Archive for March, 2015

Polaris Snocrossers Podium in Lake Geneva

Posted on March 24th, 2015 in Facebook, Sledder News

MEDINA, Minn. (March 17, 2015) – In just his second year of snowmobile racing, Polaris snocross racer Ryan Springer (Carlson Motorsports) clinched the ISOC National Pro Lite points title during racing March 13-15 at Lake Geneva, Wis. Springer won the ISOC Sport class title as a rookie last winter, and after he secured the Pro Lite title on Sunday, he stepped up to race in the Pro Open class, where he will compete full-time next season.

In three rounds of Pro Open racing at Lake Geneva on March 13-15, Polaris racers earned two out of the three podium spots in each final, and Kody Kamm returned from a mid-season injury to reach the podium in all three races.

The ISOC Sport class results reflected the Polaris Racing program’s depth and driver development as Cole Cottew (Cottew Motorsports) won the points title, Jacob Yurk (Team Vermillion) finished second, and there were six Polaris racers in the top 10 in points.

PRO OPEN: Kamm Returns Strong, Pallin Third in Points

Polaris Pro Open racers ran strong all weekend at Lake Geneva as they filled two podium spots in each of the finals, and in each race, five of the top 10 finishers were on Polaris IQ® Race Sleds. In all three finals, the Polaris racers who reached the podium were Wisconsin natives racing in their home state. Kody Kamm and Ross Martin (Judnick Motorsports), finished 2-3, respectively, in the Friday night final, and Kamm and Justin Broberg (Hentges Racing) went 2-3 on Saturday.

Kamm, a Kenosha, Wis., native, said of the Friday night race, “I had a sweet holeshot and led for a couple laps. This was just a great race to come back to.”

In Sunday’s season finale, Martin finished second, Kamm returned to the podium in third, and Kyle Pallin (Team LaVallee) took fourth.

Pallin finished third in the final ISOC National Pro Open points standings, the highest among Polaris racers. Martin finished fourth in points, Broberg was sixth, and Corin Todd (Leighton Motorsports) was eighth, the highest finish among Pro Open rookies. Kamm finished ninth in points despite missing four rounds of racing due to injury.

PRO LITE: Springer Clinches Second Title in Second Season

Ryan Springer got the holeshot in Saturday’s Pro Lite final, then ran a smart race with no unnecessary risks and finished second. That let him clinch the Pro Lite season points title in qualifying on Sunday – his second title in just two seasons of racing. After winning the Pro Lite title, he competed Sunday for the first time in the Pro Open class, where he will race next season.

“I just went out and rode comfortable,” Springer said of the Saturday final. “I wasn’t going to push anything, get out of control, and throw away the points lead. Just tried to ride smart, and that’s what I did.”

Six Polaris racers finished in the top nine spots in Saturday’s final. James Johnstad (Judnick Motorsports) finished third, followed by Andrew Carlson (Carlson Motorsports) in fourth and Trevor Leighton (Leighton Motorsports) in fifth. A pair of Polaris racers reached the podium in Sunday’s season finale as Travis Muller (Cottew Motorsports) and Andrew Carlson finished second and third, respectively. Johnstad was fourth and Leighton took sixth, an impressive finish as he raced despite an injured shoulder that will require post-season surgery.

Polaris racers claimed five of the top six spots in Pro Lite points. Springer won the points title and Andrew Carlson tied for second but was slotted into third based on the tiebreaker of race wins. Muller finished fourth in points, Leighton was fifth, and Johnstad took sixth.

SPORT CLASS: Cottew-Yurk Finish 1-2 in Points

Cole Cottew won the Sport class points title ahead of fellow Polaris racer Jacob Yurk in second. Evan Daudt (Daudt Racing) was fourth, Durk Roper (Roper Racing) was sixth, Nickolas Lorenz (Lorenz Racing) finished seventh, and Andrew Lindholm (Carlson Motorsports) finished 10th. Yurk won and Lindholm took second in the first Sport final at Lake Geneva, and Daudt reached the podium in the second final with a third-place finish.

