With the opening two rounds of racing in the books on the International Watercross Association (IWA) schedule, one thing is clear: The defending World Champion in snowmobile watercross is still the man to beat.
On a weekend with notably mixed weather at the host Brainerd International Raceway facility in Brainerd, Minnesota, David Fischer of Eagan, Minnesota, claimed the top spots in all three classes he entered – Pro Mod Drags, Pro Stock Ovals and, the most highly coveted class of them all, Pro Open Ovals.
The second-generation watercross champion was dialed in on his No. 36 Polaris and goes into the Grantsburg Snowmobile Watercross World Championship (July 16-18) as the favorite to defend his Pro Open title – which he first won in 2017 and then again in 2019. COVID restrictions cancelled last year’s Grantsburg, Wisconsin, title event, so Fischer was able to wear the crown for an extra year.
Let’s take a closer look at the racing from this past weekend, June 19-20, and see how that sets things up for the Watercross World Championship .
Pro Open Oval Racing
The most coveted title in the wacky and fast sport of snowmobile watercross racing is in Pro Open – that’s where a true world champion is crowned, and Fischer is looking for his third such title at the next IWA event. Fischer’s father, Jeff Fischer, was a longtime watercross racer himself and is still a fixture at the tracks. The elder Fischer earned the Grantsburg World Champion title in 2000.
Running a single-piped Polaris 850 RMK Khaos mod sled in a final otherwise dominated by twin-piped Ski-Doo 800 twins, David Fischer grabbed the holeshot out of lane one in the final and won the sprint to the first corner on the laketop course at Brainerd International Raceway (BIR).
Fischer held the lead throughout the early going in the eight-lap final but received a serious challenge on lap 4, when he took his turn around the “equilizer buoy” that is set at a wider stance than the normal buoys – each driver must take the longer route once during the race. He came out virtually size-by-side with Chris Erzar of Madison, South Dakota, on his No. 987 Ski-Doo mod and had to out-tack him in the following corner. The sleds nearly touched, but Fischer got through clean and led the rest of the way.
In an interview with Snow Goer after the event, Fischer said he is confident going into the Grantsburg event, “It feels good knowing that the equipment is dialed-in and working well,” Fischer said. He did note, however, that the World Championship event always brings in expanded competition – often including a contingent of racers from the Northeast – and anything can happen once the waves getting stirred up on Memory Lake at the mid-July event.
Erzar finished a solid second, with James Marietta of Hubbell, Michigan, third on his No. 363 Ski-Doo – his second straight third-place performance to open the season. Justin Mackadanz of Melrose, Minnesota, worked his way through a crowded field and into the final but once there had to settle for fourth place on his No. 209 Ski-Doo.
Other Oval Challenges
Utilizing a different Polaris 850 RMK Khaos in the Pro Stock class (where the only allowed modifications are in the clutching and silencer), Fischer again reached the finish line first. Justin Mackedanz finished second for the second straight race this season on his 850 Ski-Doo, while Polaris riders Aaron Vowles of Albany, Minnesota, and Jon Dufour of St. Francis, Minnesota, took third and fourth, respectively.
Rachel O’Brien is trying to stake her claim as the fastest woman on water this year by claiming the Semi-Pro Open class at BIR. The Siren, Wisconsin-based racer sunk a couple of times in her heat races at the season-opener earlier in June but came back strong on Father’s Day weekened. Jake Neurer and Mitchell Segens – both from Cumberland, Wisconsin – finished second and third, respectively, in the class, with Matt Czoczok of Park Rapids, Minnesota, fourth.
Ben Eastman of Stacy, Minnesota, continued his hot start to the season on his Polaris sled in Semi-Pro Stock action, winning for the second straight event, both times with the same exact finishing order behind him: Matt Czeczok in second, Aaron Strom third and Chet Atkinson fourth.
Drag Racing On Water
Drag racing on water isn’t quite as popular with the fans as the multi-lap oval races, but the racing is still hotly contested.
In Pro Mod, it was more of David Fischer. Not surprisingly, the sled that gives him such great holeshots in the oval class is pretty quick in drags as well. He said only suspension changes are made on the sled between when its run in ovals vs. drags.
The same James Marietta who finished third in Pro Open Ovals claimed second in drags, with straightline specialist Aaron Lundeen of Maple Grove, Minnesota, third.
The 800 Drags class victory was earned by Brad Barrette of Hubble, Michigan, with Dan Honeck of Isanti, Minnesota, claiming his second second-place finish of the young season in his wake and Matt Ledin in third.
The 600 Drags class featured just three entries, and Kolten Laurie of Allouex, Michigan, was fastest of them all. Brad Maslow nailed down second ahead of John Fox.
BIR 2.0 Results: June 19-20, Brainerd, Minnesota
Pro Open: 1. David Fischer; 2. Chris Erzar; 3. James Marietta; 4. Justin Mackedanz; 5. Corey Huls
Pro Stock: 1. David Fischer; 2. Justin Mackedanz; 3. Aaron Vowles; 4. Jon Dufour; 5. Ian VanVickle
Semi Pro Open: 1. Rachel O’Brien; 2. Jake Nuerer; 3. Mitchell Sebens; 4. Matt Czeczok; 5. Jake Mackedanz
Semi Pro Stock: 1. Ben Eastman; 2. Matt Czeczok; 3. Aaron Strom; 4. Chet Atkinson; 5. Cody Lakner
Sports Class: 1. Scott Martinson; 2. Kolten Laurie; 3. Erika Whitaker; 4. Jesse Barrette; 5. John Fox
Mod Drags: 1. David Fischer; 2. James Marietta; 3. Aaron Lundeen; 4. Bryan Zuccaro; 5. Scott Martinson
800 Drags: 1. Brad Barrette; 2. Dan Honeck; 3. Matt Ledin; 4. Ben Eastman; 5. Aaron Lundeen
600 Drags: 1. Kolten Laurie; 2. Brad Maslow; 3. John Fox
Editor’s Note: This review was originally published in the October 2020 issue of Snow Goer. Every issue of Snow Goer magazine includes in-depth sled reports and comparisons, aftermarket gear and accessories reviews, riding destination articles, do-it-yourself repair information, snowmobile technology and more! Subscribe to Snow Goer now to receive issues delivered to your door or your computer for a low cost.