For the first time in two years, teams were racing once again on the ice of Pine Lake for the Gerald Dyrdahl Memorial. The event which was originally scheduled for December 12th and 13th was postponed twice due to ice conditions. The race was then scheduled for Jan 1st and 2nd but due to the majority of Cor Powersports crew members either testing positive for COVID-19 or having direct contact with it, the race was pushed back another week. January 8th was the day sleds returned to the ice to race at 100+ mph speeds.
Saturday started out with the two lap Pro Open and Semi Pro Improved qualifiers. These were timed races to set the lineup for the finals later in the day. On lap one, former Pine Lake champ Zach Herfindahl went out with a mechanical which resulted in a DNF on his Arctic Cat. After two laps of timed racing, Canadian racer Aaron Christensen timed in 5 seconds faster than the remainder of the field on his Polaris. Re Wadena timed second, Pro rookie Paul Brown in third, Dylan Stevens fourth and Ross Erdman fifth quick, all on Arctic Cat machines. In the Semi Pro Improved division, Dustin Schwandt set the fastest time 14 seconds over the second sled on his Arctic Cat. The Walter brothers, Brandon and Cody timed in second and third only 0.6 seconds apart on their Polaris sleds. Boe Bunke was fourth fastest on his Polaris with Jesse Hallstrom rounding out the top five on his Arctic Cat. Cooper Kangas, Evan Peppel, and Adam Longtin all went out with a DNF on lap one.
Races two through five consisted of all of the non-Pro and Semi Pro classes. These racers compete both days and merge their times together to determine class winners.
Race six of the day was the six-lap Semi Pro Improved final. This race and the following were supposed to be ran as heads-up races (first to the finish line), but with very low visibility across the lake, the crew decided to make them both timed races for safety reasons. Sleds got the green flag and Polaris rider, Evan Peppel took the early race lead. He consistently put up fast laps separating himself from the pack by 30 seconds until the final lap when suddenly, he ran out of fuel. Due to Peppel’s misfortune, Dustin Schwandt, who was running a strong second, took over the lead and won the race on his Arctic Cat. Boe Bunke came through second on his Polaris 7 seconds back, and Cody Wolter rounded out the podium 30 seconds behind the leader on his Polaris.
The last race of day one was the Pro Open final. This race was also run as a timed event, 10 laps with a mandatory fuel stop. Sleds got the green flag and Polaris rider Aaron Christensen quickly found speed, putting himself out front. On lap three, Polaris’ Justin Tate had mechanical issues and went out with a DNF. Dohrn, Arlaud, and Busse all fueled on lap three. On lap four, Dylan Stevens ran the fastest lap of the race and then took his fuel stop. Erdman, Hetteen, D. Revering, Lian and Olson all fueled on lap five with Dohrn taking a DNF.
Christensen still led the pack on lap six with Fiel, Wadena, Stevens, and Selby timing in behind. On lap seven, Fredrickson and Hetteen both dropped out of the race. On lap eight, the leader Christensen took his fuel stop and regained the lead. While running second, Dylan Stevens blew his clutch with one to go taking him out of the competition. Christensen was fast all day and took home the Pro Open win on his Polaris. Matt Feil took home second place on his Arctic Cat 41.7 seconds behind Christensen with Re Wadena in third on his Arctic Cat 1 minute 48.8 seconds out of the lead. Six sleds scored DNF with two sleds not starting the feature; Langaas and Herfindahl.
Back For More On Sunday
Sunday brought frigid cold temperatures staying around the 20 below zero mark most of the day. Wind wasn’t an issue but the snow dust liked to sit up in the air. This made visibility tricky up toward the start/finish line.
Race one was the Pro Stock and Semi Pro Stock two-lap qualifier. Due to a transponder and timing/scoring issue, times were not coming through correctly, which resulted in faulty results. After trying to figure out times manually all day, the scoring officials were able to finalize the Semi Pro Factory class but there were discrepancies for the Pro Factory class. After a meeting with racers and local promoter the decision was made to draw chips for starting spots in the 10-lap heads-up Pro Factory final.