In the Amateur class at Lake Geneva, Polaris racer Devin Katzman (Eagle Disposal Racing) won the first final, and Mitchell Thelen (Cottew Motorsports) took second in the season finale.

In the final Pro-Am Women’s points standings, Jakki Farmer (Farmer Racing) finished third and Amanda Duitsman (Plaisted Racing) finished fourth.

VP of Polaris, Inc. Snowmobiles and Slingshot to Retire

Posted on March 23rd, 2015 in Facebook, Sledder News

Minneapolis, Minnesota (March 23, 2015) – Polaris Industries Inc. (NYSE: PII) today announced that Michael (Mike) Jonikas, Vice President of Snowmobiles and Slingshot, will be retiring in May of this year.

mike jonikasOver the past fifteen years, Mike Jonikas has been a key leader for Polaris and the powersports industry, and has made significant contributions to both. Jonikas began his Polaris career in 2000 as a Marketing Director in the Off-Road Vehicles (ORV) division, then went on to become the first General Manager of Side-by-Side (SxS) vehicles, Vice President of Sales & Corporate Marketing and On Road, and finally VP of Snowmobile and Slingshot.

Under his guidance, Polaris’ snowmobile business has reached new heights in performance – both from the vehicles themselves and from a sales perspective – while his work with Slingshot resulted in one of the most successful product launches in Polaris history.

“Mike has been a passionate, dedicated and highly skilled business leader for Polaris over the past 15 years. During that period, he led and grew each of our vehicle businesses and transformed our sales and corporate marketing team, contributing significantly to our success,” said Scott Wine, Polaris Chairman & CEO. “Quite simply, Mike worked tirelessly to make Polaris a bigger, better and stronger company, and our gratitude and best wishes go out to Mike as he embarks on his new, more relaxing, adventures.”

“I have been privileged to work with Mike for the past 15 years,” said Bennett Morgan, Polaris President and COO. “It is a fact that Mike’s efforts played a significant part in making Polaris the company it is today. We owe him a debt of gratitude, not only for his contributions to our business but also for the passion and pride he brought to every leadership challenge we set before him, no matter how daunting.”

“I have worked with so many great people during my time at Polaris, and it is their passion and commitment that I will miss the most,” remarked Jonikas. “Though I was present as Polaris broke through the $2, $3 and $4 billion revenue barriers, launched any number of groundbreaking products, and became a truly global business, it is the day-to-day interaction with the best team in Powersports that always inspired me. As I leave, I am confident that the company is in great hands, and I look forward to seeing what they will accomplish.”

Wine continued, “It is never easy to replace someone of Mike’s caliber, but we have a deep reservoir of strong leaders ready to tackle such challenges, many of whom Mike trained himself. We have developed a thorough succession plan for his role, and details will be forthcoming.”

Mud Dog Riders at the MnUSA Winter Rendezvous

Posted on March 23rd, 2015 in Facebook, Sledder News

MnUSA members who snowmobile to the annual Winter Rendezvous get the special distinction of becoming Mud Dogs. They’re asked to share their adventures along the way, with the potential to win the traveling Bent Skag trophy. Colin Brown and Wade Bemmels, members of the Maple Plain Sno Mads, won the 2015 trophy for the story of their 248-mile, one-day ride from McGregor to International Falls. Here is their story, along with a couple others.

No Snow, No Problem

By Colin Brown

We left on Thursday night by car from the Twin Cities. We drove to the cabin in McGregor on Big Sandy Lake. The cabin is un-insulated so we stoked a fire, turned on the furnace and went to the bar for a warm-up. We got back to the cabin at 2 a.m., and the inside temperature was 33 degrees.

It was a cold night sleep with no water in the cabin, and Wade’s cheeks froze to the seat in the outhouse. After a little minor medical work, I’m sure there’s still some DNA on the outhouse seat.

