Jake Scott dominates Pro Lite class
After sweeping the last two rounds of AMSOIL Championshp Snocross and putting on a clinic at the Winter X Games, it was beginning to look like Tucker Hibbert was invincible. After a wild weekend at Deadwood, South Dakota’s Days of ’76 Rodeo Grounds, Ross Martin and the rest of the top Pro snocross racers showed the championship is far from decided.
Blasting out of the start gate in Friday’s Pro Open main event was rookie class racer Kody Kamm (Monster Energy/Polaris). In pulling the Stud Boy Holeshot, Kamm would take advantage of a Hibbert (Monster Energy/Arctic Cat/Ram) and Ross Martin (DuPont/Jack Links/Polaris) coming together ever so slightly down the front stretch as Kamm gained his holeshot from the outside lane.
When Kamm charge off into the early race lead, Hibbert began a cat and mouse pursuit, covering all of Kamm’s lines and sticking close to the rookie Pro Open racer. But in doing so Hibbert was getting absolutely drilled with roost from Kamm’s sled, which on two occasions set Hibbert back as far as 1.5 seconds behind Kamm.
Leading through lap eight Kamm eventually allowed Hibbert to get too close and the multi-time champ took full advantage of the slight opening left by Kamm, making a clean pass in turn two and railing his Arctic Cat sled out into the lead.
“It was definitely a wild race, about the gnarliest race I’ve done my entire life,” says Hibbert. “Just a steady stream of roost. But I was able to get by Kody, got out front and that made it a little bit easier. But man, was that a wild race out there.”
Behind the two Monster Energy-backed racers Martin would set his site on Kamm as well. Closing in, Martin would receive a free pass when Kamm landed on a wiped out sled on the backside of the AMSOIL Table Top jump, all but ending his night (11th). During this time defending Pro Open champ Tim Tremblay (AMSOIL/Scheuring Speed Sports/Ski-Doo) was also running fast through all the roost, moving up from the back of the pack into 3rd place.
“It was super tough. Came up on lappers super quick,” says Martin. “But they’re out there racing too, and don’t know we’re coming.”
Saturday’s Pro Open class story really began back in the second heat race when points leader Hibbert was black flagged for what ISOC officials deemed as an overly-aggressive pass on Garth Kaufman (Arctic Cat). In the same heat Friday’s runner-up to Hibbert, Martin, got bucked off his sled then put on a spectacular charge from the back of the pack to 3rd place in the heat.
So top three Pro Open final gate picks went to Kody Kamm (Monster Energy/Polaris), Darrin Mees (AMSOIL/Scheuring Speed Sports/Ski-Doo) – who suffered a spectacular wreck on Friday – and the third top qualifier, Logan Christian (Christian Bros. Racing/Arctic Cat). Hibbert would be forced to gate all the way to the outside of the front row, which would end up being a disaster at the start for the current Pro Open point leader as he was forced off the track to avoid a pile-up and began the race close to last place.
With Kamm pulling the Stud Boy Holeshot, he was quickly passed by Christian for the lead. Doubling over the massive Air Force Fly-Away jump (which was more like a wall), Christian would extend his lead through lap six (of 24) before Martin came blazing out of nowhere to take the lead – a lead he wouldn’t relinquish through the checkers.
“I told the guys on my team ‘Dude, I’m ending this thing,'” says Martin, laughing, of yet another ‘Hibbert Dominates’ headline. “My second heat didn’t go that well, but I felt good. Qualified seventh, lined up on the outside but got a descent start and was able to stay out of trouble and get up front with Logan, then got by for the lead.”
Martin then added: “I want to dedicate this win to Caleb Moore. We miss you but I know you’ve got your eyes on us and are keeping up safe.”
With Martin leading Christian and Kamm on lap 11, Christian would go down – briefly – allowing Kamm to move into second place. One of the reasons Kamm hadn’t been able to catch Martin and Christian was that the two had been berzerking it over the Air Force Fly-Away jump, something which Kamm didn’t feel comfortable doing until midway through the contest.
“I’m feeling really good right now coming out in second,” says Kamm, who also paid tribute to Caleb Moore on the podium. “Got a descent holeshot, but was scared of that wall jump (Air Force Fly-Away) over there. (I) finally got it and it helped out a lot.”
