Round 2: Blackjack National

The Blackjack National marked Round 2 of the National snocross tour. It went down this past weekend in Ironwood, Michigan, -well, actuall Bessemer, which is the next town down Highway 2 as you head East into Michigan’s U.P. Here are some photos I shot on Saturday and some of my impressions on the day as well as the competition overall.

Travis Muller got the call from Warnert Racing to fill in for the injured Kaven Benoit. Benoit was at the race walking with a crutch. He dislocated his hip at Duluth.

No, Ron Pattyn's trailer isn't foggy, it's just my lens. Here he pours some of Dragon's finest race fuel into a test container to bring to tech.

The Stud Boy trailer is guarded by these two vicious guard dogs.

Iain Hayden does his dynamic warm up before Pro practice. He had a gnarly crash at Duluth and had another in the first round of qualifying at Blackjack.

Dan Ebert's mechanic Greg Muller warms up his mod before Pro practice. Dan had a great weekend that the Regional race at Quadna Mountain Park the weekend before.

Johan Lidman warms up on the bike before Pro practice. That Muscle Milk is good stuff!

The lodge at Blackjack. Word is the owners want to make the race a regular deal every year - same date, same everything to people keep coming back. It's not a bad idea as this is about the only place there's snow so early in the snowmobile/ski season.

Pro Lite is where the action is this season and the class has the best racing on the circuit in my opinion. Here Petter Narsa lets Garrett Mees know that the guy with the red plate should go first.

One reason I like the Pro Lite class is there are about 10 guys who can win on any given weekend, and some of them aren't the guys racing out of the big haulers. Chase Rosemeyer is one of those guys.

CSRA regulars Joey Sagan and Dylan Hall were strong all weekend. Hall swept the Semi-Pro points on the CSRA circuit last year and is a rookie Pro on that circuit this season.

Of course, everyone knows Dylan Martin, he's Ross Martin's brother. Like his brother, Dylan has a lot of talent and can win on any given weekend. He will race Pro on the East Coast Snocross circuit this season for Team Southside.

Jake Scott races for Team LaVallee. With Levi Lavallee sitting out the weekend because he was in California testing for his distance jump and Bobby LePage out with injury, Scott carried the flag for the LaVallee squad.

Even with all the talent in the Pro Lite class if you could name one kid who is the next big thing it might have to be Kody Kamm. Kamm is still learning the snocross ropes and is sometimes his own worst enemy on the track. When things fall into place for him he's blazing fast though.

James Johnstad has been lighting it up in the Pro Lite class. He's still super-young too, so who knows where he will go?

Andrew Carlson has the massive support of the Carlson Motorsports team behind him. He seems on the brink of breaking big in the next season or so.

Dave Joanis is another guy who races Pro on CSRA and has dabbled on the National circuit over the past few years. He had a great day at the race on Saturday, winning the final.

With Kyle Pallin and Cody Thomsen moving up to Pro, the Pro Lite ranks in the Cat amp are pretty thin. Perhaps their best hope at a good result lies with Matt Pichner.

Nick Pattyn has risen to the top of every class he's raced in so far, now he's racing Pro Lite. He's young, but definitely on the pace.

Andy Lieders came out of nowhere a few years back and I think still shows promise. He seems plagued by bad luck though.

Joe Fallen has had a great start to his season. He's another one of those privateers who could steal a race if he has a good day.

Oh hey, there's Tucker Hibbert.

Emil Ohman watches Pro Open heats. He's proven so far this season that a healthy Emil is a serious competitor.

Ross Martin says, "That's the gnarly part, right over there," as Dani pees her pants cuz hey, it's Ross Martin!

This isn't the gnarly part Ross was pointing at, this is the kinda gnarly part.

Apparently Mathieu Morin is feeling better after popping his shoulder out at Duluth. He finished fifth in Pro Open Saturday. Must be the Jimmy Johns.

Scott Judnick lookin' all serious and stuff.

