The state of Iowa and the greater Lake Okoboji area welcomed the Cor Powersports cross-country snowmoble racing circuit with open arms January 23-23, and they were rewarded with a tremendous weekend of laketop racing by some of the sport’s biggest stars, as well as some impressive newcomers.
The Lake Okoboji site was a late addition to the Cor Powersports schedule after other events went by the wayside due to COVID-19 related restrictions and weather problems, but the circuit and the local officials pieced together a winning ice-lemans-style event. It featured a weaving, 9-mile laketop course that tested power and handling.
When the last of the snowdust settled on Sunday, though, two four-stroke Arctic Cats stood alone at the top in the all-important Factory Pro 600 class – each driven by a first-year Pro driver who previously powered to big finishes in the previous USXC’s Semi-Pro division.
Dylan Stevens from Mahnomen, Minnesota, paced the field, running the 10-laps plus a pit stop in 1 hour, 6 minutes and 58 seconds to claim a narrow victory on his No. 525 ZR 7000. He was a mere 2 seconds ahead of the similar machine ridden Gunner Arlaud, perhaps signaling a new guard cued up to take over the Pro class.
Arland’s second-place finish was partially aided by a stellar, early pitstop that allowed him to move up in the field later when other competitors went in for their stops. Taylor Bunke finished third, 11 seconds behind the winner on his Polaris. Alex Hetteen finished fourth on his Polaris, with multi-time champ Zach Herfindahl rounding out the top five on his Cat. Those three were on more traditional two-stroke powered sleds.
They were followed by a slew of veterans, with Wes Selby and Ross Erdman sixth and seventh on Cats, then Polaris’ Justin Tate, Cat riding Chad Lian and Polaris rider Travis Faust tenth.
A total of 19 sleds started the final, and 16 finished the event, with a 3 minute, 8 second gap between the top and bottom finishers – not bad for a 90-mile run plus a pit stop!
Cor Powersports co-owner Todd Myers raved about the local hosts, who put the event together in a hurry, signed up key sponsors and added $18,000 in purse money that was spread among the various classes. “The whole town really rolled out the red carpet for our guys,” Myers said, citing everything from local hospitality to the fact that the tourism bureau set up a live online feed from the track that included audio and video. He said the event has a bright future.
In other news and notes:
- Wes Selby (Cat) cleaned up in the Pro Open class on Saturday, using a machine rumored to be an old I-500 winner to edge Ryan Faust by .355 seconds. Ross Erdman was third, a full minute behind, followed by what would turn out to be the exact podium finish in Sunday’s Factory 600 race — Stevens, Arland and Bunke.
- Vince VanSlyke (Pol) of Brainerd, Minnesota, snuck out a victory in front of Paul Brown (Cat) and Cable, Wisconsin, winner Marshall Busse (Pol).
- Jon Arneson’s (Cat) four-lap, 28 minutes, 12 second run enabled him to with both Sport 600 Stock and Masters 50+; he also won Sport 600 Improved Stock and Masters 40-plus in a different 28:55 heat run.
- Savannah Landrus (Pol) was the class of the field in Pro Factory Women’s
- Aiden Johnson (Cat) claimed Expert 600 Limited as well as Junior 14-17.
- Veteran racer Justin Tate (Pol) was the class of the field in Pro Factory Vet 40-plus, Mark Miller (Pol) took the Trail class by a broad margin, and Adam Longtin (Cat) similarly dominated the Classic division. All other race results are available on the CorPowersports.com website.
- Most importantly, it was a safe weekend of racing, Myers reported – there were a couple of on-track incidences, but the ambulance never left the race site.
Editor’s Note: This review was originally published in the October 2020 issue of Snow Goer. Every issue of Snow Goer magazine includes in-depth sled reports and comparisons, aftermarket gear and accessories reviews, riding destination articles, do-it-yourself repair information, snowmobile technology and more! Subscribe to Snow Goer now to receive issues delivered to your door or your computer for a low cost.