The last USXC race of the season was held on North Twin Lake at Pinehurt Resort in Naytahwaush, Minnesota. The two day event drew in generous amounts of spectators who were treated to two beautiful days of racing. The largest crowd, perfect weather and great ice conditions greeted 160 racers.
Competition was intense as all 4 brands were competitive on the 10 mile ice course. Corey Davidson on his Ski Doo won Pro Stock and was the class of the field, proving to everyone that he still has what it takes. Re Wadena on a fast Yamaha Viper was a close second with the Polaris of Bobby Menne 3rd and the ever present Arctic Cat of Wes Selby 4th. Pro open was dominated by the ultra-fast ZR of Wes Selby, Wes was competing one week after a hard crash in Warroad landed him a hospital stay. Semi Pro also had a new winner with Craig Ritzinger on a Ski Doo winning a very intense battle with Gunner Arlaud on a Yamaha.
Temperatures hit 50 degrees which greatly impacted the condition of the ice. Thankfully, the USXC crew was able to keep the track maintained so that racing could go on without any hindrance.
Day 1 started with low clouds, but by mid-morning the sun was out and fans were in for a great weekend of racing.
Day one started with low clouds, but by mid-morning the sun was out and fans were in for a great weekend of racing. Pro Open winner Wes Selby.
For the first three laps of the Semi Pro final, it was Ski-Doo’s Craig Ritzinger , Yamaha’s Gunner Arlaud , and Arctic Cat’s Cole Nymann who led the 24 rider field. Ritzinger and Nymann swapped positions throughout the first three laps, and Arlaud sat right behind them waiting for one of them to make a mistake. That finally happened when Nymann suffered a crash on the last lap. Ritzinger and Arlaud pulled away and finished first and second place respectively. Ryan Trout rode a solid race with the leaders around 30 seconds ahead, and the closest riders 15 seconds behind him. His third place finish secured him a second place overall finish for the season in the Semi Pro Stock class. Fourth place went to Austin Lunde, fifth to Skyer Soyring, and sixth to Taylor Bunke. Bunke rode a safe race, which is all he needed to do in order to win the Semi Pro championship.
Another Bunke who placed sixth this weekend was Taylor’s younger brother who made his racing debut this weekend in Naytahwaush in the Junior 10-13 class. The 874 machine looked very fast on the ice this weekend, and in a couple years you should see him up in the Pro classes with his older brother and dad, Gabe.
By the time the Pro Stock final hit the track, a majority of the course had turned to water. Bobby Menne pulled an impressive holeshot, but soon Yamaha’s Re Wadena took over the lead. It wasn’t long before Corey Davidson passed Menne and found himself right on Wadena’s tail. Davidson made his way around the 52 sled, but Wadena never gave up. He stayed behind Davidson the entire race and finished only 10 seconds behind him. Menne who just got home from Alaska after racing the infamous Iron Dog, finished third. Arctic Cat’s Wesley Selby and Zach Herfindahl finished fourth and fifth.
In the Pro final, Yamaha and Ski-Doo would again compete for the checkered flag. After trading the lead several times, Ski-Doo rider Corey Davidson (#3) was able to hold on to the enjoyment of the local crowd. Rounding off the podium was Polaris rider Bobby Menne (#131) who made it back just days earlier from completing the Iron Dog in Alaska.
For now, some racers will put away their sleds for the year and take a break from racing for a couple months while others have already to begin training and planning for next season. Next year some riders will be making the transition to new classes while others will continue to race the same class, working for the number one plate. If this year was any indication of what next year will hold, we can definitely expect some excitement.
On Saturday, racers took part in the Semi-Pro / Pro challenge race. With no entry fee, heads up racing, and the Semi-pros getting a head-start on the pros, this race ended up being a crowd favorite. Polaris Rider Alex Hetteen (#154) narrowly held off Yamaha pro Re Wadena.
By Sunday, temperatures pushed over 50 degrees yielding a complete slushfest. Despite being shortened by several laps, the Semi-Pro and Pro finals were run heads up and provided plenty of excitement for spectators.
In a heated Semi-Pro battle, Ski-doo rider Craig Ritzinger (#196) held off Gunner Arlaud (#56) who rocked the Yamaha Nytro to a 2nd place finish. Rounding off the podium was Christian Brothers rider Ryan Trout (#105).