Summer is sadly coming to an end, which I think we call can admit is mildly depressing. However, there are two bright lights at the end of that tunnel. One is that the International Watercross Association comes together with the Wausau Watercross Group and Studman Racing over the last weekend in August to host the final race of their season. The second is that in the next several months the very same lake on which the watercrosser’s competed will freeze and become host to the Wausau 525 Ice Oval Championship.
As it was the last race of the season it was also the last chance drivers had to better themselves in the running for a season points championship. The Pro Open class may have been the best example of that battle, as several drivers each went into the weekend with a shot at being deemed number one. Current World Champion and defending Pro Points Champion Chad Maki held the top points position when racing began on Saturday but it became clear early on that he had his work cut out for him if he wanted to hold onto it. Aboard his Ski-Doo Maki was fast through qualifying but could not beat the Bikeman Performance powered Yamaha of Brian McCurdy, Jr., who went undefeated.
Fastest off the line McCurdy, Jr. led the eight-lap final from the get go with Maki and Andy Busse at his heels, both waiting for an opportunity to pass. During the final lap it looked like Maki could have had his chance when McCurdy, Jr. took the last corner just wide enough for him to cut underneath him and possibly take the lead. However, Maki’s throttle had flipped completely over in the previous corner and when he lifted his finger off it for just a second to try and fix it in the back straight away, he and his sled met the water in a far from friendly manner. McCurdy, Jr. finished the race and took the win, at which point he simultaneously became the IWA’s number one Pro driver and Points Champion for the second time in his career, with the first time being in 2008. Andy Busse finished second in the race and Dennis Rhyner took third.
Although Maki wasn’t able to complete the Pro Open final, he cleaned house in the Pro Stock class. After being the man to beat all weekend he added a win in the final and the title of Pro Stock Points Champion to his list of 2010 accomplishments. Finishing behind him were Dale Lindbeck and Shawn Zurn, respectively.
The most dominant name in Semi Pro Open all season has been Greg Metz, so it came as no surprise when he once again had an outstanding weekend and left the rest of the field behind him in the final. In his second year of watercross racing Metz secured his position as a top contender as well as earning the title of Semi Pro Open Points Champion. Dan Dombrowsky finished second and John Stadick rounded off the top three.
In the Stock division of the Semi Pro classes Troy Marsh, aboard his Ski-Doo took a win in the final and like the winners before him also became the Points Champion his class, both of which resulted in an extremely loud uproar from his always impressive personal cheering section. David Fischer was able to propel himself to a second place finish and Bud Coen took a third.
Cole Engstrand was happy to take home his first career win in the 600 Drag class on his Polaris by beating Eric Keith and Laura Henderson, who finished second and third in that order. Despite his second place finish in the final, Eric Keith was still deemed the class Points Champion based on his performance throughout the season.
In a battle that has been ongoing throughout the season, Krista Maki-Zurn and David Fischer once again had to face each other in the 800 Drag final. In a race to the finish Fischer came out just ahead of Maki-Zurn, who took a close second with Cody Engstrand finishing behind her. In the running for season points, the three finished in the same order.
As the fastest snowmobiles lined up against one another in the Mod Drag final, it was the Ski-Doo of Andy Busse that was the quickest and took the win. In an extremely close finish Maki placed second and Jeff Fischer took third. Absent from the final was Matt Ledin, who throughout the season has been dominant while riding the Ski-Doo of Shawn Zurn. After the sled blew up on Zurn during Saturday qualifying, Ledin was left without a sled to race but nonetheless was able to end the season with the title of Mod Drags Points Champion.
If you missed the watercross action this season I strongly recommend that you put attending a race high on your list of things to do next summer. In a circuit where the racers main goal behind winning is to put on an awesome show for their fans, I guarantee that you won’t be disappointed. For more information please visit www.iwausa.org.