First Time Winners Abound at Canterbury’s Amsoil Championship Snocross

MINNEAPOLIS (Jan. 9, 2015) – The extreme cold temps did nothing to freeze the confidence of Ross Martin (Judnick/DuPont/Jack Links/Polaris), who took charge of Friday’s AMSOIL Championship Snocross, powered by Ram PIRTEK Snocross National, presented by Jimmy John’s, in the early laps and ran ‘er through strong at checkers for the win.

Capturing first place in the Pro Lite main event at Canterbury was Canadian Corey Watkinson (RJ Motorsports/Arctic Cat), scoring his first-ever professional class victory on the AMSOIL Championship Snocross tour.

Pro Open

Friday's Pro Open Podium
Friday’s Pro Open Podium

All eyes were on Monster Energy/Arctic Cat/Ram’s Tucker Hibbert at the start of the Pro Open main. The No. 1 qualifier was undefeated this season and sitting on 99 career wins. But Hibbert would get pinched at the start, forced to the outside (eighth place off the line), while former Pro Open champ Tim Tremblay (AMSOIL/Scheuring/Ski-Doo) pulled the Stud Boy Holeshot, followed closely by Martin.

Tremblay and Martin would briefly swap the lead a couple times in the first few corners before Martin set Tremblay up by tripling out of the finish line jump and railing to the lead around the first turn. From there Martin was absolutely masterful, with famed AMSOIL Championship Snocross announcer Mike Schroeder calling out “The Boss is back!” to the Canterbury faithful that braved the cold temps to watch what amounted to the best main event of the year thus far.

“Unbelievable,” said Martin atop the podium. “This is where I belong. My confidence is back and I’m going for it … so look out!”

With Martin up front attention turned to the battle for second and third between Tremblay and Kody Kamm (Hentges Racing/Polaris). Tremblay would ride a wide sled and hold off Kamm, the two bumping but keeping the momentum going. This would allow Martin to extend his lead, while Hibbert was charging up through the pack.

Great racing continued through the mid-race laps as Hibbert moved past Kamm and into third, then got past Tremblay on lap seven – setting his site on frontrunner Martin, who had a five-second lead. With six laps to go Hibbert cut Martin’s lead to four seconds, but came down awkward off the triple behind the finish line (where he previously passed Tremblay) and had to throw it away so he wouldn’t overshoot the first corner. Hibbert was able to remount, but by then Martin, Tremblay and Kamm were gone – as was the hopes for his 100th win.

As Martin continued to rail up front, his lead grew to 7.5 seconds over Tremblay. Riding consistently and hitting all his marks, Martin scored his first win of the year, upsetting both Hibbert’s four-race undefeated streak and his quest for 100 wins.

“Canterbury’s always been good to me,” added Martin. “The team worked so hard over the break getting my sled set up to where I want it and it all came together tonight. We just had to get this done.”

Tremblay would run pretty much uncontested into second place, with Kamm following in third.

Said Tremblay: “I had a pretty good race. Had the lead, but Ross got around me. He was faster tonight, but I’m happy with second place.”

Rounding out the top five were Logan Christian (Christian Brothers Racing/Arctic Cat) in fourth and Hibbert in fifth.

Pro Lite

A big pile up on the first turn in Friday’s Pro Lite final at Canterbury’s PIRTEK National saw second place overall Zak Mason (Leighton Motorsports/Polaris) pull the Stud Boy Holeshot – then crash and collect teammate Trevor Leighton (third overall in points). The accident rendered both the No. 1 (Leighton) and No. 2 (Mason) qualifying sleds out of the running for tonight’s Pro Lite podium.

Benefitting from the carnage (which Mason and Leighton were both able to get up from and keep racing) was RJ Motorsports/Arctic Cat’s Corey Watkinson. Watkinson inherited the lead and rode a clean 11-lap Pro Lite main – uncontested – through to the checkers.

“The big key was getting that start. I was lucky enough to get away from the carnage there in corner two. Just rode consistent and in control and got the win,” said Watkinson. “The guys got the sled working awesome, ran smooth and rode it the way I wanted.

“Finally got my first win in Pro Lites. Got the monkey off my back and hope to keep it going.”

Pursuing Watkinson, but never getting closer than 11 seconds back, were James Johnstad (Judnick Motorsports/Polaris) and Ryan Springer (Carlson Motorsports/Polaris). Springer actually had second place up through the last lap before being caught and passed by Johnstad on the final straight away before the checkers.

“I knew coming out of the LCQ it wasn’t going to be easy. Just ran it to the outside there and was able to make it up to the podium,” said Johnstad, who was the only top five overall points racer coming into Canterbury to make the podium.

As it would be both Johnstad and Springer had to come through the LCQ to make the night’s Pro Lite main, both starting from the back row and working though the field to make the podium.

Rounding out the top five in Friday’s PIRTEK Snocross National Pro Lite class at Canterbury were Cottew Motorsports/Polaris’ Travis Muller in fourth and Carlson Motorsports/Polaris’ Andrew Carlson in fifth.