We made the ride a true Mud Dog experience. We left McGregor on Friday with very little to no snow. Trails were not groomed, and there were few to no tracks when we left. It was tough trails. Conditions improved as we headed north. We stopped in Swan Lake for the largest breakfast ever — I took a picture to prove it.

We hit our first groomed trail. Needless to say, my carbides were broken in/worn down after the first 40 miles. After brunch, we headed north to Hibbing and the trails got even better. Then we got on the Taconite Trail to the Wolf Track trail and into Cook. We kept heading north and caught the Arrowhead.

At 7 p.m. we stumbled on a huge fire at the shelter on the Arrowhead and Hagerman Trail junction. Thank God! We were 15 miles from International Falls and cold. Thank God for my extra tall wide Clyde, compared to Wade’s thong of a windshield to match his underwear choice.

We got warm, and though we were almost out of fuel, we made it to the Thunderbird and the MnUSA Winter Rendezvous.

This is my fourth year in a row riding to Rendezvous and this is Wade’s second. I’ve got plenty of skags to add to the trophy. Not to mention that I’m still plucking turkey feathers out of my sled from last year’s near-death experience riding to Rendezvous.

Scott Seely, Andrew Oatman and Greg Libby, members of the Pequaywan Area Trail Blazers

Two Harbors to International Falls, 270 miles

We came from Two Harbors Yukon and rode through Tomahawk to Ely. We had lunch in Ely at the Grand Ely Lodge and then we ran Burntside and Vermillion lakes, and the Vermillion River. We stopped at Voyagaire Resort for gas and were then off to more lakes, which included Crane, Sand and Kabetogama. Lastly, we took the Arrowhead Trail to the Blue Ox. We stopped at the shelter and the fire was going. It was very cold and windy but we had no issues.

Leroy and Pamela Tennyson, Randy Fitzgerald and Gary Gorden

Bemidji to International Falls, 112 miles

We had planned to ride from Bemidji to International Falls, however, due to the cold weather forecast and the fact that last year Leroy’s Yamaha wouldn’t start when it was -27 degrees, we thought it best to trailer the sleds here. We did have a bit of excitement along the way as we drove up Highway 71 and got behind two semi-trucks in snow fog.

Leroy pulled out and passed the first logging truck and was just about to pass the second when all of the sudden its driver hit the brakes, put on his flashers and pulled over into the left lane. Leroy pulled the truck and enclosed trailer we were pulling back into the right land and then out of the snow fog we saw it. A truck was broken down in the right lane was being repaired and there was a pickup truck parked behind it blocking the driving lane. The first semi pulled out and went around them.

Leroy was just about to follow him around the road side spectacle when he glanced in the mirror and saw the semi we had just passed coming up behind us in the left lane with its brakes locked up. As we came to a stop behind the road block, the semi with its squealing brakes went screaming by in the passing lane. We then pulled out and safely passed the road block and then passed the semi that had locked up his brakes. The driver had white knuckles and looked like he needed a clean pair of shorts.


Red Bull Snow Boundaries Cancelled

Posted on March 23rd, 2015 in Facebook, Sledder News

IRONWOOD, MI – Continued warm weather and a fast melting snow pack at Big Powderhorn Mountain in Michigan has forced the cancellation of Red Bull Snow Boundaries, a first-of-its-kind snowmobile enduro race, scheduled to be held March 27. An extremely abnormal stretch of warm weather has proved too much to overcome as event organizers took a first-hand look at course conditions and determined the current layout to be unsatisfactory for an endurance event. All possible alternatives were explored, but the warm weather, limited snow cover and concern for driver / equipment safety ultimately yielded the final decision.

Red Bull is extremely appreciative of the athletes who committed to participate in what was to be a snowmobile event designed to push the limits of rider and machine, and expand the boundaries of snowmobile competition. Red Bull remains firmly committed to the event and will work closely with racers, industry experts, and factory race departments to bring this event to the snowmobiling community in 2016. Athletes that signed up to race this year will be the first to know about details for next year’s event.

