Sioux Falls, S.D. ~ On Friday night, Championship Snocross, Powered by RAM Trucks returned to the Mountain Rushmore State for the second time this season with a pair of second time winners leading the charge.
The W.H. Lyon Fairgrounds played host to round nine of the championship with the Taylor and Martin, Inc. Auctioneers National Snocross, and it was a seasoned veteran and a recently returned rookie finding success in Sioux Falls.
Number 2 for Kyle Pallin
Kyle Pallin has been the unquestioned fan favorite of the series the past several seasons. The Polaris rider is always in contention, and his smile and positive demeanor is well-documented. Despite all of his success, it is a surprise that Pallin’s last Pro win came in 2015, when many of the top riders were still cutting their teeth in Sport classes or at regionals. On Saturday, Pallin was flying high around the tight track, busting out big air and a big grin after winning his second career race.
Ski Doo’s Hunter Patenaude nailed the holes hot on Friday night, launching out to a big lead while the field tried to sort itself out through the multiple lines and snow-dust. Patenaude’s lead wouldn’t last long after Pallin pushed past about a minute into the race.
From there, Pallin was flawless on a track that was perfect for his riding style. It featured big air and rhythm and was missing the pound-it-out bumps that the Michigan-native has proclaimed as not fitting his preferred way to spin around a snocross track. With the lead, Pallin was able to move through the clean air with perfect rhythm, landing on the top spot for the first time in six seasons.
“All day long I never felt totally confident with the track,” said an excited Pallin on the podium. “I just told myself before the final it was going to be rough and I just had to breathe and just race the course, it’s super simple. I just tried to look for smooth lines because I’m not very good at pounding through the gnarly stuff.”
With Pallin out front, Ski-Doo’s Francis Pelletier was working his way up the leaderboard. The number one qualifier was able to get around Patenaude and into second. From there, the rookie had his hands full with points leader Elias Ishoel for much of the race but was able to keep the hard-charging champion behind his roost, notching his second podium of the season.
“I knew I had to take some smooth lines and find my place early in the race,” said Pelletier. “I got off track a couple of times and I’d lose a little momentum, so I kept pushing. Everyone was falling down in front of us, so we just kept riding.”
Ishoel was on a roller-coaster ride on Friday night. The two-time champ was fast, sitting in either third or fourth place for most of the race, but a couple of trips off track were mixed with some spectacular saves to keep him in contention until the end. He gave one last shot on the final lap but fell short to Pelletier by just .738 of a second.
“It was fun, and the track was changing so much out there,” said Ishoel. “After the finish line, I was off the track twice, so it was tough. But it was fun and congrats to Kyle and Frances. They did an awesome job.”
Emil Harr (Polaris) had a workman’s attitude in the final. He sat tenth after four laps but was able to work his way up to fourth by the time the checkered flag flew. Kody Kamm (Polaris) rounded out the top five.
Lebel Launches in Pro Lite
Rookie Jordan Lebel dialed up a double-down in the Pro Lite final on Friday night. The Ski-Doo rider became the first two-time winner in the class this season while picking up his second win of the year (winning two of the last three after missing the first six-finals to start the season).
Lebel and Carson Alread (Polaris) led a full-field into the first turn, with Lebel nudging into the lead. A miss-timed triple opened the door for Travis Kern to take over the lead on the second lap, with Kern looking for his second win of the year. Kern held point for the next eight laps, but Lebel pulled even with four laps to go, and the two aired it out for the remainder of the race, before Lebel took control for the win.
“I did a big mistake on the finish line jump,” said Lebel. “I cased the triple, and Kern was able to pass me. A couple of laps later I saw him case it and I thought I had my chance. It was a really fun race.”
Kern was looking for his third career win, and despite coming up just short, he did nab his third podium in the past three races. The talented Polaris rider is hitting his stride at the right time and is starting to close the gap on points leader Adam Peterson.
“The track was smooth everywhere early in the race, and I was just trying to see where I could find speed,” said Kern. “I had a sweet battle with (Lebel). That big jump is gnarly and I’m just happy to be on the podium.”
Alread is also starting to find positive results as the season rolls along. His third place finish in Sioux Falls was his second podium of the season, and despite a crazy track, he now sits fourth in the championship standings.
“It was pretty tough out there, pretty technical,” said Alread. “We got a good start, and it was nice to get out of the snow-dust. Obviously, the finish line was kind of big. We weren’t able to hit it in our heat races, so it was a little nerve-wracking because the Pro’s started hitting it, so we knew we were going to have to hit it in the final.”
Peterson continues to hold the overall points lead, thanks to his fourth place run in round nine. Theo Poirier was the number one qualifier and rode a strong race to fifth place finish.
PRO WOMEN: Andersen Answers Back
Malene Andersen and Megan Brodeur’s season-long showdown continued in Sioux Falls. The pair have combined to win all of the Pro Women finals this season, a trend that continued on Friday night.
Inanna Hauger grab the early lead, but Andersen took control of the race on lap two. It wasn’t a runaway for Andersen, with Brodeur on her rear bumper for much of the race, crossing the finish line less than a half-a-second for four straight laps. Andersen found some breathing room over the last few laps however, as she picked up her fourth win of the year.
Brodeur notched her eighth podium finish of the season in second, with Hauger coming across in third.
PRO SNOW BIKE: Horbaty Hangs First Loss on Kirchmeyer
Jesse Kirchmeyer’s perfect season came to an end on Friday night thanks to a great night of riding by Troy Horbaty.
Kirchmeyer had not lost a moto all season long, but an uncharacteristic off in Moto 1 gave Horbarty an opportunity to knock of the champ. Horbarty was spot on in his moto win, and a second place in Moto 2 gave him the overall win over Kirchmeyer, who went 3-1 for second. Keaton Ward went 2-3 for third overall.
FXR SPORT: Ski-Doo’s Emeric Legendre is on a three-podium streak after an impressive win in the FXR Sport final. Legendre led from start-to-finish as he rustled up his first win of the year and his fourth podium finish in 2021.
Two-time winner Kenny Mandryk finished second, and Adam Ashline held on to third, crossing the finish line just .25-of-a-second ahead of Beau Tibbetts.
SPORT LITE: Points leader Kellen Chapuran led wire-to-wire for his fifth win of the season in the Sport Lite final. Hayden Meyer finished second with Kolton Krajicek finishing third.
The series returns to action on Saturday in Sioux Falls with round ten action. There will be a full day of racing, with the live stream starting at 11 AM on www.snocross.com. Opening ceremonies start at 6:00 PM Central Time with Pro racing to follow.