We’re getting ready to head to the USCC Red Lake I-500 drivers’ meeting where we’ll get official results after the second of three days of cross-country action. It was a beautiful day for racing as visibilty was good under hazy skies and temperatures near 30 degrees.
USCC spokesman Chad Colby said during the second repair session a few hours ago that there was going to be some drama at the meeting. Apparently several time penalties will be handed out, which will shuffle the leader board quite a bit. The meeting starts at 6:30 CST at the Seven Clans Casino near Thief River Falls, Minn. We hope to chat with a few racers and officials to go with the results.
The meeting was less dramatic than expected. Four drivers were penalized, including race leader D.J. Ekre. Ekre (Arctic Cat) was penalized for failing to make a complete stop at the Highway 1 crossing.
Ekre said he and fellow Cat rider Ryan Simons stopped simultaneously, but their sleds tangled on the ditch slope after they crossed the highway. “I tried to tell him to move over while we were at the stop,” Ekre said. But Simons augered into the ditch after he crossed the highway and Ekre piled into him, Ekre said. Simons was able to free his sled, leaving the No. 52 Cat driver to dig himself out.
Today’s track covered about 170 miles, most of it was ditches. Arctic Cat racer Brian Dick said the course was rough. “It was more of a racer course today. Friday was pretty wide open,” he said. “You got through a real tough section today. You guys did a heckuva job getting through there,” said USCC President Pat Mach at tonight’s meeting. “Some riders said the course ‘was the way it used to be.’ Unfortunately those guys weren’t on 128 hp sleds,” Mach said, comparing today’s cross-country race snowmobiles to ones of the past.
Dick started the day in third place, but he battled an exhaust system problem from about 50 miles into today’s loop until 15 miles from the finish line, he said. “I changed the [ignition] coil, plugs, checked the pipe twice and couldn’t fix it,” he said. The culprit turned out to be the Y-pipe where an insert broke off and restricted flow, he said. Eventually it broke apart and the engine ran fine. Dick sits in 16th place in the Pro 600 class. “I’m out of [contention to win], but there’s no point in quitting,” he said.
Pro Fast Time of the Day was Cory Davis, turning a lap of 2 hours, 59 minutes and 28 seconds. Top semi-pro today was Chad Kyllo with 3:07:41 . Trevor John won the Expert 85 class for the second day in a row with a 3:25:40 loop. All three drivers race for the Christian Brothers Arctic Cat team.
The race started with 123 riders on Friday, but the field has been pared down to 78 for the third and final day. Ekre will leave the starting line tomorrow morning with a 5-second lead over Ryan Huston. Here are the official standings for some of the classes after Day 2:
Pro 600: 1. DJ Ekre 5:30:14 (Cat); 2. Ryan Huston 5:30:20 (Cat); 3. Cory Davis 5:30:37 (Cat); 4. Dan Ebert 5:31:50 (Cat); 5. Gabe Bunke 5:34:42 (Pol); 6. Cody Kallock 5:42:24 (Cat); 7. Jesse Thielen 5:51:29 (Pol); 8. Aaron Christensen 5:52:04 (Pol); 9. Arne Rantanen 5:52:19 (Cat); 10. Chad Lian 5:52:53 (Cat).
Semi Pro 600: 1. Ken Christensen (Pol); 2. Chad Kyllo (Cat); 3. Ryan Faust (Pol); 4. Dustin Holmstrom (Pol); 5. Spencer Fett (Cat); 6. Jeff Ignaszewski (Pol); 7. Erik Bute (Cat); 8. Steve Arneson (Cat); 9. Korey Kilinski (Doo); 10. Scott Pivec (Cat).
Expert 85: 1. Trevor John (Cat); 2. Bryce Buchanan (Cat); 3. Jeff Gruhlke (Cat); 4. Brad Cierzan (Cat); 5. Carter Diesen (Cat); 6. Joey Hallstrom (Cat); 7. Brian Perreault (Cat); 8. Jason Kangas (Cat); 9. Paul Dick (Cat); 10. Chris Sobeck (Cat).