Happy March Madness, race fans! Before the real madness ensues (anyone else pick Virginia to go all the way?), let me tell you about the snocross madness I witnessed this weekend.
I’m fresh off a weekend in Lake Geneva, Wis. for the finale of the AMSOIL Championship Snocross Series and, boy, let me tell you, it was a wild one. Let’s take a look back at the highs and lows from the weekend.
That track, though
Let’s first talk about the literal highs and lows of the weekend – the track. I’ve been to ski-hill courses before (re: Duluth, Jackson), but this one rivals all of them in terms of levels. Racers started out of the gate on a strong uphill, only to bank around and head right back down the hill. They then snaked around to the top and back down the hill again in a series of whoops, ultimately shooting through the AMSOIL Finish Line and back to the uphill.
Take a look as Judnick Motorsports‘ Corin Todd takes us around this intricate track setup from last weekend.
And on top of all of that there was also a Joker Lane that Pro and Pro Lite riders were required to take during the final events. A steep uphill shot at the opposite end of the start brought riders back to the whoops section. Not one rider I watched Friday night was able to keep his skis on the snow heading up the Joker Lane.
From start to finish
From final one in Duluth to final 17 in Geneva, Boss Racing’s Elias Ishoel book-ended his season on top of the podium, ultimately taking the championship. The #200 sled crossed the finish line first five times this season, also finding himself named fan favorite. Boss Racing was also named team of the year, led by Ishoel’s championship season and a strong showing from rookie Aki Pihlaja.
After watching Ishoel take a win in Pro Lite at Duluth at the start of the 2014-15 season, I found myself crossing my fingers and hoping for the best (and everyone racing with him) whenever he raced. A bit of a squirmy rider, Ishoel has taken these past four years of experience to evolve into a much smoother, patient rider. He summed it up best at the awards banquet:
“I won my first race in Duluth (in 2014) and then thought, ‘Oh crap! I have to make a speech on the podium.’ I promise I’ll do better this time.”
And there you have Ishoel .
A low point for Team AMSOIL was the absence of Lincoln Lemieux. Pained by a shoulder injury toward the end of the season, Lemieux had to forgo the last rounds of racing to heal.
Hunter Patenaude dominates
You know how I love my puns, people. But, really, taking control the latter half of the season, Scheuring Speed Sports’ Hunter Patenaude secured his first-ever Pro Lite win night two in Deadwood, S.D. After that, the former fill-in rider for Scheuring secured nine straight podiums, six of those wins.
Heading into Sunday’s final round in Geneva, Patenaude had all but secured the championship. Off the start line in the Pro final, Patenaude took the Joker Lane on his first lap. Getting that out of the way he let his patience and skill take him the rest of the way, finishing the season with one more win.
As predicted, those Ski-Doo sleds were pretty hard to beat this season. Counting both Pro and Pro Lite classes, Ski-Doo sleds took four of the top six spots in the points race, including both championships. Will next year be Polaris or Arctic Cat’s season to reign? We shall see!
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We’ll see you at the races!