OK, HERE's the gnarly part. Downhill, close-spaced, kind-of-a-rhythm-section that was the scene of more than a few crashes. Woulda been sweet to have a massive X Games-style flyaway on this downhill but hey, what do I know?

Justin Tate was running fourth at Duluth on Sunday before he got bumped off the track. He also injured his shoulder in that incident but he said it wasn't a big deal it was better a few days later. He's pretty much a privateer in Pro Open, which is really cool.

Cory Davis was on out Top 10 snocross rider rankings list. He's shown moments of brilliance this season but for the most part has struggled after sitting out snocross racing last year.

Brett Bender's mod is super-cool. The trend this year seems to be black sleds.

Dan Ebert transferred to the main through the LCQ. One of only four Cats to make it in.

The sun was setting behind the mountain as the Pro Lite final went down. Here, Dave Joanis has the lead but he's looking back...

...because Derek Ellis (along with Ellis' teammate Petter Narsa) is right behind him.

Joanis got the win followed by Narsa and Ellis. Narsa still had the red plate at the end of the weekend but he's headed back to Scandinavia to fulfill his contract to race for Lynx. By the way, that's an all-Ski-Doo Pro Lite podium folks.

T.J. Gulla looks for a good place to watch the Pro Open final. After a podium finish at Duluth on Sunday Gulla struggled at Blackjack on Saturday. He came back Sunday, won the LCQ and finished eighth.

The Hibbert and Martin show lines up for the final. First year Pro Mike Bauer qualified fourth.

Hibbert got a monster holeshot, but the start was a tricky one, kind of a double dogleg deal combined with an uphill.

The riders get funneled into the uphill run and yup, looks like Hibbert's got it.

But wait! Hibbert gets tagged from behind and pushed out onto the soft stuff. That taillight at the top of the hill? Oh, that's just Martin, pretty much checked out.

Martin learned last season that you can't let up even when you get a monster holeshot and crazy lead. He was on the gas trying to put distance between himself and whatever was behind him.

He almost had the race right off the start, but once again Hibbert was forced to eat roost as he went to work running down Martin. Something in the driveline on Bender's sled locked up early in the race leaving Tremblay and Malinoski between Hibbert and the leader.

Hibbert got by Malinoski and then ran down Tremblay.

Paul Bauerly ended up tenth on Saturday and ninth on Sunday. Not a bad weekend for a guy who doesn't get much recognition.

Martin came around with about two laps left to go in the 14-lap race headed into the finish line jump...

...with Hibbert close enough to catch some of his roost blast.

Hibbert caught Martin and tried a block pass, running into Martin. Hibbert got by but lost his spindle. He nursed it around to start the final lap...

...then got on the gas, realizing his sled didn't handle THAT bad and hey, every spot lost cost him valuable points.

Shortly after Martin's win Nate Hentges, Tim Bender and Tom Rager Jr. talk about the general awesomeness of the race.

Advantage: Martin.

 

Tucker Hibbert Releases 2012 Merchandise

December 2, 2011 – Tucker Hibbert’s 2012 Official Merchandise line is now available online. Tucker added new men’s, women’s and youth clothing along with a new hat to his growing line-up of uniquely branded clothing and accessories.
Shop Online: http://tuckerstore.mybigcommerce.com/

FEATURED ITEMS
Tucker Hibbert Team Monster Energy/Arctic Cat Podium Hat
The official podium hat of Team Monster Energy/Arctic Cat’s Tucker Hibbert. Features the logos of Monster Energy, Arctic Cat, Hibbert Racing and Tucker’s trademark 68.
One Size Fits All
Adjustable Snap-Back
80% Acrylic / 20 % Wool
$25 USD

Tucker Hibbert Zip-Up Hooded Sweatshirt
Layer up this winter with the Tucker Hibbert Zip-Up Hooded Sweatshirt. This charcoal sweatshirt features a line-up of Tucker logos on the front along with his name and number on the back.
50% Cotton / 50 % Polyseter Fleece
Full Fleece-Lined Hood
Long, Set-In Sleeves
Adult: $50 USD

