Walking away with top honors in the premier Pro Open class was Ski-Doo racer Robbie Malinoski, while Travis Muller (Ski-Doo) took the support Pro Light main event at Friday's ISOC ERX race in Elk River, Minn.
Pro Open Friday Final
While Minnesota homeboy Malinoski was faster than anyone at ERX on Friday, taking the checkers by a mile, the big news was the mechanical breakdown of Polaris' Ross Martin - who was running a close 2nd in the overall points to Tim Tremblay (Ski-Doo) heading into tonight's race. The DNF, couple with Tremblay's solid runner-up finish to Malinoski, puts Tremblay up by 29 points over Malinoski (467-438), who leap frogged Martin (435 points) into 2nd place overall with three races/two rounds remaining on the 2011-'12 ACSS tour.
Pulling the massive 100-plus yard long Stud Boy Holeshot was Malinoski. In tight on Malinoski early was Martin, and racing well all weekend, Polaris' Brett Bender, was right there in 3rd. Several turns into the opening lap defending ACSS Pro Open champion Tucker Hibbert (Arctic Cat) managed to jar his safety tether loose, the third-straight week that's happened to the champion. So having gone from 7th to 4th in a quarter lap, Hibbert was relegated to the very back of the Pro Open class field on the very first lap.
Moments after Hibbert's problem an even bigger issue took place in terms of the overall Pro Open title chase. Martin slowed to a halt on the side of the track, got off his sled, ripped his goggles off and chucked them in disgust. A huge, though not fatal, blow dealt to Martin's title hopes.
With six laps to go in the 14-lap main event Malinoski continued to put time on the field. Tremblay would get past Bender and Martin (by default) and moved up into 2nd place, though Malinoski would continue to put time on the current Pro Open points leader though the checkers (8.8 seconds by race's end). Bender would score his first podium of the year with a great day of racing and Hibbert would crash trying to catch up and ended up outside the top five.
"I live about 40 miles from here and consider ERX to be my home track. Came out swinging in the final and my Ski-Doo was just a rocket ship off the starting line. The team really had an awesome setup tonight," Malinoski said.
Pro Light Friday Final
Kody Kamm's multi-race Pro Light winning streak came to a halt at ERX on Friday, though the Polaris racer still enjoys a sizable lead over Derek Ellis (Ski-Doo) in the overall points chase. Winning on Friday was Minnesota's own Travis Muller (Ski-Doo), recording his first win of the season in a thrilling come-from-behind race in which he beat Polaris' Jake Scott to the finish line by 3/10ths of a second.
Kamm railed out to the early lead and, much like he has the past three races, looked to be in line to check out. But a mistake on the back rhythm section would send Kamm off the track - and glancing off a telephone pole. Fortunately the points leader was uninjured and his was still running so he was able to rejoin the race, dropping back outside the top five.
Bombing through traffic up towards the front, right around the time Kamm exited the track, was Muller - who took the lead from Kamm and was never challenged through the checkers. Scott and Ellis would battle hard during the mid laps of the nine-lap contest before passing Ellis and making it stick.
"That was the best race I've had all year! I've been waiting a long time for that and had a lot of hard work finally pay off," Muller said.