Shakopee, Minn. ~ As the calendar flips to the 2019 portion of AMSOIL Championship Snocross, POWERED by RAM, it seems the top racers in the Pro class liked the way the 2018 portion ended.
The Pirtek Snocross National saw Boss Racing/Ski Doo’s Aki Pihlaja as the fastest man through qualifying and his teammate, and points leader, Elias Ishoel pick up another podium. But when the snow dust settled on the balmy night at Canterbury Park, it was Lincoln Lemieux once again standing atop the podium as the Scheuring Speed Sports/Ski Doo driver picked up his third win of the season.
As the first four rounds went for Lemieux, so did Friday night in Canterbury. Issues in heat races pushed the Vermont-native down the rung as he entered the final as the ninth qualifier. While he continues a trend of missing valuable heat race points, the qualifying spot gave him the first gate pick, and utilized his far inside position to hold off the the hungry pack and another first lap lead. From there, Lemieux was on cruise control, finishing ahead of Pihlija and Ishoel.
“I have the worst-best luck, I like to say,” said a smirking Lemieux after the race. “I just can’t get any help in the qualifying. I’m either breaking parts or getting taken out by somebody, but lucky enough it gave me the night pick, which gave me the first pick on the line, and I ripped the holeshot.”
Behind the leaders, Arctic Cat’s Daniel Benham continued his story strong rookie season. After picking up a heat win, he fell just short of the podium in fourth. Logan Christian put in his best performance of the year as the Christian Brothers/Arctic Cat driver logged a fifth in Shakopee.
Your Pro Lite Winner Is….
Adam Peterson! The Pride of Medford, Wis. came into round five of AMSOIL Championship Snocross sitting all the way down in 16th in the season standings, but the rookie didn’t make a mistake in the final on his way to his first career pro win.
Peterson, racing out of the Team LaVallee program, became the third rookie to win a Pro Lite race this year. He pushed his Polaris ahead of a bunched up crowd to start the final, and the only pressure he felt came early from round four winner, Trent Wittwer.
“As soon as I saw that gap off the start, and I was out front, I just tried to hit smooth lines and stay consistent,” said Peterson atop the podium. “I knew Trent was right behind me the whole race, so I just stayed consistent and focused and got ‘er done.
Arctic Cat’s Wittwer picked up where he left off in Jackson Hole in December, finishing second ahead of Ski Doo’s Max Taillefer, who came into Canterbury sitting fourth in points. As for the three men ahead of him in the championship race, each had a night they will look to put behind them prior to Saturday’s racing. Points leader Francis Pelletier crashed his Ski Doo hard on the eighth lap before finishing 11th. Brothers Leo and Hunter Patenaude respectively sat second and third in points, but each finished out of contention on Friday with Hunter 9th, just ahead of Leo.
Another Wild Finish
Taven Woodie and Megan Brodeur are turning into Must-See-Snocross as the two Pro Women contenders continued their budding rivalry on Friday night.
The 15-year-old Woodie made it two-in-a-row over Brodeur, as Brodeur once again did everything in her power to reel-in the upstart Arctic Cat driver. Woodie grabbed the Stud Boy Holeshot and the early lead over third place finisher Melane Anderson, while Brodeur had to fight back from a sixth place start. By lap five, Brodeur had caught Woodie, but couldn’t find a way to push her Ski Doo into the lead, thanks in large part to Woodie hitting a tricky triple, coupled with an impressive move that spliced two lapped riders on the last lap, giving her enough cushion to hold off the points leader.
Friday Night Lights
Hole shots were key to a lot of the success in the pro classes on Friday night at Canterbury, and the amateur classes proved no different.
- Zach Pattyn picked up his second win of the year in Pro Am Plus 30. Points leader Matt Pichner came home in second, just ahead of Andy Lieders.
- X-Games gold medalist Brock Hoyer brought some star power to the growing Snowbike class as 18 riders lined up under the lights in Shakopee. Points leader Jesse Kirchmeyer was the early leader, but a crash on lap three pushed him back to fourth. That allowed Harris Huizinga to grab the lead. He was pressured by Hoyer for a moment but was able to pick up his second win of the year. Kirchmeyer made his way back on the podium, finishing the race one spot behind Hoyer. “I tried to get out as fast as soon as I could,” said Huizinga, “and Jesse went down, and I got around him and just tried not to make mistakes.”
- While Hoyer finished second on the podium, he was later disqualified after failing to report to the ISOC Tech trailer following the race. The move puts Kirchmeyer in second and Keaton Ward in third.
- Thief River Falls, Minn. native Baily Frost continued his ascension up the podium on Friday night. The Arctic Cat driver picked up his second straight win in the FXR Sport class. His nearly ten-second win was his fifth podium of the year.
- Arctic Cat’s Andy Pake used a great start to take the first turn lead in the Sport Lite final. He utilized the clean air in front of him to dominate the six-lap final, winning over Matt LaMourea by six seconds. Jordan Lebel finished third.