Polaris sweeps Pro classes
Yamaha earns first podium of the season
Story by Snowmobile.com Staff, Photography by Wayne Davis Photography, Mar. 10, 2009Email a friend Print Friendly RSS
Polaris’ Brett Bender, who won his first Pro victory in Pro Open at the last ACSS event in Valcourt, Que., made it two in a row by winning again at Hayward. The victory, however, did not come easily for the young rider.
Yamaha’s Iain Hayden grabbed a monster at the start of the Pro Open final and started to open up a slight lead over challengers Robbie Malinoski (Ski-Doo) and Bender (Polaris). Further back in the pack, year-end championship contenders TJ Gulla (Polaris) and Levi LaVallee (Polaris) found themselves in some heavy traffic. Hayden continued to lead was looking to put a 4-stroke powered race sled on the top of the podium for just the second time in history.
About mid-way through the race and holding a slim two-second lead, Hayden bobbled and it was just enough for Malinoski to attack. While Hayden and Malinoski vied for the front of the pack, Brett Bender was lurking in third and waiting for his opportunity. Suddenly Bender found “another gear” and slipped by both riders to move into the lead, shuffling Malinoski to second and Hayden to third. It was a running order that would stick till the checkers and it gave Bender his second national win in as many weeks.
TJ Gulla Wins in Pro Super Stock
Heading into the Pro Super Stock final, it was Arctic Cat’s Garth Kaufman who held the number one qualifying position with Gulla having the second pick at the line. The start of the race was marred with a red-flag incident, which saw DJ Eckstrom (Polaris) unable to continue for the day due to a damaged race sled.
At the green for the second go-around, Gulla shot out for the early lead - one he would not relinquish. Kaufman was following in second, while Shaun Crapo (Polaris) was third. Further back, point leader LaVallee found himself mid-pack and dealing with a big group of riders. Up front, Kaufman made several runs at Gulla but was unable to complete a pass. Crapo held fast to the third place position, and crossed the line 2-seconds behind Kaufman.
The year-end point battle tightened dramatically when LaVallee was forced to pull of the track on lap 8 as his front suspension gave way. That put Kaufman in a dead tie with LaVallee for the year-end championship with one race to go. Just ten points behind them is Ryan Simons (Arctic Cat) and only one point behind Simons is Gulla. This should make for an epic season finale in Lake Geneva, March 20-22.
Tremblay Completes Semi-Pro Double
The Semi Pro Super Stock action started off as expected, with top riders including Dan Ebert (Arctic Cat), Cory Davis (Arctic Cat) and Tim Tremblay (Ski-Doo) each winning their respective qualifying rounds.
Ebert nailed the holeshot, pulled out to an early lead and appeared to be well on his way to another national win. Trouble struck the Arctic Cat rider at the mid-point of the race when he got tangled with challenger Colby Crapo (Polaris). The incident injured Ebert forcing him to pull out, giving Davis the lead.
Davis was looking strong and posting fast and consistent lap times, but he ran into some mechanical problems with just two laps to go and began to fade. Tremblay and Christian Salemark (Arctic Cat) soon slipped around him followed by others in the field including Crapo. Davis eventually fell all the way back to 8th place while Tremblay, Salemark and Crapo crossed the finish line for the top three podium positions respectively.
The unfortunate fate of Davis and another win by Tremblay pulled the duo into a very tight race for the year-end championship with just one race to go. Davis holds a slim 4-point margin over Tremblay, while Dan Ebert sits in third, 31 points behind Davis.
Semi-Pro Open proved to be an exciting race as multiple crashes and a mid-race accident kept things interesting. Ebert entered the race as the number one qualifier, followed by Paul Bauerly (Ski-Doo) and Darrin Mees (Ski-Doo). While Ebert grabbed the immediate lead, he soon began to fade and Paul Bauerly went to the front of the pack with Darrin Mees in second.
By mid-race it looked as if it was Bauerly’s race to win, but then the tide turned quickly as he crashed in a rutted turn and Mees slammed into him. That opened the door for then third place rider Tremblay. Tremblay hung on for the win, followed by Ebert Salemark.
AMSOIL Championship Snocross Series Standings:
|Pro Open Standings||Pro Super Stock Standings|
|1.||TJ Gulla||Polaris||198||1.||Garth Kaufman||Arctic Cat||195|
|2.||Levi LaVallee||Polaris||185||2.||Levi LaVallee||Polaris||195|
|3.||Brett Bender||Polaris||173||3.||Ryan Simons||Arctic Cat||185|
|4.||Brett Turcotte||Arctic Cat||164||4.||TJ Gulla||Polaris||184|
|5.||Garth Kaufman||Arctic Cat||162||5.||Shaun Crapo||Polaris||174|
|Semi-Pro Open Standings||Semi-Pro Super Stock Standings|
|1.||Tim Tremblay||Ski-Doo||207||1.||Cory Davis||Arctic Cat||218|
|2.||Bobby LePage||Polaris||196||2.||Tim Tremblay||Ski-Doo||214|
|3.||Dan Ebert||Arctic Cat||192||3.||Dan Ebert||Arctic Cat||187|
|4.||Christian Salemark||Arctic Cat||187||4.||Christian Salemark||Arctic Cat||171|
|5.||Paul Bauerly||Ski-Doo||175||5.||Paul Bauerly||Ski-Doo||164|
Bender earns first Pro win at Valcourt