January 5, 2010
The frigid air during the United States Cross-Country (USCC) Grafton Snow Drifter 100 didn’t slow down Alaska’s Cory Davis as he swept the Pro classes January 3 at the season-opening event in Grafton, North Dakota. A record turnout of racers awoke to minus 19 degrees Fahrenheit on the thermometer and, despite blue skies and sun most of the day, temps struggled to reach the single digits below zero. Racers also worked against snow dust and flat light conditions when clouds rolled in later in the day.
Davis started his run by winning the Pro Open race with a two-lap time of 29:08.5 over the 12-mile course, 11.2 seconds ahead of second place rider D.J. Ekre, a fellow Arctic Cat rider and Davis’ Christian Brothers Racing teammate. Polaris rider Aaron Christensen finished third.
Davis stayed at the front in the four-lap Pro 600 race besting veteran Polaris rider Corey Davidson by almost a minute with a total time of 1:02:13.118 ahead of Davidson’s 1:03:10.294 run.
The race was more of a sprint than a typical USCC Pro event as officials shortened the race due to fading light. Davis attacked the course and timing showed him pulling a lead on the field from the first lap. Davis’ teammates Ryan Simons (1:03:44.309) and Ekre (1:03:51.153) finished third and fourth with Gabe Bunke (Polaris, 1:05:12.207) and Brian Dick (Arctic Cat, 1:05:12.207) rounding out the top six.
“It was a real nice day out and that made it easy for me to race, but later in the day it got a little junky,” Davis said. “During the Pro 600 race it was hard to see in the ditches but I could see well on the river. Everything went awesome for me, my sled ran great, we had zero problems and the course had a ton of markers and it was put together so it was really safe to run. It was just a great day.”
Davis is a relative newcomer to the USCC results sheets having run just two races last year — including at win at the Munising event in February — but he stresses he’s no newcomer to cross-country.“I grew up riding like this in Alaska,” he said. “Up there we just go and it’s all about reading terrain.”
In the Semi-Pro 600 class, Arctic Cat rider Chad Kyllo took the win ahead of 34 other riders. Kyllo, a veteran rider and race mechanic, logged a two-lap time of 32:17.3, almost 13 seconds ahead of second place Polaris rider Ken Christensen. Jeremy Tulenchik took third on his Arctic Cat.
Bryce Buchanan set a blazing fast two-lap time of 32:03.2 to win the Expert 85 class, eight seconds ahead of fellow Cat rider Dave Dirkman and a whopping 29 seconds ahead of third-place Arctic Cat rider Jason Kangas. Buchanan also won the Arctic Cat Expert 85 Improved class ahead of second place rider Logan Christian. Chris Klie won the Yamaha Sport 85 class over Marty Feil and third-place Timmy Kallock.
The Grafton 100 had 150 riders and 265 race entries, more than any previous USCC event, and an indication of the continued resurgence in cross-country racing. “I remember standing in a field with 50 guys back in the early days,” said USCC President Pat Mach. “We’ve come a long way, our numbers are growing every year and we’re seeing more and more young guys coming out to race.”
Up next for USCC is the Red Lake I-500 January 15-17. The Red Lake I-500 is the first race in the Seven Clans Casino 7-7-7 Challenge. For more information and complete race results visit www.usccracing.com.