Sweeps Steal Show in Salamanca

Jeremy Meyer News

Salamanca, N.Y. ~ AMSOIL Championship Snocross officials used every flake of available snow on the ground at the Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino to make the tight, technical track racers tackled this weekend.

As day turned to night on Saturday, Mother Nature woke up from her mid-season slumber and added some big, flakey snow to t the mix of the series’ man-made creation. While it didn’t widen or lengthen the track in any meaningful way, it did add a different consistency to the circuit’s top layers while also bringing a visibility issue for competitors.

The on-track results were one for the history books, with a repeat winner in Pro Lite, a return to the top in the Pro class, and a few riders who cleaned house with weekend sweeps.

Benham Back-To-Back in Pro

Daniel Benham found himself in familiar territory on Saturday night as he entered the final round of the Triple Crown with a pair of wins. It was the same situation he encountered on Friday night, but he gave ground to Jacob Yurk in the third leg and ended up second during the podium celebration.

But it was determined post-race that Yurk would receive a penalty, dropping him down one overall spot and crediting Benham with the win. Benham was extremely fast on Saturday and deserving of his first Pro-class victory since the 2021-2022 season. He packed on another first on Saturday, his first career sweep of the Pro class.

Benham entered the final round 1-1 with a two-point lead over Francis Pelletier, who finished second in both rounds. Pelletier nailed the holeshot, but Benham slotted in right behind him in the first turn. They two would pull away from the field, and with Pelletier hitting all of his marks for the win, Benham settled into the runner-up spot, gaining enough points (four) to finish with the overall.

“I really love New York, and I’ve had good luck here,” said Benham. “It was a really special weekend for us, and yeah, I’ll remember this one for a while, and I hope we can keep it rolling.”

Pelletier has been rolling lately. He has been challenging for race wins every round for the past month and finished with five points and second overall. It marked the third podium in the past four races, and he sits second in points, only 14 points behind leader Emil Harr. 

Yurk overcame a tough start to the night, a crash in the first round, and finished third overall. He drove up to a fifth-place finish in round three, giving him his second podium finish on the weekend.

Lorenz Rides Momentum to Pro Lite Sweep

Crayden Dillon opened up his Pro Lite rookie season on a massive streak of seven wins, creating a significant gap in the championship standings at the season’s mid-point. But there is a lot of racing left, and after two rounds in New York, another rider is streaking into contention.

Nick Lorenz’s switch to Ski-Doo in the off-season took a few rounds to adjust to the new ride, but he found his rhythm in Salamanca. Lorenz, who picked up the win on Friday night, was on a rail on Saturday. He took advantage of another great start and bolted to the front. The clean air didn’t last long, as once he got into lapped traffic, he had to find his way through the pack while also holding off a hard-charging Anson Scheele in a repeat battle from round eight. Despite several moments, the two riders were side-by-side, Lorenz was able to keep Scheele in the runner-up and pick up the weekend sweep.

“New York pays off again,” said Lorenz. “I’m looking forward to carrying the momentum through the rest of the year, and we can catch up to Crayden.”

Scheele, who missed out on his first win of the season on Friday, topped off his best overall weekend of racing with a second-place finish. Drew Freeland, who overcame an early season leg injury, showcased his high-end speed, riding to his first podium of the season and finishing third.

Fifty-Two for Cottew

One week ago, Malene Cottew made a major milestone in an amazingly accomplished career: 50 wins. The champ continued to deliver over the weekend, sweeping both Pro AM Women’s finals, including a grand win on Saturday.

Cottew’s consistency and ability won the day in New York. She grabbed the holeshot and stormed away from the field. Her early efforts were aided by an early jump off the starting line by Inanna Hauger and a pile-up in the first turn that collected Tausha Lange. That pair had pressed the points leader all season, but with both out of the mix, Cottew could put her head down and navigate the track and traffic with clear eyes and mind.

“For sure, there was a lot going on, but I just tried to stay on the sled and just ride my own race,” said Cottew. “I’m just thinking about Tasha over there. I hope she’s doing good, and yeah, I want to thank my whole team, One-Three Motorsports.”

With Hauger and Lange, who sit second and third in the overall points, out of the race, it was a great battle behind Cottew for second. Ava McCurdy and Naeli Lebel were neck-and-neck for most of the race. They swapped spots throughout the contest, but it was McCurdy who was able to move Lebel off her line late in the race to secure her first podium of the year.

UPDATE: A post-race penalties were issued to Cottew and McCurdy. The win was credited to Naeli Lebel. (2/18/24)

PRO AM PLUS 30: Corin Todd’s return to racing may be turning out better than expected.