Watch for future communications regarding Red Bull Snow Boundaries 2016 including dates and location.


Insider Interview with Tucker Hibbert and ISOC Snocross

Posted on March 23rd, 2015 in Facebook, Sledder News

MINNEAPOLIS (March 20, 2015) – If the entire extreme powersports industry took a vote on who had the best competition year on the race track, experts from snowmobiles to road and dirt bikes, UTVs and ATVs and personal watercraft would be hard pressed not to cast their vote for Tucker Hibbert (Monster Energy/Arctic Cat/Ram Trucks) and the year he and his team put together on the AMSOIL Championship Snocross, powered by Ram Trucks, tour.

team 68Hibbert’s 2014-’15 competition season was filled with highlights that only come along once in a great while not just with snocross racing, but with any form of motorsport. Still only 30 years old, Hibbert is that rare breed of crossover athlete that can compete at the national level in both the two uniquely different sports of snocross and motocross – better than anyone ever has.

ISOC caught up with Hibbert to get his take on the AMSOIL Championship Snocross season, his most memorable moments and the importance of the team that surrounds him.

ISOC: Start with the obvious here. Just a fantastic season of racing for you. You won 13 of the 17 Pro Open finals – en route to your ninth AMSOIL Championship Snocross title, scored your 100th career win and won a record-breaking eighth-straight X Games Snocross gold medal (13th X Games medal). Does this competition year rank right up there with some of your most memorable ones?

Tucker Hibbert: I would say so, yeah. It’s been pretty crazy. Seems each year we figure out a way to say that’s the ‘Best year ever,’ then the following year we seem to top it somehow. The last three seasons have been really, really great for us. Winning the championships and having a lot of success. I came into this year ready to go, like every year. But you just never know until you get going. It was awesome to have success right away in the first couple races of the year (Note: Tucker won the first four-straight Pro Open main events to start the season) and you hope to carry that momentum right through the end of the season.

ISOC: You turned 30 prior to the start of the 2014-’15 AMSOIL Championship Snocross season. Did your preseason training this year differ at all from past years?

Tucker Hibbert: This year was pretty much the same as year’s past as far as preparation and training. I’ve felt better than ever at the start of the last few seasons. As far as fitness goes it doesn’t seem like my age is effecting me any so far. I’m sure it will at some point, but I’ve been able to keep doing the same (fitness) program that I have the last several years and it seems to be working. I’m hoping I can keep doing that, but like always, the competition keeps getting better and they find a way to be stronger and faster. So can never just keep doing the same thing and hope for the same results. You have to continue to adapt and push yourself, always looking for ways to better. There’s room for improvement.

ISOC: Correct us if we’re wrong, but I think most would agree that if you had to put your finger on one event that really stood out amongst the rest on the AMSOIL Championship Snocross tour for you it’d have to be the come-from-behind win at Deadwood (S.D.) that gave you your 100th career Pro class win.

no 68Tucker Hibbert: I was at 99 wins for a while, lost three races in a row. So it was getting a little bit frustrating trying to get to that No. 100. At that race in Deadwood where I actually got to 100 I got the holeshot then fell over in the second turn. Made a mistake and ended up in last place. Then I was able to charge all the way back for the lead with a couple laps to go. It was a pretty intense race for me, really small track. High intensity and pretty crazy track, and I have this love/hate relationship with Deadwood. But it was probably the best way I could have reached 100. So yeah, I would say it was the most memorable race of the season for me.

ISOC: Talk a bit about your 2015 Arctic Cat ZR6000R SX sled you rode this year and the amazing job your team did pulling everything together to where you didn’t have any major equipment failures the entire season.

