The Oval Racers Alliance concluded their first season with an action packed weekend on Lake Mille Lacs in Garrison, Minnesota. Vintage and modern snowmobile racers and fans flocked to the event that took place February 27-28 with support from the Garisson commercial Club and the Blue Goose.
Before I get started on the awesome racing action that took place, I feel it’s only appropriate to begin with the group of people who made this even possible. Without the passion and dedication of the many volunteers who make up the Oval Racers Alliance, this even would not have been the success that it was. So coming from me personally, I applaud each and every one of them for contributing not only to the organization and event but most importantly to the sport of ice oval racing. Your love for the sport shines just as bright as the sun did for the entire weekend.
That being said, let’s get to the races! On the modern side of the spectrum, P.J. Wanderscheid claimed victories in both the Pro Open and Pro Champ classes. By the middle of the Pro Open race he had made his way around the Ski-Doo of Nick Dolezal and finished the race with the hard charging sled of Dustin Wahl behind him. With momentum and a win behind him, he went on to lead the Pro Champ final for the entire race. As the race continued the top three pulled away from the rest of the field and left the battle behind them. The race finished with Wanderscheid in first, Spencer Graff in second and Curtis Boivin in third.
In the meantime, there was just as much vintage racing to keep you on the tips of your boots and grasping tightly to your taco in a bag (which, by the way, were delicious.) For me, this event served as a huge learning experience and I am slowly but surely becoming more familiar and without a doubt more appreciative of vintage racing.
Devin Fackrell, on board an Arctic Cat, won both the IFS Sno Pro 440X and Late Model 440 Open classes. Jeff Karrow took a win in the Vintage 440 Stock class with Trevor Milberett in second and Andy Radil in third.
The F-500 class had a huge line-up and some of the closest racing of the weekend. In the end, the two Wahl Brothers Racing sleds, piloted by Jordan Wahl and Levi Cater finished first and second, respectively, with Ryan Kniskern placing third on his Arctic Cat.
Some of the best racing of the weekend came from the youngest group of drivers. In both Junior Novice and Junior I Stock Morgan Hoglund, on his Arctic Cat, took the checkered flag with Blaine Stephenson, also on an Arctic Cat finishing second and the Ski-Doo of Gavin Bihner rounding off the top three. Hoglund also went on to win Junior I Sprint and Shawn Carlson took a win in the Junior II Sprint class. In the Vintage Junior class it was Clint Nouis who beat out the rest of the field on his Yamaha.
This event was equally as exciting for both the Modern Women’s 380 and Vintage Women’s classes, as they both had a huge number of entries. It was Bobbi Jo Meagher who took the win in the Vintage class on her Arctic Cat with Tracy Larson and Becky Lehrke finishing behind her. Meagher almost had another win in the Women’s 380 class as she was right on my mudflap when we crossed the finish line. Kayte Craft was also a tough competitor as she finished third.
As the sun sank lower over Lake Mille Lacs, the ORA drew a close to their first season. The weather was amazing (which was a very welcome surprise from the typically cold and windy Garrison) and the racing was not only safe but also awesome. Hats off to all the racers for putting on a fantastic show, the O.R.A, for making it possible and of course to the fans who came to show their support and make it all worth the effort.
For a complete list of results and more information about the Oval Racers Alliance, please visit www.ovalracersalliance.com.