Tucker Hibbert T-Train T-Shirt 2012
This adult and youth sized t-shirt features an image of Tucker jumping his Monster Energy/Arctic Cat snowmobile on the back with his name, number and signature broken pinstripe pattern on the front.
100% Preshrunk Cotton
Regular Fit
Adult: $20 / Youth: $15 USD

Shipping Available to: United States, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Hibbert Exits Challenging Duluth National Second in Points Chase

November 28, 2011 – Defending AMSOIL Championship Snocross Series Champion, Tucker Hibbert, gained valuable seat time on Arctic Cat’s all-new 2012 Sno Pro 600 chassis and left the opening round of the series in Duluth, Minn. sitting second in the Pro Open Points Championship chase. The Monster Energy/Arctic Cat rider showcased his ability to move through the pack on a difficult track, making him a force to be reckoned with this winter.

With the shift to only Pro Open racing this season on the ACSS Tour, Hibbert and his competitors will race 15 finals spread over eight stops to earn points for the title. The 20th Annual Duluth National featured rounds one and two.

Hibbert had an impressive run in Saturday night’s final. While battling for third place on lap one, a kicker near the bottom of the massive downhill pitched him off the steep backside of the track. Still on his sled, he re-entered the track in 14th place out of 15 riders. After regaining his composure, he put on a charge that moved him into striking distance of the podium. Twenty laps proved to be not enough, forcing him to settle for fourth.

Sunday afternoon, Hibbert struggled to find a grove in qualifying, making him the eighth pick for the 15-rider, 20-lap final event. He found himself in ninth place off the start with all the top contenders in front of him. He picked off riders each lap eventually moving into third and finishing only one second behind second place.

The ACSS Tour will take a weekend off before heading to Ironwood, Mich. Dec. 10-11. Catch each stop of the tour on NBC Sports’ one-hour broadcasts Sundays at 5 p.m. EST. For the full schedule, visit www.isocracing.com.

Tucker Hibbert – AMSOIL Duluth National Results
Pro Open 1 – Saturday Round 1: 2nd Round 2: 2nd Final: 4th
Pro Open 2 – Sunday Round 1: 4th Round 2: 2nd Final: 3rd

Tucker Hibbert – #68 Monster Energy/Arctic Cat
“I’m disappointed in my results but am happy that we (the team) were able to come out of the weekend with consistent racing and in second place. We didn’t throw anything away but as far as our weekend performance, it’s not where I want to be. I want to be at the front battling for the lead rather than fighting through the pack to get on the podium. I know we have the ability to get there. I’m looking forward to a weekend off before the next race to test and tune. Working on my set-up will help me focus on eliminating mistakes. I’m confident we’ll enter Ironwood as a stronger race team.”

Hibbert Welcomes New and Long-Standing Partners to Snocross Team

Tucker Hibbert will welcome both new and long-standing partners to his factory-supported snowmobile team for the 2011/2012 ISOC Racing National Snocross Tour. Monster Energy will headline the program as Hibbert defends his 2011 Pro Open National Championship aboard Arctic Cat’s all-new Sno Pro 600. New to team Monster Energy/Arctic Cat this season are Hot Stuff Pizza, APV Synthetic Oil and TekVest.

Hot Stuff Pizza announced its plans to rollout a national promotion wrapped around Hibbert that will give consumers a chance to win a VIP trip to a race, free pizza, snowmobile gear and more. Hot Stuff Pizza franchises over 1000 restaurant locations worldwide.

Hibbert will rely exclusively on APV Synthetic Oil to protect and lubricate his Speedwerx modified Arctic Cat 600 race engines. APV produces performance-oriented lubricants specifically formulated for Arctic Cat race and consumer snowmobiles.

For over ten years, Hibbert has put his trust into TekVest’s upper body protection. He believes in the quality of the product and the protection it provides riders on the track and trail.

