Kamm moves up to Pro class for final race and takes the checkers
Though Mother Nature made for some trying times, the 2011-12 AMSOIL Championship Snocross Series put on a thrilling final stretch with four straight weeks of bar-to-bar racing to end the season. When all was said and done, Ski-Doo’s Tim Tremblay earned his first ACSS Pro Open title. To cap it all off, the final event of the season in Lake Geneva, Wis. offered some very exciting racing and a glimpse into the future.
It didn’t much feel like winter in Lake Geneva and it was only by the efforts of the operations guys for ISOC – namely groomer operators Jake Haugh and Josh Pallin – who worked in concert with the Lake Geneva Resort & Spa Mountain Top ski area crew to scrape enough snow off the hill so that there was enough snow to even race this past weekend.
“We grabbed every last bit of snow off that hill that we could … I mean look at it, there’s none left,” says Haugh, pointing to the brown-topped ski hill. “And what we didn’t pull from up there, we imported from over there (pointing off into the distance). So yeah, given the near 80-degree temperatures here it’s a wonder we were able to be racing this weekend.”
AMSOIL Lake Geneva Pro Open Saturday Final
Right out of a cannon went Polaris‘ Ross Martin on the start, pulling the Stud Boy Holeshot and leading the world’s best snocross racers up the ski hill, then extending his lead on the way back down. Martin was on a rail for the entire race, towing eventual podium placers Robbie Malinoski (Ski-Doo) and Tim Tremblay (Ski-Doo) through to the end of the 16-lap contest.
“It’s no wonder I like racing at home,” beamed Martin from the podium in front of a boisterous crowd. “I felt like I had to win for you guys!”
Martin’s Polaris ran flawlessly – a testament, he said, to his team’s efforts getting him prepared for the season finale. “I told my team just to get me out early – and my sled was ripping. Hopefully we can be up here again tomorrow.”
With no question as to who was taking the Pro Open final, Malinoski charged equally as hard to place second, holding off Arctic Cat‘s Cory Davis early, then putting himself well in front of Tremblay so the current Pro Open point leader wasn’t a factor for the runner-up spot in the end.
“Ross got out early and man was he on it,” says Malinoski. “I almost came off on the last lap and handed second over to Tim. Both of those guys ran well. Hat’s off to my crew for the job they did prepping my sled.”
Defending Pro Open champion Tucker Hibbert (Arctic Cat) got off to a poor start, but was charging like a madman through the pack – posting the day’s fastest lap time (38.3) – before he wrecked hard at the base of the downhill section. Hibbert was able to get off the track under his own power, but was unable to finish the race.
Before Saturday’s Pro Open final at Lake Geneva veteran racer T.J. Gulla said this would be his last year of racing, bringing to a close the great professional snocross racing career of Vermont-based racer.
AMSOIL Lake Geneva Pro Open Sunday Final
Sunday’s Pro Open finale looked a little different, as Kody Kamm (Polaris), who had already clinched the Pro Lite championship, faced off against the top dogs for the first time.
For all intents and purposes Tremblay won the 2011-’12 ACSS Pro Open class overall championship after his second qualifier on Sunday. Needing only to inch his sled off the line in the Pro Open main and steer clear of a DQ black flag. However, the always fast and consistent Tremblay didn’t hold back, earning crossing the finish line in third place.
“I’ve been racing here for four years in the United States, won a couple titles leading up to the Pro Open class, but struggled a bit last year,” says Tremblay. “So this championship feels really good to win. Thanks to my team and family. This is like a dream come true.”
Tremblay’s title acknowledged, Kamm (Polaris) stole the show on Sunday. Kamm pulled the Stud Boy Holeshot in the Pro Open main and held off a furious charge from Ross Martin to take first place in his first-ever Pro Open main event.
“This is awesome,” says Kamm. “I never thought this would happen. I got the holeshot, stayed out front of Ross and rode my own race. I’m really happy to be up here.”
While Martin was clearly the fastest racer on the Lake Geneva track if you look at the lap times, Kamm did the best job taming the ever-changing, rough and rugged conditions. Sopping up the rhythm sections by going double/double to Martin’s blitzkrieg triple/triple passes, Kamm made zero errors to Martin’s two errors – the first of which tossed him from his sled at the ultra-tricky base of the downhill section.
