News & Notes From The Duluth Snocross

As with any event, several things occurred at the season-opening ISOC Amsoil Duluth National that didn’t make the main story. Here’s a notebook dump of sorts, plus a look at some of the stats behind the race.

  • The Pro Super Stock final Saturday night included 6 Polaris sleds, 5 Arctic Cats and 4 Ski-Doos, which reflected their driver entry numbers fairly well, as Polaris had 12 entries in the class, Cat had 11 and Ski-Doo had 6. In the Pro Open, Cat had 7 of its 10 sleds in the final, Polaris had just 4 of its 10 and Ski-Doo placed 4 of its 6 entries.
  • Each day, the Pro podium looked the same, from a brand standpoint, with a Cat driver on the top step (that’s Tucker Hibbert), a Polaris driver on his right (second-place Ross Martin each day) and a third-place Ski-Doo Canadian driver on his left (Tim Tremblay in Stock, Brett Turcotte in Pro Open).
    Before Sunday's Pro final, (from left) Garth Kaufman, Tucker Hibbert and TJ Gulla searched the race track on foot, looking for good lines.
  • The top 9 drivers in the Pro Open final come from 9 different places. In order of finish, you’ve got Minnesota (Hibbert), Wisconsin (Martin), British Columbia (Turcotte), Sweden (Johan Lidman), Quebec (Tim Tremblay), Alberta (Ryan Simons), Idaho (Garth Kaufman), Vermont (TJ Gulla) and Ontario (Iain Hayden). It wasn’t until we got to Quebecois Matheiu Morin that we had our first repeat in terms of state or province. 
  • From the “friendly faces” department, it was good to see Justin Tate back out at the snocross races again this year. The 34-year-old now living in Scandia, Minnesota, won every time he hit the track in Pro Am Plus 30, and he missed the regular Pro Super Stock final by one spot after finishing sixth in the LCQ.
    Kody Kamm (center) is flanked by James Johnstad and Brett Nastala in the all-Polaris Sport Super Stock podium
  • A total of 48 drivers were entered in the Semi-Pro Super Stock class, but there was a clear pecking order at Duluth, as the same five drivers finished in the top five positions both days – you’d think at least one of them would have had trouble in a heat race or something in such a crowded field. Again, there was a lot of geography covered: Minnesotan Cody Thomsen won the final in the class Saturday night on his Cat ahead of Darrin Mees (New York, Ski-Doo), Mike Bauer (Wisconsin, Polaris), Derek Ellis (North Dakota, Ski-Doo) and John Stenberg (Sweden, Ski-Doo). Sunday, it was Ellis winning, followed by Thomsen, Mees, Stenberg and then Bauer. They may be setting up a season-long battle to be the new Semi-Pro Super Stock champ after last year’s title holder, Logan Christian, moved up to Pro this year.
  • Watch up for Jennifer Pare. The Le Dore, Quebec, racer showed up at Duluth and claimed the Pro Women’s class, and finished as high as second in one of her heats racing against the guys in Sport Super Stock. It’s no fluke – she cleaned up last year on the Super Competition Motorsport circuit, winning points titles not just in the Women’s class but also in two Sport classes.  
    Duluth also saw the debut of longtime racer, race team owner and aftermarket powerhouse Glenn Erlandson (center) as the ISOC race director.
  • Many at Duluth noticed one major Pro was missing from the field. “Launchin’” Levi LaVallee was all over the pits and the P.A. system, but he was nowhere to be found on the track. Levi is saving himself for his planned record-breaking jump on New Year’s Eve on ESPN as a part of the Red Bull No Limits presentation. Levi said he was itching to get out on the snocross course, but he has to stay focused on this high-profile event.
    The young racers in the Champ 120 6-12 class were the centerpiece of Sunday's opening ceremonies.
  • Also missing (mostly) on Sunday was Brett Bender on his No. 19 Polaris. Bender got caught in a nasty first corner crash Saturday night that left him stuck under several machines; he left with a limp and only took green flags to collect last place points in the heads in Pro Open, he then pulled off the track. We’re hoping he’s back at Fargo.
  • In case you missed it, the live feed from the races this weekend on was fabulous. If you’re a true fan, it’s definitely worth checking out.
  • Finally, and maybe most importantly, the first weekend of the Snow Goer Snowmobile Racing Challenge is now in the books, and the top point getter was a Jake Roskoski of Virginia, Minnesota, who collected 145 points. Tied for second? Two insiders: Former Blair Morgan team manager Jamie Anseeuw and a member of the Crapo family (David) from out in Idaho. Our staff? Mid pack at best!!  Hey, it’s not too late — the gig runs for 12 different events, and only each player’s best eight weeks count for year end points. Sign up today.
  • Check back later this week for a photo essay from Duluth here on this site.

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