Long-time supporters of Hibbert returning to the team include: Castle X Racewear, Stud Boy Traction, Speedwerx, FOX Racing Shox, Spy Optic, Leatt, Kicker, Digital Ink Design & Graphics and CTi.

The Monster Energy/Arctic Cat team transporter will debut its new look Thanksgiving Day when it hits the road for Hibbert’s first race of the season in Duluth, Minn. Nov. 25-27. The 20th Annual Duluth National will mark the beginning of his 12th professional snocross season. For his full schedule, log on to www.tucker-hibbert.com.

Tucker Hibbert – #68 Monster Energy/Arctic Cat
“It’s a good feeling entering a new race season knowing I have solid people and brands behind me. It’s an honor having the opportunity to represent companies passionate about creating quality products. It’s a big year for me defending my title. I have high expectations for myself and everyone involved in my program. I can’t wait to hit the track at Duluth!”

2011-2012 sledRacer.com Snocross Rider Rankings

We’re on the brink of the 2011-2012 snocross season, time for the sledracer.com annual snocross rider rankings. Just a week out from Duluth, if you’re not ready now you’ll never be and we’ll help you get revved up with a little snocross bench racing. Bust out a cold one and read on as we give our $.02 on who is the best in snocross. You can see our past rankings (and see how accurate we were) here andhere.

11. Emil Ohman
No. 27
Ski-Doo
While Emil Ohman is entering just his third season of snocross in the United States, he’s been around Europe for a while. Translation: he’s older than you assume. But with age comes experience as well as patience, and the 2008 FIM snowcross world champion Ohman has both and both can be used to beat younger riders. Ohman had a breakout season in 2010 when he stood on the podium five times and placed third in Pro Stock points. He definitely came into Duluth on the pace last season but tweaked his knee there which opened up the gates to an injury-plagued 2011 season. Is a healthy Ohman a contender? It’s tough to say, but the pieces are there.

 

 

 

10. Kyle Pallin
No. 324
Arctic Cat
How can you put a rider on the Top 10 who has never ridden as a Pro? History would show that a rider who dominates the Semi-Pro class like Pallin did in 2012 usually makes a seamless jump into the Pro class. Plus, he finished 4th at the Winter X Games in snocross last season, proving he can ride a mod and put in the laps with the big boys. He’s got a ton of momentum behind him coming into the 2012 season, the question is, can he win?

 

 

 

 

 

9. Logan Christian
No. 43
Arctic Cat
The Pro National series Rookie of the Year last season, Logan Christian suffered a knee injury riding motocross in the off-season. After a less-the-stellar first half of the 2011 season, Christian turned it around after the New York race, made himself a consistent Top 5 rider and almost stole a win at the Hayward event. He rides for Christian Brothers Racing, one of the biggest and best teams on the circuit. Known for his relentless training regimen, expect Christian to start slow coming off injury but pick up mid-season and maybe steal some podiums.

 

 

 

 

8. Cory Davis
No. 160
Arctic Cat
Another rider who spent last year away from snocross (but not away from racing), Cory Davis is a naturally-gifted snowmobile rider, perhaps the most gifted on the circuit. During the summer of 2010 he suffered a severe injury to his foot riding ramps on his dirt bike. While now healed, questions surround Davis’ ability to ride snocross with the “new” foot. If he can pound the laps expect him to be Top 5 if not a podium contender.

 

 

 

 

 

7. Levi LaVallee
No. 108
Polaris
The progression of the sport generally means a season away from racing is a death knell for most racers, but we’re betting Levi LaVallee can come back and be competitive again. Ever fit and always fearless and aggressive, LaVallee does not like to lose and he won’t be out there to mess around mid-pack. A former race winner and Pro Open points champ, he could easily be placed higher on this list.

