Nick Van Strydonk has raced at Eagle River since he was four years old. This year was his fourth attempt at the title, and he won the World Championship Snowmobile Derby by a 1/4 sled length. Fifth place used to be the best finish for this 21-year-old from Tomahawk, Wis., but now he is a champion.

The photo finish was cheered as a great ending to the tight race, with five of the 12 contenders grabbing their share of the lead over 30 dust-covered laps on the enormous ice oval. A dramatic pass in the last corner of the last lap let Van Strydonk (#13 Polaris) finish just .025 seconds ahead of Matt Schultz (#38 Ski-Doo), who couldn’t use his favored line when the new champ dropped in.

“It’s where he seemed to be running, so I tried taking it away from him and it paid off,” recalled Van Strydonk. “So, I tried it and washed out real high, and that’s the last thing I remember. The next thing I know it’s just side-by-side draggin’. Just good clean racing!”

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