Races two through five consisted of all the other classes the Cor Powersports offers. In race two, Mike Carver (Arctic Cat) took the overall win in the Masters 50+ class with Todd Severson (Arctic Cat) in second only 2.9 seconds back. In the Pro Women’s class, Mckenna Cloose (Arctic Cat) took her first overall win with Lydia Sobeck (Ski-Doo) in second 2.1 seconds back and Savannah Landrus (Polaris) in third. In the Sport Improved Stock class, Trent Reierson clinched the win on his Arctic Cat with Derek Kloety (Arctic Cat) in second and Lydia Sobeck taking third on her Ski-Doo.
Race three consisted of the Junior, Sport Women and Vintage classes. In the Junior 10-13 class, Rielly Clark took the win on his Arctic Cat with Bennett Iverson in second and Reese Novacek in third. In Junior 10-13 girls class, Madyson Landin was the lone entry so she took home the win on her Polaris. Keagen Houser took control of the Junior 14-17 class with Elliott Clark in second and Brady Wadena in third, all on Arctic Cats. In Junior 14-17 girls class, Frankie Omang took the win on her Arctic Cat with Unity Gausen in second (Polaris) and Katie Clark in third (Arctic Cat). Annie Olson showed speed in the Sports Women’s class taking the overall win over Gabby Hallstrom, both on Arctic Cat machines. Two vintage racers took on the 10.7 mile course and both sleds finished all six laps over two days. Paul Sillerud took the win over Collin Grover both running Arctic Cats.
In race four, the classic and Pro Vet 40+ sleds duked it out. Hometown contender Glen Arlaud took the win in the classic class on his Arctic Cat. Collin Grover (Arctic Cat) came through second with Paul Votava (Polaris) taking third. In the Pro Vet 40+ class, Christensen and Tate were running a close race all weekend. On day two, Tate took a chunk of ice to the eye, shattering his goggles while battling with Christensen resulting in a black eye. Christensen (Polaris) took home the win with Justin Tate (Polaris) holding onto second and Craig Ritzinger taking third.
The last race before the two main finals consisted of the Expert 600 Limited, Masters 40+ and Sport Stock classes. Keagen Houser (Arctic Cat) went two for two in his classes taking another win in the Expert 600 Limited class. Elliot Clark (Arctic Cat) took another second place with Blair Potucek (Polaris) taking third. In the Masters 40+ class, Mike Carver took this win on his Arctic Cat with Pro Women’s racer, Jill Hetteen taking second place on her Polaris and Chad Ingebretson took third on his Polaris. In the Sport Stock class, Trent Reirson took another win for the weekend with Derek Kloety and Justin Olson rounding out the all-Arctic Cat podium.
Race six on the day was the Semi Pro Stock final. The green flag dropped and Arctic Cats Dustin Schwandt took the early race lead with Peppel, Bunke, and C. Wolter close behind. On lap two, Peppel took over the lead and controlled the race from this point on. After six laps, Evan Peppel took home his second career Semi Pro Stock win on his Polaris. Dustin Schwandt crossed the line second on his Arctic Cat and Boe Bunke rounded out the podium on his Polaris.
The featured race was up next with $10,000 up for grabs. Starting spots were drawn at random with Marshall Busse, Taylor Bunke, Gunner Arlaud, Ken Murphy and Ross Erdman on the front row. Arlaud got the early race lead on his Arctic Cat four-stroke. Erdman, Busse, and Bunke following behind but Arlaud was extending his lead early. On lap three, second-place running Erdman pulled off the track and scored a DNF for the race. Race leader Arlaud decided to take his fuel stop early in the race, which shuffled him back out of the top five. This put Busse into the lead with Bunke now running second. Busse took fuel lap five which then put Bunke at the front of the pack. On lap six, Bunke went in for fuel and beat the lead sled out on the track, Gunner Arlaud. Racing was tight the remainder of the race.
On lap eight, Marshall Busse had a ski bolt bust and resulted in a DNF for him. After 10 laps, Bunke (Polaris) claimed the Gerald Dyrdahl Memorial Pine Lake 200 15 seconds ahead of second place Arlaud (Arctic Cat) and Justin Tate (Polaris) taking third, 1 minute back from the lead. Of the starting 21 sleds, there were nine DNFs; Chad Lian, Paul Brown, Dylan Stevens, Erdman, Benjamin Langaas, Busse, Dalton Fredrickson and Matt Feil. There were a few hard chargers in the pack; Dan Revering started in the last row and made it all the way up to a seventh place finish.
We will be back in action for round two in Okoboji Iowa for the Okoboji 100 on January 22-23. See you there!