 

 

 

 

 

6. Mathieu Morin
No. 27X
Ski-Doo
Last season Mathieu Morin swept the Pro points titles on the East Coast Snocross circuit. ECS is not the Nationals so it’s hard to say if he can bring that momentum with him. One thing is for sure, he was without a doubt the dominant rider on that circuit last year and his track record shows he wins wherever he goes. This year he replaces Brett Turcotte on the BOSS Racing squad. He’s been on the National tour before and done well, even winning races (including Pro Stock at Duluth in 2005). He should have a good season in 2012.

 

 

 

5. Garth Kaufman
No. 48
Arctic Cat
Garth Kaufman has quietly worked his way to the top of the field in snocross and he’s stayed there for the past few seasons. His smooth, consistent style combined with an adequate “next gear” that allows him to be just a step faster than some of the mid-packers puts him on the podium enough to call him a contender. While the Christian Brothers Racing rider has yet to show if he has that top gear that would put him out front (and keep him out front) against the Top 3, he’s definitely shown he’s a rider to take seriously.

 

 

 

 

4. Robbie Malinoski
No. 4
Ski-Doo
One of the most experienced riders on the circuit, Malinsoki also rides for one of the highest-profile teams, Scheuring Speed Sports. Famous for logging the first National snocross win on a 4-stroke as well as for being the only rider other than Blair Morgan or Tucker Hibbert to sweep the points championships, Malinoski is a tough, consistent rider who can ride just about anything and always seems to find the podium. Expect him to be on the podium, but betting on the top step might prove risky.

 

 

3. Tim Tremblay
No. 27
Ski-Doo
Two years ago Tim Tremblay filled a spot on the Warnert Racing roster and won the Pro Stock points championship in his rookie season, proving he belonged on the National circuit. His results tapered off in 2011 but he still claimed a handful of podium spots. Still, he’s competitive and is even able to win on the Ski-Doo, a sled that has been a disappointing third best in the pack. On paper, the sled looks much improved for 2012, but will it put Tremblay in the mix with Hibbert and Martin again?

 

 

 

 

 

2. Ross Martin
No. 837
Polaris
Ross Martin led more laps in more races than any other rider in the Pro class on the snocross National tour last season. Problem was, more often than not he wasn’t leading when it counted. Martin races for Judnick Motorsports, one of the most successful racing teams in the history of snocross and has the full force of the Polaris racing empire behind him. The mod-only Pro class should play into his favor because he’s always been better on his mod and has three Pro Open championships to prove it (2007, 2008, 2010). He’s the only rider who, when it comes to ability, racing experience and support, can match Tucker Hibbert. But, until he leads the laps that count, he remains the No. 2 rider on the list.

 

 

 

1. Tucker Hibbert
No. 68
Arctic Cat
In addition to being the reigning ISOC Pro points champion, Tucker Hibbert holds 66 Pro National snocross wins, he won the FIM Snowcross World Championship in 2010 and holds 10 Winter X Games snocross medals, including five gold medals. He locked up both championships last season despite suffering from an injured wrist (that required off-season surgery) for nearly half the season. While Blair Morgan’s win total still eludes Hibbert, the double race format this season could put him close to Morgan’s record of 84 wins. Despite his stats not being as fat as Morgan’s, Hibbert is arguably the greatest snocross racer ever and, until someone beats him on the National circuit, he is No. 1 on our list.

Winter X 2012 Invited Athletes: Snowmobile

ESPN released it’s first round of invited athletes for Winter X Games 16 set to take place in Aspen, Colorado, January 26-29, 2012. Snowmobile athletes are:

Freestyle:
Daniel Bodin
Justin Hoyer
Levi LaVallee
Heath Frisby
Caleb Moore

Best Trick
Daniel Bodin
Levi LaVallee

Snowmobile HOF to eBay Arctic Cat Sled Signed By Team Arctic

Many Sharpies were harmed in the signing of this sled.

Thief River Falls, Minn. (Oct. 31, 2011) – To raise money that supports the Snowmobile Hall of Fame (SHOF), a one-of-a-kind 2012 Arctic Cat F1100 Sno Pro in 50th Anniversary trim will be auctioned off on eBay beginning November 24th, 2011.

