racer.
And that was just in Pro Open. The Pro-Lite and Pro-Am Women classes had their own tales to tell in this small town 10 miles east of Fargo, North Dakota. This marked the 7th weekend of racing on the ISOC National circuit and 13th round for the Pro Open and Pro Lite classes.
Pro Open To Hibbert
Due to injuries and various other causes for attrition, all of the qualifying races now serve more as a means to set the selection order for the front row of the final and a way to collect season points rather than an elimination process. In fact, the Last Chance Qualifier eliminated just one snowmobile at Glyndon. But that’s not to say that the Pro Open field was watered down – the big names were all here.
When the starting lights flashed green, the Polaris race sleds of Ross Martin, Kody Kamm and Justin Broberg flashed out front, with top qualifier and snocross dominator Tucker Hibbert starting slow and getting pinched off slightly in the first turn. Martin grabbed the early lead and skied over the tabletop jump, with Kamm holding second and Hibbert quickly moving up from fifth to third.
Soon, though, the cause of Martin’s early lead became apparent, and costly, as a black flag was pointed his way for creeping forward on the start. Martin took his punishment on lap two, going wide on a turn and slowing to a coast as the other 14 sled in the final went by – he would be forced to charge from the back.
Up front, Kamm held the lead for about two more turns on his Pirtek/Monster Energy Polaris before Hibbert made quick work of him on his own Monster/Castle Racing Arctic Cat. Hibbert opened a short lead but Kamm was working hard to keep Hibbert in sight. That may have cost him, as he had his own off and surrendered second to the Carlson Racing/Best Western-backed Polaris of Lidman. Kamm quickly rejoined the fight in third.
They stayed in that order for several laps, with Broberg fourth, Robbie Malinoski fifth and Logan Christian sixth. Way back in the pack, Martin was on the charge, trying to regain every position possible. By lap 7 of the 20-lap final, Martin was up to ninth. The next lap, Martin moved to eighth, then seventh the following lap when Malinoski pulled off and appeared to be having problems with a nagging knee injury.
Up front, Hibbert continued doing what he has done all season: dominating. Lap after lap he pulled further and further ahead, lapping deep into the field. When Kamm made a charge past Lidman to grab second on lap 12, Hibbert was more than 10 seconds ahead of those two. The lead grew to 18 seconds by the time Hibbert took the white flag.
At the checkered, it was Hibbert with another wide margin of victory. Kamm cruised to second, with Lidman third. Then came Broberg followed by a resurgent Martin, who moved all the way back up to fifth. They were followed by Logan Christian, Kyle Pallin, Tim Tremblay and Zach Pattyn, with Darrin Mees 10th. The remaining five were Mike Bauer, Emil Ohman, Ross Bauerly, Derek Ellis and Robbie Malinoski.
After the race, Hibbert referred to the track as “gnarly” and admitted he didn’t get a very good start, due in part to Martin’s creeping on the starting line, which threw off Hibbert’s timing. But still, Hibbert again overcame all to win easily, this time within about 40 miles of his home in Pelican Rapids, Minnesota.
The happiest face on the podium belonged to the Swede – Johan Lidman. While he has earned a couple of podiums in a somewhat watered down snocross field at Eagle River the last couple of years, Friday marked his first Pro Open podium finish on the national ISOC circuit.
Debate Being Solved In Pro Lite
Earlier this year, a healthy debate could be had regarding who the top racer was in the Pro-Lite class, which generally includes about 2 future stars, two would-be future stars that never materialize and a bunch of guys that hope to be future stars but never even sniff a Pro Open podium.
The debate is coming to a quick close. Jake Scott of Port Jefferson Station, New York, has been a dominant force for more than a month. In doing so, he claimed the points lead in the class, and Friday in Glyndon, Minnesota, he expanded that lead in fashion by earning a dominating victory while his main competition had big troubles.
Scott swept his heat races, then ran away with the final, allowing him to gain maximum points on a night in which he entered the event with a 19 point lead.
Matt Pichner grabbed the surprise early lead with Dylan Hall second, but Scott has his sights set on the top spot early. Scott grabbed the lead on about lap four and then drove away from the pack to win easily on his LaVallee Racing/Mystic Lubricants Polaris. Behind him, the top five spots traded often, as various racers has trouble. Hall moved to second and Carlson was pushing Pichner hard for third when Carlson had an off.
David Joanis came into the night second in points but had trouble in his heats and hard to start in the second row of the final. He charged through he field and actually moved all the way up to third before he had his own hard crash which left his sled upside down in the main racing line. Travis Muller – third in points coming in – was also pushing for a podium position when he tumbled on the white flag laps and couldn’t get his sled back on its skis until the entire field passed him.
In the end, it was Scott, then Hall, Andy Lieders, Pichner and Chase Rosemeyer. That’ll send Scott into Sunday’s racing with a broad points lead, and a lot of confidence.
Pare Back On Top, Too
In Pro Am Women, Jennifer Pare’s dominance in Pro Open has returned. With her top competition missing for the stop in Glydon, Minnesota, Pare’s margin of victory was ridiculous. With two laps to go, she led by 36 seconds on her Leighton Motorsports Polaris.
She won easily and expanded her broad lead in the class. Courtney Petosky of Munising, Michigan, earned her first podium finish in a national event by finishing second on her No. 799 Arctic Cat. Jennifer Martel of Manitoba finished third on her Polaris.