The former Pro level racer has been holding off all challengers this season and picked up his third straight win with a veteran effort on Saturday. Todd had good competition from former Pro Lite winner Max Taillefer, who made his class debut on Saturday. Taillefer finished second, with Ryan Frank holding down third, his second straight podium finish.

FXR SPORT: The number one qualifier, Kenny Goike, grabbed a fistful of throttle and vaulted into the lead of the FXR Sport final.

Goike had heavy pressure from Brady Freeland early in the race. The two went bar-to-bar a few times, but Goike was able to stay out front when they reached the finish line jump. It marked Goike’s first win of the season, and he was able to jump into the overall lead by a single point over Brandon Nelson. That was thanks to Freeland, who held off Nelson over the final few laps for the runner-up spot.

SPORT LITE: Connor Campbell had control of Saturday’s Sport Lite final at the contest’s midpoint, but his sled started to swap out from underneath him, and he was bucked off. 

That put Kamden Duffy into the race lead, and he fought through lapped traffic to pick up his first win of the season. The win also moved him into second overall, 15 points behind Trenton Hilmerson. For the points leader, he returned to the box after a one-race absence, holding off a hard-charging Lawrence Eeg for the second position.

ROX SPEED FX STOCK 200: Jack Gelinas is starting to put a stranglehold on the overall points in the Rox Speed FX Stock 200 class. He got a big boost in New York, picking up a pair of wire-to-wire wins, including a dominant run on Saturday.

Brock Wilson doubled up on podium finishes in Salamanca. Wilson followed up his third-place run on Friday night with a solid second-place finish on Saturday. Parker Wruck made his season debut in New York, finishing third behind Wilson.

TRANSITION 9-13: It took Jimmy Stanisich two laps to find the front of the Transition 9-13 field, and once he did, he drove a flawless race to pick up the weekend sweep.

Stanisich was able to pick up a few points on overall leader Tavin Knudson, who finished second on Saturday. He held off a hard-charging Gavin Brault for the runner-up spot.

JUNIOR 14-15: Kamden Duffy has pulled into serious contention in the Junior 14-15 class, thanks to his completion of the weekend sweep on Saturday. 

Duffy used a clean hole shot to get out front and led wire-to-wire for his third win of the season. That pushed him into second overall, just five points behind AJ Skogquist. Brandon Martinson moved into second with two laps remaining, finishing on the podium for the second time in three races. Wyatt Skogquist worked from fifth to third to pick up his second podium of the weekend.

TRANSITION 8-10: Tommy Roy made his series debut on Friday, notching an impressive win in his rookie run. He backed it up on Saturday, completing the weekend by laying down the hammer and piloting his Ski-Doo to an early race lead.

Points leader Tripp Knudson played the runner-up role well in New York, finishing second for the second straight night. Holden Kuhn earned his first podium of the season, finishing third by less than half a second over Noah Gillis.

120 CHAMP: Ryan Shimanski worked through some early race pile-ups by fellow riders of the 120 Champ class to earn his third win in for tries.

Shimanski had to navigate lapped traffic but cruised home for the victory. Tucker Kraling now has back-to-back podiums thanks to a runner-up effort on Saturday. Kolton Love held off Connor Muir in his season debut for the final podium position.

JUNIOR 10-13: Tavin Knudson had to work through early traffic before he was able to lock down his second straight Junior 10-13 final.

Easton Kuhn ripped the holeshot, but Cody Moras jumped into the lead on the first complete trip around the track. Two laps later, Knudson was out front and drove to the win. Moras and Kuhn would race each other for the second spot, with Moras holding the edge at the line.

JUNIOR GIRLS 9-13: Number one qualifier Victoria Dillon grabbed a massive hole shot, but Avery Hemmer found an outside line to rail past the early race leader. Dillon, who entered the day only eight points behind Hemmer in the overall standings, kept pace with Hemmer, but the points leader didn’t give her any openings to retake the lead. 

It marked Hemmer’s third straight win, while Dillon has finished second in all four finals this season. Ava Kruschke nabbed her first podium of the season, finishing third.

AMSOIL Championship Snocross returns to South Dakota with the Sioux Falls Snocross National, presented by Kwik Trip on March 1-2. The event will take place at the W.H. Lyons Fairgrounds in Sioux Falls.

For more information about the 2023-2024 AMSOIL Championship Snocross season, visit www.snocross.com. You can tune in all season long, live onwww.FloRacing.com. Event day schedules and tickets will become available in the coming months atsnocross.com.