By lap 15 Hibbert had charged up to seventh place and continued to move forward. Sixth on lap 16 and, eventually, fifth place by the checkers – salvaging some valuable points for the Pro Open point chase, which he still leads. Christian would regroup after his mistake and caught Mees late in the race to take the third and final Pro Open podium spot at Deadwood.
“Feels good to be up here,” says Christian. “It was a tough race. Track was rough but I got a good start and battled with Ross early. (I’m) happy to be up here.”
Qualifying No. 1 for Friday’s Pro Lite main event, point leader David Joanis (Ski-Doo) got the primo gate pick and was set to pull the holeshot when he hopped the start light and was relegated to the back row. No. 2 qualifier Jake Scott (Mystik Lubricants/Loctite/Polaris) took full advantage of Joanis’ mistake and pulled the holeshot, leading the 16-lap race from start to finish for the victory.
“Some guys around me jumped the start and I was alone in the holeshot,” says Scott. “And when you rip a holeshot it’s easy to stay smooth and consistent. So I just had a fun race out there.”
Ski-Doo racer Kevin Wallenstein had Scott in site from second place for much of the race, but appeared to get clipped in the head on the backside of a jump by another sled and fell back out of podium position. Polaris’ Andrew Lieders had been running in third and he was able to move up to second, then soon after all heck broke loose when a charging Joanis tangled with Travis Muller (Ski-Doo), allowing Renaud Alexandre (BOSS Racing/Jimmy John’s/Ski-Doo) to rip up through the field and into the third and final Pro Lite podium spot on Friday at Deadwood.
“I had a pretty good start, tangled up in the first turn. Got roost from everywhere and I was just trying to survive,” says Alexandre. “(I) took advantage of a mistake and got up here, so I’ll take it.”
Jake Scott proved Friday’s performance was no fluke as the Polaris pilot once again led from the holeshot to the checkers, winning Saturday’s Pro Lite final by nearly seven seconds over Kevin Wallenstein (Ingalls Performance/Ski-Doo), with Renaud Alexandre placing third for the second-straight night.
“Hurt my knee at X Games, don’t know how I did it this weekend,” says Scott. “Holeshots are key on this short track.”
With Scott out front pulling the Pro Lite holeshot from the inside lane pick, David Joanis pulled into second, but was quickly passed by Polaris’ Andrew Lieders. But on the very next lap Lieders got bucked off his sled – which enabled Scott to open up a four-second lead on second place.
On lap seven (of 16) Joanis, who came into the night tied with Scott at 251 points for the overall AMSOIL Championship Snocross Pro Lite overall points chase, would crash in the triple section, then ended up getting clipped by another sled. And though he got up and kept racing, Joanis wouldn’t challenge for Saturday’s Pro Lite podium.
Inheriting Joanis’ second place spot was Wallenstein. “Yesterday didn’t go good. Was in second, but crashed. So it feels good to get up here,” says Wallenstein.
With Scott up on Wallenstein by six seconds, Dylan Hall (Ski-Doo) moved up to third for a few laps before being caught by Alexandre. “I went outside on the start and it worked out pretty good. Just focused there and charged the whole race,” says Alexandre. “Despite all the ruts and it being so tough out there I was able to come back to third again.”
|ACSS Pro-Open Standings||ACSS Pro Lite Standings|
|1.||Tucker Hibbert||Arctic Cat||321||1.||Jake Scott||Polaris||296|
|2.||Ross Martin||Polaris||298||2.||David Joanis||Ski-Doo||284|
|3.||Robbie Malinoski||Ski-Doo||274||3.||Andrew Lieders||Polaris||268|
|4.||Tim Tremblay||Ski-Doo||272||4.||Renaud Alexandre||Ski-Doo||266|
|5.||Arctic Cat||Ski-Doo||231||5.||Travis Muller||Ski-Doo||257|
|6.||Kody Kamm||Polaris||225||6.||Dylan Hall||Ski-Doo||217|
|7.||Darrin Mees||Ski-Doo||220||7||Kevin Wallenstein||Ski-Doo||188|
|8.||Petter Narsa||Ski-Doo||209||8.||Chase Rosemeyer||Ski-Doo||184|
|9.||Emil Ohman||Ski-Doo||208||9.||Joe Sagan||Ski-Doo||181|
|10.||Justin Broberg||Polaris||196||10.||Andrew Carlson||Polaris||181|