Hibbert sweeps Pro classes at Air Force National
Team Arctic pilot extends lead in the standings
Story by Staff, Photography by Wayne Davis, Mar. 14, 2011Email a friend Print Friendly RSS
Hibbert’s successful weekend started with Saturday’s thrilling Pro Super Stock final. Ross Martin was making ground on HIbbert's point lead throughout the day, winning both of his qualifying races. The Jack Link's/Dupont/Polaris rider grabbed an early lead in the final, followed by Hibbert, Tim Tremblay (Ski-Doo) and Robbie Malinoski (Ski-Doo). Hibbert stayed in tow before going off-track on the front straight, nearly coming all the way off the sled. He rejoined the chase in fifth, well back from the leaders.
Johan Lidman (Arctic Cat) continued his improved performance moving to third, while Tremblay began pressuring Martin with 14 laps to go. The Warnert Racing/Foremost Insurance/Ski-Doo racer dove under Martin in the first turn, with Martin swiftly retaking the position. On lap 12 Tremblay made the same move stick with a block pass that edged Martin off the first turn, also allowing Hibbert to advance to second.
Hibbert, now fully back in the game, used the same block pass maneuver in the same turn to move past Tremblay with five laps to go. Hibbert would hold on for the win ahead of Tremblay, Martin and Lidman in one of the most exciting contests of the season.
Sunday’s Pro Open final would again see Hibbert on the top step of the podium, but Martin did everything he could to keep him at bay.
Hibbert and Martin each went undefeated in their qualifying rounds, putting even more pressure on Martin to win the final to have any hope of reducing Hibbert's lead in the class. Martin grabbed an early lead over Bobby LePage (Polaris), Brett Bender (Polaris) and Hibbert, setting sail with destiny in his own hands. Just two laps into the 20-lap race, Hibbert advanced to second but was still several lengths back of Martin. Tremblay, who had an outside shot at catching Martin coming into the weekend, was caught up in a first corner tangle, rolling his sled and dropping him well to the back of the field.
Martin would lead by as much as 15-20 sled lengths just prior to the halfway point as Hibbert looked to be regrouping for a run.
“I actually got roosted and just made a big mistake in the berm,” says Hibbert. “I have dropped back like that in the past and it can help. But in this case I didn't mean to. I wasn’t in a panic when I got going again because I knew there was time, so I guess it did work out that way.”
Meanwhile, Bender and Malinoski were waging their own battle for third. Malinoski would have issues while trying to pass Bender, with LePage looking strong until suffering his own woes on lap 17. It was on this same lap that Hibbert made his way around Martin at the end of the main straight, as he would go on for the Monster Energy Arctic Cat team's second win of the weekend. Martin locked up the No. 2 spot, with a battered Bender highlighting the back half of his season with a third. Emil Ohman (Ski-Doo) and Logan Christian (Arctic Cat) rounded out the top five.
Thomsen, Pallin Split Semi-Pro Wins
Cody Thomsen (Arctic Cat) made his way back to the top of the box in Saturday’s Air Force Semi-Pro Super Stock final to retain his solid lead in the standings. Thomsen and Judnick Motorsports standout Mike Bauer (Polaris) each swept their qualifying rounds, trading point for point in the process.
Thomsen, Kyle Pallin (Arctic Cat) and Bauer lead the way from start to finish, mirroring their position in the class standings. AMSOIL/Air Force rider Darrin Mees (Ski-Doo) finished fourth after battling with Polaris racer Kody Kamm. Kamm would drop back late in the race, allowing Renaud Alexandre (Polaris) to get the fifth spot.
In Sunday’s Semi-Pro final Thomsen and Pallin reversed the order of Saturday’s main event with Pallin taking the win. Thomsen got the holeshot and lead a good portion of the race in front of AMSOIL Ski-Doo mounted Darrin Mees. Pallin was able to get by Mees at the two-thirds mark and then moved to within range of Thomsen. The leader then bobbled with three to go allowing Pallin to slip by for the win. Thomsen retained the number two spot ahead of Mees and Derek Ellis (Ski-Doo) who have their own battle going for the third spot in the championship chase.
Number two title contender Mike Bauer suffered a serious set back to his efforts when he broke a right front shock in the first corner of the final. Bauer muscled the sled around for 10 laps but was ultimately credited with 15th position. Pallin's win now has him within 14 points of Bauer, while Thomsen has all but sealed the title.
Sportech Arctic Cat racer Andrew Carlson was only able to take starts Sunday after being injured in a main event crash on Saturday night.
The next and final stop on the tour is Lake Geneva for the Neilson Enterprises Grand Finale. All of the action begins Friday, March 18 and the battles will continue until the last checkered flag of the season flies on Sunday, March 20.
|Pro-Open Standings||Pro Super Stock Standings|
|1.||Tucker Hibbert||Arctic Cat||292||1.||Tucker Hibbert||Arctic Cat||294|
|2.||Ross Martin||Polaris||269||1.||Ross Martin||Polaris||274|
|3.||Tim Tremblay||Ski-Doo||236||3.||Tim Tremblay||Ski-Doo||235|
|4.||Robbie Malinoski||Ski-Doo||217||4.||Garth Kaufman||Arctic Cat||221|
|5.||Dan Ebert||Arctic Cat||208||5.||Dan Ebert||Arctic Cat||199|
|6.||Garth Kaufman||Arctic Cat||197||6.||Robbie Malinoski||Ski-Doo||192|
|7.||Johan Lidman||Arctic Cat||176||7.||Emil Ohman||Ski-Doo||191|
|8.||Justin Broberg||Ski-Doo||171||8.||Logan Christian||Arctic Cat||174|
|9.||Bobby LePage||Polaris||161||9.||Justin Broberg||Ski-Doo||167|
|10.||Logan Christian||Arctic Cat||157||10.||Bobby LePage||Polaris||157|