Two weekends and four official rounds into the premier-level 2018-19 Amsoil Championship Snocross series, new stars have rapidly emerged, causing a major shift in the Power Rankings of the top competitors.
The most notable change? Ski-Doo racers took over most of the top spots on the heels of impressive finishes on the 2019 MXZ 600RS race sled that has looked like the machine to beat this season.
Shortly before the season-opening Duluth National held on November 23-25, Snow Goer reached out to team owners, factory race officials, race circuit officials and other snocross industry insiders to put together our exclusive Pre-Season Power Rankings (published Nov. 19). In that ranking, Polaris racer Kody Kamm, Ski-Doo’s Lincoln Lemieux and Arctic Cat’s Logan Christian were rated in the top three spots, but nobody at that point had yet to see the performance of the new race sleds side-by-side on the same track. There were also some intriguing young racers who a lot of people didn’t know where to rank.
Then the season opened, and Ski-Doo race sleds dominated the podium in Duluth, Minnesota, with Elias Ishoel winning round one and Lincoln Lemieux claiming round two. Two weeks later, the circuit returned to Jackson, Wyoming, for rounds three and four, and the results were strikingly similar – with Ski-Doos dominating the podium and Lemieux and Ishoel collecting checkered flags.
The power rankings aren’t just based on the results in the Pro class finals – we also factored in the results of each individual heat race when updating where the racers currently stand.
After an extended holiday break, the racing picks back up with rounds five and six on January 4-5 at Canterbury Park in Shakopee, Minnesota. Going into the race, here are updated power rankings below. Check them out, then be sure to make your picks in the free, easy and fun fantasy Snowmobile Racing Challenge game.
Power Rankings, as of December 24:
- Elias Ishoel, #200 Ski-Doo (previous rank: 8) – Not only has the exciting 20-year-old Norwegian won two of the four finals this year and collected a third-place finish, he’s also the only Pro with five heat race victories. Pre-season concerns about Ishoel sometimes driving over his head have not materialized.
- Lincoln Lemieux, #13 Ski-Doo (previous rank: 2) – The Vermont native hasn’t always made it easy on himself thanks to some rough heat races, and that’s ranked him behind Ishoel in the season points race despite equaling him with two wins in four finals this year. Lemieux and the Scheuring Speed Sports team for which he rides seem to rise when the big cheese is on the line.
- Adam Renheim, #311 Ski-Doo (previous rank: 7) – After consecutive second-place finishes in Jackson, plus three heat-race victories and an Amsoil Dominator trophy in his case, it’s obvious this 29-year-old Swede is ready for greatness this year.
- Kody Kamm, #53 Polaris (previous rank: 1) – The only non-Ski-Doo on the podium this year, Kamm has also won more heat races (four) than anybody except Ishoel. A last-place finish in the Friday final at Jackson hurt him in season points, but the 24-year-old Wisconsite was taken out about 200 yards from the starting line.
- Tim Tremblay, #11 Ski-Doo (previous rank: 3) – Three third-place finishes after charging through traffic each time speak to Tremblay’s strength and consistency, despite being the oldest in his class at 32. The Quebecois only has one heat race victory this season, and that keeps him narrowly behind Kamm for now.
- Daniel Benham, #221 Arctic Cat (previous rank: 11) – Quietly this rookie from Minnesota has had a nice start to the season and has been the best Cat racer. His finishes include a four- and seventh-place at Duluth and two sixth-place finishes at Jackson. He also has a heat race victory.
- Aki Pihlaja, #128 Ski-Doo (previous rank: 12) – There’s no doubt that this Finlander is fast, evidenced by his two fifth-place finishes, but he’s also far too loose, as evidenced by his two 15th/last place finishes after crashes in finals.
- Kyle Pallin, #324 Polaris (previous rank: 9) – The smiling Yooper has won two heat races and been strong at times in the finals, with a sixth, seventh and eighth place finishes to go along with a 14th after crashing late in round four in Jackson.
- Johan Lidman, #52 Arctic Cat (previous rank: 6) – After opening the season by not even making the final in round one, Lidman has been gaining momentum and finished eighth and fifth in the two finals in Jackson. The arrow is pointed up for this Swedish racer.
- Logan Christian, #43 Arctic Cat (previous rank: 3) – After finishing third in points last year and being a semi-regular on the podium, the start of the season has been disastrous for Christian – not only is his best finish in a final seventh, he hasn’t even finished in the top three in a heat race.
- Petter Narsa, #54 Polaris (previous rank: 5) – Not the start he was looking for after only making three of four finals, and his best finish is ninth. He certainly has the talent to climb back up this list.
- Corin Todd, #36 Polaris (previous rank: 10) – After winning his first heat race of the season in Duluth, Todd has been terrible in heat races, making him a regular in the last-chance qualifier. Once he backs into the final, though, the New York racer has had an eighth, ninth and two 11th-place finishes.
- Nick Pattyn, #98 Arctic Cat (previous rank: 14) – The friendly Michigan racer has made three of four finals, finished ninth in round four and has a second-place finish in a heat race. He could arguably be rated a couple of spots higher.
- Travis Muller, #436 Arctic Cat (previous rank: 15) – The rookie Cat racer is learning the ropes, while only making two of four finals. He was also the only racer who didn’t make the final in round four – 16 racers signed up and 15 made the final.
- Brett Nastala, #248 Arctic Cat (previous rank: 16) – The Wisconsin native has made three finals but has been at the back of the pack just about every time he’s been on the track – in heats or in finals.
- Montana Jess, #765 Arctic Cat (previous rank: 13) – Like Nastala, he’s spent a lot of time at the back and, like Muller, he was the only racer who didn’t qualify for the final in round three in Jackson. The optimist view: The only direction the Massachusetts native can go is up!
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