Hi race fans!
March Madness is upon us, and I’m not just talking about basketball (although, did Duke losing bust anyone else’s bracket?). March means the AMSOIL Championship Snocross Grand Finale in Lake Genva, Wis. And, as we predicted at the beginning of the season, there was a lot of excitement and emotion throughout the eight stops of the tour. Let’s take a look at the finale and our most memorable moments. Let the Madness begin…
Cashing in that 401(k)
Racing takes it toll on the body. In fact, to get a good idea how many surgeries a snocross rider had had, multiply his age by two. After numerous stints on the operating table, some racers, both newcomers and vets, decided it was time to hang up their FXR boots for good.
Carlson Motorsports’ Andrew Carlson entered the Pro ranks last season after finishing second in Pro Lite points the prior two years. But the team namesake has decided to end his snocross career to focus more on racing in the TORC Series and establishing his new business.
Leighton Motorsports decided to dismantle its snocross team altogether after Trevor Leighton announced his retirement in February.
With these three standouts retiring, the door is open for stellar Pro Lite riders, like Jake Angove and Nick Lorenz, to graduate to the prominent Pro Open class. Be sure to stay tuned for next season’s edition of Veterans vs. The Young Guns.
The Tucker Takedown
Without question, Tucker Hibbert is one of the greatest racers the sport has ever seen. I’ve watched him race. The way he patiently sits back and then methodically passes his opponents one by one only to take the lead in the closing laps is a site to be seen. But this year, T-Train’s game was off. After the perennial champion finished 10th and 12th in the Shakopee rounds, the championship seemed up for grabs.
Hibbert’s uncharacteristically slow start is understandable considering the unexpected passing of young Hunter Houle, whose dad works on Hibbert’s team. Also, with what some have referred to as the “Tucker Hibbert Rule,” the top nine heat qualifiers are inverted for the final in terms of picking their starting positions. To avoid racers landing themselves a top pick for the final by throwing heat races, bonus points were also awarded for heat-race wins. And that is where Hibbert got off his game this season. Those uncharacteristic results in the heat races and finals seemed to signal Hibbert’s vulnerability to those who have been on his heels for years.
(Spoiler Alert) Team AMSOIL for the Win
And that’s exactly what Kody Kamm, of Hentges Racing, and Tim Tremblay, of Scheuring Speed Sports, sought to do. Heading into finale weekend, a mere 44 points separated the top three – Tremblay, Kamm and Hibbert. With 177 points available in three rounds of racing over the weekend, it was really anyone’s crown to win.
After a strong showing on Friday and Saturday, Kamm entered Sunday’s round just two points behind leader Tremblay. After surpassing Tremblay in the heat races, Kamm sought more in the final, taking the lead early and never looking back, leaving Tremblay and Hibbert in the roost and ultimately crushing the championship. Tremblay finished second, Hibbert third.
It was a successful season for Hentges Racing, with Petter Narsa taking gold at the X Games in Aspen and Kamm winning the championship. After the race, Kamm recapped his memorable season. “I had lots of ups and downs this year,” he said. “I had a crash and separated my shoulder and just thought I was done after that. This weekend I felt great, with no shoulder pain at all, and I got second once this weekend, but won all of my other races – 8 of 9 of them. I’m just really pumped about that, and I’ve got the red number plate now and the championship.”
Check out the video below as Tremblay and Kamm talk about their hunt for the championship.
That roost, those whoops and that massive air certainly did deliver excitement from holeshot to finish line. That’s a wrap on the 2016-17 AMSOIL Championship Snocross season, folks! I miss that “braap” already.