But this isn’t like any other 50th Anniversary Arctic Cat.

Of all the 50th Anniversary edition F1100 Sno Pros, this was the very first built during production. This is an all-new snowmobile decked out in classic Team Arctic colors and autographed (and documented) by every Team Arctic racer in attendance at the Arctic Cat 50th Anniversary celebration in Thief River Falls, Minn.

There is no other Arctic Cat snowmobile in the world that has so many autographs from Team Arctic racers along with five autographed boards that document the signatures, and the years, the racers were with Team Arctic.

Some of the legends whose names are signed on this machine: Roger Skime, Larry Coltom, Jim Dimmerman, Kirk Hibbert, Roger Janssen, Dave Thompson, Brian Sturgeon, Aaron Scheele, Chester Boman, Tucker Hibbert, Brad Pake, Paul and Brian Dick, Brian Nelson, P.J. Wanderscheid and many more.

For more information on the upcoming auction please visit www.snowmobilehalloffame.com

 

 

ERX Free Youth Snocross Clinic November 12

Click to make big.

Snocross Removed From Winter X Roster

Photo: Michael Roth/ESPN Images

One of the longest-running Winter X Games events — Snowmobile SnoCross racing — will no longer be a part of the Winter X program, as of this coming January’s event in Aspen, Colo., X Games officials announced Thursday. SnoCross debuted in 1998 as the first motorized sport in X Games history, and had been contested every year since then. Speed & Style, which combines snowmobiling’s freestyle and racing disciplines, and adaptive SnoCross, are also being eliminated.

Read the rest here.

2012 Arctic Cat Sno Pro 600

The new Sno Pro 600 has a half white and half green hood. This is the white half.

Thief River Falls, Minn. (9/10/11) – The official start to winter kicked off today at the largest snowmobile event in the world – Haydays. Thousands of loyal Team Arctic race fans were treated to the first unveiling of the all-new 2012 Arctic Cat Sno Pro 600 race sled.

70’s fashion Icon, Cat Girl unveiled the all-new 2012 Sno Pro 600 and conducted a walk-around with Performance Product Team Manager Troy Halvorson. Halvorson said the all-new Sno Pro 600 will build upon last season’s winning success and the success of the recently introduced ProCross chassis. Key highlights include:
• All new ProCross Race chassis – Stronger and lighter than 2011 Sno Pro 600
• 600R race engine with 40mm Mikuni rack style TM carbs w/TPS
• Front Arctic Race Suspension (ARS) – with Fox Float X Evol Shox
• All-new Race Slide Action rear suspension equipped with Fox Racing Shox
• 1.7-in. Snocross track or 1.25-in. Cobra 2-ply Cross Country track
• Arctic Drive System (ADS) with magnesium chaincase and all-new Torque Overloading Sensing (TOS) bottom sprocket
• Torque Control Link (TCL) – Links the drive to driven clutch
• Radial Master Cylinder brake system
• 5 gallon Snocross or 12 gallon Cross Country fuel tank

This is the green half.

“Racing has been a strong cornerstone of Arctic Cat’s heritage and brand. An arena we have consistently used for testing and development. It’s our commitment to race the ProCross chassis and show the world that our consumers can buy the same snowmobile to conquer the world’s toughest terrain,” said Brad Darling, GM Snow Division.

Defending his ISOC Pro Points Championship Title, Tucker Hibbert will race the full season aboard the all-new 2012 Sno Pro 600 as well as compete for his sixth-consecutive ESPN Winter X Games gold medal. If he wins, Hibbert will become the only athlete in the history of Winter X to six-peat. Hibbert has competed every year since 2000 and currently holds 10 medals, six of which are gold.

Arctic Cat CEO Claude Jordan stated, “Our talented engineers have built our best Sno Pro race sled to date, and that says a lot considering we won every major race or championship title last season. It’s going to be a tough year for our competition, but an even better year for our Team Arctic race fans!”