Ski-Doo pilot dominates ACS event in Duluth
Ski-Doo’s Robbie Malinoski could not be stopped this past weekend at the AMSOIL Championship Snocross season-opening Duluth National as the Scheuring Speed Sports rider swept the Pro Open main events. Malinoski will take the points lead into rounds three and four of ACS in Bessemer, Mich.
A massive crowd was on hand Saturday at Spirit Mountain to usher in the new season as a couple inches of snowfall blanketed the freshly made course.
As the top pros lined up, Malinoski blew everyone off the hill with the Stud Boy Holeshot, marching into the first corner on his own and pulling out into the lead in front of Ross Martin (Polaris) and Ski-Doo teammate Tim Tremblay start the Pro Open main event.
Martin, fearless in his approach to tripling into the first corner off the finish line jump, would catch Malinoski with that daredevil move two laps into the contest, passing last year’s Saturday Duluth National winner and making it stick to take the lead on lap three. Back in the pack Tucker Hibbert (Arctic Cat) would slash past 2011-’12 ACS Pro Lite champ and Pro Open Duluth rookie Kody Kamm (Polaris) and set his site on Tremblay who had the third podium spot in hand behind Martin and Malinoski.
By lap nine (of 24) the Tremblay/Hibbert heavyweight battle would pull the two closer in to Malinoski and Martin and they separated from the rest of the field, only to pass and re-pass lapped riders on the short 24-second lap track. Hibbert, who qualified second behind Tremblay for Saturday’s main, was all over the place trying out new lines to get past Tremblay, but the defending Pro Open champ wasn’t having any of it as he held off Hibbert’s high speed rushes.
With Martin up on Malinoski by three seconds on lap 19, Hibbert would blow off his sled and drop back to fifth behind Cody Thomsen (Arctic Cat). It was about this point in the race where race leader Martin took on a bunch of snow roost from lapped traffic and, two laps later, began to experience some engine issues with his sled. Malinoski tasted blood and closed the gap even further, before Martin’s sled all but conked out on the final downhill straight.
Malinoski, in the right place at the right time, took the lead from Martin and went on for the win. Martin was able to limp over the finish line in second, followed by Tremblay in third. Thomsen would hold off Hibbert for fourth.
“That was kind of a gift from Ross with his sled going down, but we’re pumped to be up here,” says Malinoski. “I always work hard on my starts and it paid off tonight. But yeah, Ross was just ripping.”
Sunday’s Pro Open main event couldn’t have gone any better for the Scheuring Speed Sports team, as teammates Malinoski, Tremblay, and Darris Mees swept the podium.
“With everybody up here from Scheuring Speed Sports – this is pretty exciting,” says Malinoski. “Everybody came through. Darrin’s up here with this first-ever podium. Tim raced great – again. My Ski-Doo pulled another great holeshot … I’m speechless!”
When the green light shone on the start of the weekend’s final even Malinoski was gone. Down the Spirit Mountain straight like he was racing against a field of stock sleds. Malinoski railed into the first turn and rode mistake-free, through countless lapped riders in the lack-of-snow-shortened race, and through cleanly to the checkers. There was never a doubt.
Behind Malinoski early were Mees and Polaris’ Justin Broberg. Two relatively new guys up front in the pack, mainly because the usual front-running suspects – Martin, Hibbert & Tremblay – started outside the top four. Polaris’ Martin, the winner of Friday’s $10K AMSOIL DOMINATOR, was all the way back in 12th qualifying position.
Hibbert and Tremblay would collide on lap one, though both managed to rail back out of the turn where they got together. But this set the multi-time former ACS champ Hibbert back to eighth place early on in the 24-lap contest … a position you don’t want to be in on such a small track with so many sleds (15). Tremblay, who qualified back in the ninth position, had a much better run at it, moving up to third before getting past Mees for second on lap 13 of the roughly 24-second laps.
“To get up here with my other two teammates – everybody crying – this is just so exciting,” says Mees. “My adrenaline was going on the first few laps, then Tim (Tremblay) got by me and that was OK. But nobody after that was going to!”
“He (Mees) didn’t let me get by him that easy. But no dirty stuff … we’re all teammates,” says Tremblay. “I just held my line and the rest was pretty good.”
As for the Pro Lite class, Lincoln Lemieux got off to a great start in Saturday’s opener before a crash knocked him out of first place and off the podium. David Joanis (Ski-Doo), Jake Scott (Polaris) and Andrew Lieders (Polaris) were quick to strike – with Joanis fighting off Scott for top honors.
“This Ski-Doo’s a rocket sled, faster than last year’s … which I didn’t think could happen,” says Joanis.
Unlike Malinoski, Joanis would not be able to be able to sweep the Pro Lite class as he jumped the start in Sunday’s finale and was black-flagged early in the race. He would pull off the trarkc and take a DQ.
Rocketing out to the Stud Boy Holeshot in Sunday’s Pro Lite main was the #722 Polaris of Sweden’s Marcus Johansson. Having not even made the Pro Lite main the previous day, Johansson took out his aggression on the massive Duluth National finish line tabletop jump – tripling out into the first turn and easily putting distance between himself and his pursuers – Canada’s Andrea Renaud (Ski-Doo) and Dylan Hall (Ski-Doo), along with Saturday’s Pro Lite podium finisher Lieders.
On lap 14 – and with the race seemingly in control – Johansson made a massive mistake on the uphill rhythm section, blew off his sled and handed the lead over to Renaud. Hall and Lieders ripped by as well and, by the time he got going again, Johansson was all the way back in sixth place.
Things wouldn’t change on the last lap as Renaud, Hall and Lieders held their podium positions – with Sweden’s John Stenberg (Ski-Doo) and New York’s Todd Corin (Polaris) rounding out the top five.
“The track was especially difficult,” says Renaud. “I tried to ride with no mistakes and I got my opportunity and felt I could take it. (It) Feels really good to be up here.”
The AMSOIL Championship Snocross series returns Dec. 7-8 for rounds three and four at northern Michigan’s Blackjack Resort.
|ACSS Pro-Open Standings||ACSS Pro Lite Standings|
|1.||Robbie Malinoski||Ski-Doo||89||1.||Andrew Lieders||Polaris||77|
|2.||Tim Tremblay||Ski-Doo||75||2.||Renaud Alexandre||Ski-Doo||75|
|3.||Ross Martin||Polaris||71||3.||Jake Scott||Polaris||65|
|4.||Tucker Hibbert||Arctic Cat||68||4.||David Joanis||Ski-Doo||64|
|5.||Darris Mees||Ski-Doo||64||5.||John Stenberg||Ski-Doo||63|
|6.||Justin Broberg||Polaris||55||5.||James Johnstad||Polaris||63|
|6.||Logan Christian||Arctic Cat||55||7||Maxime Taillefer||Ski-Doo||62|
|6.||Cody Thomsen||Arctic Cat||55||8.||Travis Muller||Ski-Doo||60|
|9.||Zach Pattyn||Ski-Doo||43||9.||Nisse Kallstrom||Polaris||54|
|10.||Adam Renheim||Ski-Doo||40||10.||Dylan Hall||Ski-Doo||51|