Ski-Doo racer Robbie Malinoski won the Pro Open at ISOC's Duluth National on Saturday, and Ski-Doo racer David Joanis took home first place in the Pro Lite.
With limited natural snow officials with ISOC and the crew at Spirit Mountain were able to pull together a solid racetrack despite the entire state of Minnesota being brown in the day leading up to the race. Celebrating its 21st year,thousands of fans packed into the bleachers, along the course and inside Spirit Mountain’s chalet to take in the first of two rounds of ACS racing in Duluth this weekend.
Robbie Malinoski (Ski-Doo) grabbed the Stud Boy Holeshot, marching into the first corner on his own and pulling out into the lead in front of Ross Martin (Polaris) and Ski-Doo teammate Tim Tremblay to start the year’s first AMSOIL Championship Snocross Pro Open main.
Martin catched up to Malinoski with a daredevil move two laps into the contest, passing last year’s Saturday Duluth National winner and making it stick to take the lead on lap three. Back in the pack Tucker Hibbert (Arctic Cat) passed Kody Kamm (Polaris) and set his site on Tremblay who had the third podium spot in hand behind Martin and Malinoski.
By lap nine (of 24) the Tremblay/Hibbert battle would pull the two closer in to Malinoski and Martin and they separated from the rest of the field, only to pass and re-pass lapped riders on the short 24-second lap track. Hibbert, who qualified 2nd behind Tremblay for Saturday’s main, was all over the place trying out new lines to get past Tremblay, but the defending Pro Open champ wasn’t having any of it as he held off Hibbert’s high speed rushes.
With Martin up on Malinoski by three seconds on lap 19, Hibbert blew off his sled and dropped back to 5th behind Cody Thomsen (Arctic Cat). It was about this point in the race where race leader Martin took on a bunch of snow roost from lapped traffic and, two laps later, began to experience some engine issues with his sled. Malinoski tasted blood and closed the gap even further, before Martin’s sled all but conked out on the final downhill straight.
“That was kind of a gift from Ross with his sled going down, but we’re pumped to be up here. I always work hard on my starts and it paid off tonight. But yeah, Ross was just ripping,” Malinoski said.
Malinoski took the lead from Martin and went on for the win. Martin was able to limp over the finish line in 2nd, followed by Tremblay in 3rd. Thomsen would hold off Hibbert for 4th, rounding out your Duluth National top five!
Vermont’s Lincoln Lemieux burst onto the AMSOIL Championship Snocross Pro Lite scene at Duluth, winning both of his qualifiers and leading Saturday’s Pro Lite main event through lap six. But a crash would rock Lemieux out of first place and well off the podium while circling sharks David Joanis (Ski-Doo), Jake Scott (Polaris) and Andrew Lieders (Polaris) were quick to strike.
“This Ski-Doo’s a rocket sled, faster than last year’s … which I didn’t think could happen,” said Joanis, accepting his gold medal for 1st place.
When Lemieux went down and off his sled on lap six, New York’s Scott would take the lead. Two laps later Canada’s Joanis, who pulled the Stud Boy Holeshot, caught and passed Scott and the two separated from the rest of the field. With visibility difficult, although the riders said it wasn’t that bad on the track (worse for the fans in attendance and the 100,000-plus watching the live webcast), Canada’s Alexandre Renaud (Ski-Doo) would pull up into 3rd place, with Lieders and Sweden’s John Stenberg (Ski-Doo) rounding out the top five.
With six laps to go the #115 sled of Joanis was clicking off fast lap after fast lap, putting four seconds on Scott – who in turn was four seconds up on Lieders, who had passed Renaud for third and final podium spot. Joanis, Scott and Lieders would hold their podium positions, followed by Canada’s Max Taillefer (Ski-Doo) in 4th place and Travis Muller (Ski-Doo) in 5th.
Pro Open Final
1 Malinoski Robbie Ski-Doo
2 Martin Ross Polaris
3 Tremblay Tim Ski-Doo
4 Thomsen Cody Arctic Cat
5 Hibbert Tucker Arctic Cat
Pro Lite Final
1 Joanis David Ski-Doo
2 Scott Jake Polaris
3 Lieders Andrew Polaris
4 Taillefer Maxime Ski-Doo
5 Muller Travis Ski-Doo