When I think of the Grantsburg World Championship Watercross Race, I think of my most favorite weekend of the year, blazing hot sun, delicious lemonade and the street dances that I love so much. After this years 34th Annual World Championship Race I’ve added one more thing, or should I say person, to that list. Chad Maki.
At age 19 he is already one of the most accomplished drivers in the sport but added to his long list of achievements is the title of 2010 World Champion, times two. The Inver Grove Heights native sailed through qualifying rounds going undefeated in Pro Stock and winning all but one of four Pro Open qualifiers. Maki won his first championship of the weekend on his Ski-Doo in Pro Stock by beating Howie Steenberg and Andy Busse, who placed second and third, respectively. Although pleased with the Pro Stock win, there were still bigger prizes to be had. By the end of the day on Sunday, all of the best Pro drivers were chomping at the bit for the chance to write their names in history and when the starting light flashed green the Pro Open field rocketed off the shore towards the most prestigious title in the sport.
Powered by a Bikeman Performance Yamaha, Brian McCurdy, Jr. led the majority of the race and was able to get comfortable after Maki’s sled got far more vertical than any racer would be happy with. Just when it seemed like Maki and his sled would take a swim, he somehow saved it and wasted no time at all making up lost ground. Under the impression that Maki was out of the picture, McCurdy, Jr. went wide in a corner to stay in calmer water, which opened the door for the #413 sled of Maki to cut down on the inside and make the pass for the lead. In an all out battle to the end, Maki took the checkered and the title of Pro Open Champion. McCurdy, Jr. finished second and Scott Mosher took a strong third on his brand new Mod Polaris, which until the day before this event had never seen water let alone been fired up.
Changing gears, Krista Maki-Zurn (of no relation to Chad Maki, besides sharing the title of World Champion,) made watercross history on her Ski-Doo in the 800 Drag class. After flying past the rest of the field from a slow start, Maki-Zurn became the first woman to ever win a championship title. Although she drove her sled to the title, Maki-Zurn was quick to thank all those who help her, including her husband/Pro-driver Shawn Zurn, GLH Performance, The Great Outdoors and Beaver Liquors, to name a few of many.
Although he finished second to Maki-Zurn in the 800 Drag class, David Fischer got a win of his own aboard his new Ski-Doo in the 600 Drag class.
It came as no surprise when last years Mod Drag winner Jerry Rinker came out on top after going undefeated in qualifying and setting the pace for his competitors. Rinker made it clear that he didn’t travel all the way from Canadensis, Pennsylvania for nothing, and took the win in the final on his Ski-Doo.
In his second year of racing watercross, Merrill, Wisconsin’s Greg Metz won his first championship title in the Semi Pro Open class. Metz was the man to beat all weekend as he went undefeated on his Polaris. Representing Arctic Cat, D.J. Lindbeck took a strong second place and J.T. Kosnitch rounded out the top three on his Ski-Doo.
Also from Merrill, Wisconsin was the winner of the Semi Pro Stock class. Similarly to Metz, Dan Dombrowsky was unbeatable through qualifying on his Yamaha and after passing Troy Marsh with two laps to go, Dombrowsky became the Semi Pro Stock Champion for his second year in a row. Marsh finished second and Joe Schellbach came in third.
As if all of that racing wasn’t exciting enough, the Six Four Industries freestyle crew and their ten-foot tall ramp were also present to literally heighten the spirits of the crowd. Six Four Industries founder Ben Deaton, along with Mark Siebenaler hit the home-made ramp for the first time ever on Saturday night and decided it was enough of a success to do it again on Sunday. On his Black Widow Combatt Team Ski-Doo, Deaton cleared the ramp and soared nearly four stories high and over 100 feet out before perfectly landing it in the water. Had his sled handled the impact as well as he did Deaton would have undoubtedly reached the shore and gone again. Six Four Industries is a brand new company that specializes in freestyle shows and can be hired for most any event. For more information visit Ben Deaton’s facebook page.
So needless to say, the 34th Annual Grantsburg World Championship Watercross Race succeeded once again in blowing my socks off and I’m already counting down the days until the 35th Annual World Championships. (Can anybody say 360?) Until then, you can get your watercross fix at the next International World Championship race in Hill City, Minnesota July 31-August 1, 2010. For complete results and more race information please visit www.iwausa.org.