Saturday

Two first-time pro class winners highlighted Saturday’s main event action at round six of AMSOIL Championship Snocross.

Capturing the top spot in front of a packed house at Canterbury in the premier Pro Open class was Kyle Pallin (Mystic/Loctite/Polaris), while Tyler Adams (Christian Brothers/Arctic Cat) was tops in the Pro Lite main event.

Pro Open

Pallin atop Saturday's Pro Open podium
Pallin atop Saturday’s Pro Open podium

One of the best starters in the business, Pallin parlayed the Stud Boy Holeshot into the early race lead – much as he’s done in numerous main events the past two seasons. But this time Pallin had it in his head that tonight’s Pro Open main event would be his race, his to win – and he did just that, leading the event from start to finish in scoring his first-ever Pro Open class victory.

“Oh my gosh – I could not be more pumped,” beamed Pallin from the podium, flanked by his father, Steve, and Mystic/Loctite/Polaris team owner Levi LaVallee. “I got the holeshot and got out in front and just kept telling myself ‘This is my night and nobody’s going to take this lead from me.’ So the holeshot was huge and this was a great win for the Mystic/Loctite/Polaris team!”

Rocketing out of the start alongside Pallin was Friday’s Pro Open class winner Ross Martin. Martin would show a ski to Pallin a couple times on the first lap, while also playing a bit of a cat and mouse game with line selection. But by lap two Pallin had opened up a 1.2 second lead on Martin, and would continue to build on that throughout the course of the contest.

Joining Pallin and Martin up front early on was Friday podium finisher Tim Tremblay. The three would separate from the rest of the pack, clicking off fast lap after fast lap – all at pretty much identical times.

Stuck back in the pack after a self-described “terrible” start was Pro Open defending champ and overall point leader Tucker Hibbert. Again the No. 1 qualifier, Hibbert was looking for his 100th pro win. But running in seventh place as the race neared its midway point, it certainly looked on paper like Hibbert would not have enough time to catch Pallin.

But damned if he didn’t try.

Moving up to fifth place by the end of lap eight, Hibbert was 9.5 seconds back of Pallin. By lap nine he’d made it up to fourth, getting past Kody Kamm. But that effort alone would take two laps, and it wouldn’t be until lap 12 where Hibbert would catch up to Tremblay – and make a pass for the podium.

“I rode really bad for the first five or six laps,” admitted Hibbert. “I gave it everything I had, but Kyle and Ross rode really well tonight.”

With Pallin’s pending victory never really much in doubt, Hibbert would catch – and pass – Martin on the white flag lap, but just flat ran out of time in his pursuit of Pallin. Rounding out the top five tonight were Tremblay in fourth and Kamm in fifth.

Pro Lite

Parity abounds in AMSOIL Championship Snocross’ Pro Lite class as last night’s winner, Corey Watkinson, didn’t even make tonight’s PIRTEK National main, while a rookie racer (12th in points) was able to grab his first Pro class victory.

“This is my first year racing Pro Lite and I never thought I’d win one,” said an elated Adams from the podium. “I haven’t been on the podium since last year in Sport (class). But I was getting holeshots all day, just ripping it. Amazing. Just a great ride for all of us.”

Like he said, Adams grabbed the Stud Boy Holeshot in the main, but was quickly caught by Fridays’ Pro Lite runner-up Ryan Springer (Carlson Motorsports/Polaris). Springer used an inside/outside move to take the lead, but out of nowhere came Max Taillefer (Taillefer Motorsports/Ski-Doo) to lead for a moment before Adams once again regained the top spot.

On lap three Springer’s teammate Andrew Carlson got into the mix, passing Springer and setting his site on Taillefer. Back in fourth and fifth were Trevor Leighton (Leighton Motorsports/Polaris) and the overall Pro Lite point leader Elias Ishoel (Warnert Racing/Ski-Doo). And it would be Leighton winning that battle, getting ahead of Ishoel – and eventually to the podium – while also wrestling the point lead from the 16-year-old Norwegian, 211-204 after six rounds of racing.

Back up front Adams was clicking off consistent laps while all the passing was going on behind him. By lap eight Leighton got past Carlson and railed his sled to one of the night’s fastest laps in pursuing Adams. The two would start the final lap with Adams holding a 2.4 second lead, which Leighton erased and put his sled onto the hip of Adams. But Adams was able to answer the challenge, holding off Leighton on the final turn and taking his first-ever Pro Lite win. Taillefer would onto the third and final podium spot with Carlson and Ishoel placing fourth and fifth, respectively.

AMSOIL Championship Snocross, powered by Ram, returns to Deadwood, S.D.’s Days of ’76 Rodeo Grounds for rounds 7 & 8 of AMSOIL Championship Snocross, powered by Ram, Jan. 30-31 for the Deadwood Snocross Shootout, presented by Four Seasons Motorsports & Marine.

 

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