Sixteen of the world’s fastest snocross racers lined up in two-man, side by side two-lap match races, winding down a bracket of thoroughly exciting racing action at Spirit Mountain on Friday. And in the end it was Martin defeating Arctic Cat’s Tucker Hibbert for his second-straight $10,000 AMSOIL Dominator championship.
Handed a custom-made trophy crafted by the folks at AMSOIL from spare parts from all three brands (Polaris, Arctic Cat and Ski-Doo) that brave the AMSOIL Championship Snocross circuit, Martin was asked what he thought of the smartly crafted piece trumpeting his big win. “Yeah, I got a perfect place for it … right next to the other one,” says Martin.
The Wisconsin native got past Garth Kaufman (Arctic Cat) in the opening round, then bested rookie sensation Kody Kamm (Polaris) – last year’s ACS Pro Lite champion – in a spectacular quarterfinal race. Martin then met the 2011 AMSOIL Dominator nemesis – Ski-Doo’s Robbie Malinoski – in the semifinals … a rematch of their inaugural AMSOIL Dominator final last year. The two (Martin and Malinoski) would collide in the first turn after matching starts, Malinoski going high and Martin low. Martin got the better of it and put the hammer down, railing to victory in the two-lap sprint race.
Hibbert, the fifth seed overall (based on last year’s Pro Open class overall finish), would reach the finals via an opening round win over Logan Christian (Arctic Cat), then beat fourth seed Darren Mees (Ski-Doo) in the quarters. The night’s most electrifying race would come in the semis of Bracket One when Hibbert met Levi LaVallee (Polaris), who had previously upset No. 1 seed Tim Tremblay (Ski-Doo) – last year’s overall Pro Open champion.
Hibbert and LaVallee got virtually equal starts coming down the hill on the front straight, with Hibbert thumbing the throttle for just a click longer over LaVallee – the snowmobile distance jumping world record holder – on the finish line jump and taking the lead into and out of the first turn. But the fan-favorite LaVallee wasn’t about to pack it in and literally berzerked his Polaris up the back straight and dive-bombed Hibbert in the left hander at the top of the hill – knocking Hibbert off his sled and himself (LaVallee) in the process. Bedlam ensured as the two combatants re-mounted their sleds and pull-started them to life at the exact same time.
Hibbert, though, had the benefit of being the front sled and, as LaVallee tried to make a pass on the outside line, Hibbert returned LaVallee’s previous turn effort by casually – and legally – cutting LaVallee off to the side of the track – holding his lead line and eventually sewing up the win.