“I just tried to get out front early, but the roost was so bad – almost like last year when it was pouring rain here,” says Martin. “I made a mistake there on the downhill section and that was it. Kody rode great and congrats to Tim. It’s gonna be and exciting series next year for sure!”
AMSOIL’s Race Program Manager, Jeremy Meyer, put it best from Sunday’s Pro Open podium with Tremblay Ross Martin flanking Kamm for the trophy presentation: “Great champions up here on the podium (Martin won the 2009-’10 Pro Open title) and a future champion standing between them.”
Sledhead 24/7 Pro Lite Saturday Final
Though he finished his season on top of the Pro Open podium, Kamm started it by winning Saturday’s Pro Lite race and securing the championship.
Behind Kamm the sunbaked crowd that packed the Lake Geneva bleachers was treated to a number of great podium-positioning battles, including Polaris’ Colby Crapo and Ski-Doo’s David Joanis. Two laps into the race Kamm began to set the precedence on the downhill section, tripling out at the base where no other rider would. The results gave him an early 39.0 fast lap – nearly a second faster than Crapo’s second-best time of 39.7.
By mid-race Joanis caught Crapo and got past into second, while a charging Derek Ellis (Ski-Doo) made his way up to fourth -and was pressing for a podium finish – when he wadded up and lost a portion of his sled’s bodywork, exposing the engine. Unfortunately for Ellis he’d be black flagged for safety reasons, dashing his podium hopes on Saturday.
With Andrew Lieders (Polaris) moved up to fourth and Jake Scott (Polaris) in fifth, Kamm led a podium charge that included Crapo (second) and Joanis (third). Polaris’ James Johnstad would rock past Scott to make the top five on the penultimate lap – right before a crash red flagged the race. On the one-lap restart Kamm was untouchable from his No. 1 spot, even though his 12-second lead heading into the last lap was erased with the red flag.
Sledhead 24/7 Pro Lite Sunday Final
With Kamm moving up to race the Pro Open class later in the day, Polaris’ Jake Scott stepped up and won the final Pro Lite contest of the season, grabbing lead on lap three when Dylan Hall (Ski-Doo) swapped out on the base of the downhill section, and running it clean through the checkers to top Ski-Doo racers Ellis (second) and John Stenberg (third).
“I couldn’t be more excited. Trained for this so hard all year – I’m so happy to be up here,” says Scott. “I was thinking I’d screw something up, Stenberg’s fast and Derek’s fast. Just kept waiting for one of them to pass me up.”
After Scott pulled the holeshot to start Sunday’s Pro Lite main, Hall quickly took the lead. One lap later Hall would swap at the base of the downhill section – and was unable to recover. Scott went to the lead and put the hammer down in the open air, clocking a 40.9 second lap for the best time through the midway point of the race. Charging hard into second was Ellis, who would match Scott’s 40.9. But Ellis was unable to close the gap as Scott maintained three seconds on Ellis through the checkers.
“I’m pretty sure I was the most consistent second place finisher of all the classes this season,” says Ellis. “But I’m pumped to be up here one last time this year.”
|ACSS Pro-Open Standings||ACSS Pro Lite Standings|
|1.||Tim Tremblay||Ski-Doo||583||1.||Kody Kamm||Polaris||557|
|2.||Ross Martin||Polaris||564||2.||Derek Ellis||Ski-Doo||533|
|3.||Robbie Malinoski||Ski-Doo||538||3.||Jake Scott||Polaris||434|
|4.||Darris Mees||Ski-Doo||447||4.||Andrew Lieders||Ski-Doo||429|
|5.||Tucker Hibbert||Arctic Cat||432||5.||James Johnstad||Polaris||425|
|6.||Justin Broberg||Ski-Doo||392||6.||Travis Muller||Ski-Doo||397|
|7.||Mathieu Morin||Ski-Doo||365||7||John Stenberg||Ski-Doo||383|
|8.||Cory Davis||Arctic Cat||342||8.||Corey Watkinson||Ski-Doo||369|
|9.||Brett Bender||Polaris||331||9.||Andrew Carlson||Polaris||355|
|10.||Emil Ohman||Ski-Doo||330||10.||Colby Crapo||Polaris||327|