Tucker Hibbert: Just like every year it’s super important to have a really solid performance from your team in order to win the championship. And this year was probably the best year we’ve ever had in terms of the snowmobiles and equipment being really solid, consistent and reliable. I didn’t have any mechanical issues all season, which is a testament to Arctic Cat and to my team of mechanics that work so hard to make sure I’ve got the best equipment on the track. Without them, obviously, I wouldn’t be able to win the championship and have so much success. It’s a huge team effort and everyone works very hard during the week to make it easy for ourselves on the weekend.

ISOC: To what extent do you, personally, work on your race sleds back at the shop?

Tucker Hibbert: We don’t really have any specific job titles, so everyone just steps in and works on what needs to be done. And that’s what’s really cool about it. Most of my work comes in the preseason in terms of building the new sleds. Then once the season begins I tend to focus as much as I can on riding and doing what I need to do to be fast on the sled.

ISOC: The Monster/Arctic Cat/Ram team is very close. And this year, just prior to Lake Geneva, you lost one of your team members Joel Dahlen, father of your best friend and team manager Rob Dahlen. Talk a bit about Joel, what he meant to your team and how you so graciously honored him on top of Friday’s podium at Lake Geneva.

Tucker Hibbert: Joel did a little bit of everything for our team. He was a construction man – a builder – his entire life. Super busy, but he always took any time off that we asked of him to help the team. He’d be here on weekends and at night helping us with a pretty wide variety of things, including remodeling and building much of my dad’s race shop, remodeled a couple houses for me – as well as doing a lot of the body work on our race sleds, too. So whenever I’d crash a snowmobile Joel was there to fix it. He also did a lot of the work on our race trailers, with the cabinets and stuff. (Hibbert pauses and his voice cracks a bit.) But probably more than anything he was our No. 1 fan. Always supportive of me and Rob. So on Friday, when we won the championship, I dedicated that to Joel. It was for him for sure.

ISOC: Does taking a break from the AMSOIL Championship Snocross series to race X Games help in terms of resetting your focus on the Pro Open title?

Tucker Hibbert: X Games is a lot of fun for us and we look forward to it every year. It’s kind of halfway through our season with ISOC, so it gives us a little bit of a break from that and mixes things up partway through the season – which is a good thing. It’s a different experience than what are regular weekends are, but it’s good for the team, good for me and I think good for the sport of snocross in general. And winning like we have (eight-straight golds) give us a lot of momentum for the second half of the ISOC season.

ISOC: Wrapping things up, do you have any plans in place to race motocross on the Outdoor National series this summer?

Tucker Hibbert: I don’t have any solid plans yet. Hope to race some Outdoor Nationals. Last year we raced RedBud, Millville and Washougal. I really love racing motocross and it’s a huge part of my life – a huge part of my success overall as an athlete. We’ve still got to get everything wrapped up with snocross here, but in a couple weeks we’ll switch gears and get back on the bike. It’s a fun time of the year for me to get on two wheels and do some racing.

ISOC: That sounds like a plan. You’ll no doubt have a crew of snocross fans at your hauler in Michigan (RedBud) and Minnesota (Millville). Good luck on your dirt bike and we’ll look forward to seeing you at Hay Days.

Tucker Hibbert: Thanks. Look forward to seeing everyone at the motocross nationals this summer. We’ll always have posters to sign, so make sure you stop by and say ‘Hey!’

Tucker Hibbert’s sponsors include: Monster Energy, Arctic Cat, Ram Truck, Arcticwear, Stud Boy Traction, Fly Helmets, Speedwerx, Fox, Leatt, Hot Stuff Pizza, C-Tec 2 Synthetic Oil, TekVest, Spy, Kicker, Digital Ink Design & Graphics and CTi.

ISOC would like to thank its series sponsors, as without them the “Greatest Show on Snow” would not be possible. A hearty “Thanks” to: AMSOIL, Ram Trucks, the United States Air Force, Arctic Cat, Polaris, Ski-Doo, FXR, Dayco, Hayes Brakes, Stud Boy, Pirtek, Prinoth, Jimmy John’s, Nielsen Enterprises, Fox Shocks an Michelob Golden Light.