An exciting yet rough-and-tumble season of snowmobile snocross racing comes to a conclusion this coming weekend, March 18-20, in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, when the best racers in the world (or, at least, the ones without season-ending injuries) gather at the ISOC Amsoil Championship Snocross series finale. Season championships, a decent chunk of money and pride are all on the line – and some of the racers may also be positioning themselves for a different ride next season.
Over the course of the winter, many folks may have lost track of the snocross scene, but Geneva is a grand time to get caught up. Going to this event is a fabulous Spring diversion, but if you can’t make it to the races in person you can watch them live all weekend here on snowgosite.wpengine.com by clicking on the “Live Racing” tab in the upper navigation bar. And, for the true enthusiast, take in a round of the Snowmobile Fantasy Racing Challenge game by clicking here. It’s free, easy to play and fun.
Back to Geneva, here are five reasons to pay attention to the action this weekend
The Tucker Sew-Up
With victories in 11 of the 14 rounds of snocross racing so far this season, plus an X Games win (though that’s a non-points event), Tucker Hibbert was once again his usual dominating self in the Pro Open class this winter. Going into Lake Geneva, he has an overwhelming 97-point lead on his nearest competitor. That said, there are a lot of points on the line this weekend, with three full rounds of Pro Open racing. Still, if Tucker does well Friday, he should have his 10th points championship wrapped up early on. Some may think it’s boring to watch Hibbert dominate races every weekend, but there’s something special about watching true greatness in action, and we don’t know how long we’ve have this veteran Arctic Cat racer around.
Who’s On Second?
Putting Hibbert aside, the positioning for year-end points in Pro Open could get interesting this weekend. Second-place Tim Trembley (539 points) has a decent but not overwhelming gap on fellow Ski-Doo racers Adam Renheim (493) and Lincoln Lemieux (486), with Polaris racer Kyle Pallin (477) on their heels and Corin Todd (431) a bit further back. Who will claim the last two spots on the season-ending points podium? Only time will tell, but it’s bound to be a dog fight.
Future Star Collide
The points battle in the Pro Lite class has been amazing to watch this year, as several racers have stepped up and won individual finals in this incredibly competitive class. But the guy who holds the points lead going into the final weekend, oddly enough, hasn’t won a single final this year. We’re talking about Arctic Cat racer Montana Jess of Westminster, Massachusetts. He’s amassed all sorts of points winning heat races and finishing on or near the podium, but has yet to win a final. Meanwhile, some other fast semi-pro racers – most notably Elias Ishoel but there are others as well – have had more crash-or-win approaches to their season. In fact, most agreed that Ishoel, a young Norwegian racer competing on a Warnert Ski-Doo, is the most talented racer in Pro Lite, and he could still win the points title. But he currently sits with 453 points, a full 54 behind leader Jess (507) and also behind Polaris racer Jake Angove (477). Lurking right behind Ishoel in fourth is Daniel Benham (446), with Maxime Teillefer (403) in fifth. There are just two rounds of Pro-Lite racing at Geneva.
After fighting off injuries early in the season and then spending the middle of the season finishing (at best) in the middle of the pack, many were starting to think that the end may be coming very soon for the career of Ross Martin (No. 837 Polaris). Then, at the last stop in the greater Chicagoland area on March 4-5, Martin magically returned to form, winning the Friday night final and then finishing second to Hibbert on Saturday. This being the closest track to his hometown of Burlington, Wisconsin, and this also being the site of his first breakthrough win when he bumped up from the Semi-Pro ranks, Martin is always a popular driver at the Lake Geneva event and should have a sizeable crowd cheering him on.
The Geneva Spectacle
Aside from wrapping up the race season, there are always plenty of other reasons to attend the annual Nielsen’s Snocross Grand Finale at the Grand Geneva Resort. First, as a race in far southern Wisconsin in mid March, it usually is held in very pleasant weather conditions. The forecast calls for a bit of a cooldown from where it’s been lately, but watching a snowmobile race in 40-degree temperatures certainly qualifies as comfortable. Beyond that, there are usually some of the next-year’s sleds on display at the event, meaning this might be a place to get a sneak peek of a 2017 sled this year. But, back to the race, the course at Geneva is usually rated as the favorite course by most of the top racers due to the track length, interesting topography and high fun factor.
Tucker Hibbert: 636 points – 12 podiums, with 11 victories and 1 second place finish
Tim Tremblay: 539 points – 6 podiums, with 1 victory and 5 third-place finishes
Adam Renheim: 493 points – 4 podiums, all second-place finishes
Lincoln Lemieux: 486 points – 4 podiums, with 2 seconds and 2 thirds
Kyle Pallin: 477 points – 3 podiums, with 2 seconds and a third
Corin Todd: 431 points – 2 podiums, both seconds
John Stenberg: 383 points – no podiums
Petter Narsa: 361 points – 3 podiums, with a second and 2 thirds
Ryan Springer: 338 points – no podiums
Corey Watkinson: 335 points – no podiums
OTHER PODIUM FINISHERS THIS YEAR:
Kody Kamm – 4 podiums, with 1 victory, 1 second and 2 thirds before an injury ended his season
Ross Martin – 2 podiums, a victory and a second
Jake Scott – 1 podium, a third-place finish
Logan Christian – 1 podium, a third-place finish, before an injury ended his season