The new year started right where 2018 left off for Ski-Doo X-Team racers as they continued to dominate the Pro podium with five of six positions and both wins at the third stop of the ISOC snocross series in Shakopee, MN, just south of Minneapolis.
Every Pro race has been won by a Ski-Doo racer this season with Lincoln Lemieux taking his third win of the season Friday night, leading a Ski-Doo podium sweep with Aki Pihlaja and series points leader Elias Ishoel backing him up. Then Adam Renheim broke through on Saturday night for his first ever ISOC win. Ishoel finished third Saturday for two podiums on the weekend and keeps himself firmly in the lead for the points championship.
The exceptionally warm conditions made for challenging races as the track continually deteriorated to one line in key areas with little opportunity to create separation and make passes. Lemieux (Scheuring Speed Sports) made the most of it on Friday as he grabbed the holeshot and checked out on the field without a serious challenge by establishing a small gap early. Behind him the BOSS Racing teammates of Pihlaja and Isohel were fighting towards the front of the pack with creative and aggressive passes, showing their desire to catch Lemieux, but by the time they got into podium positions he was gone and the race was complete.
Pihlaja was quick all weekend, making this his first trip to the podium while Warnert Racing teammates Adam Renheim and Tim Tremblay came home sixth and seventh.
Saturday was warm again and the sloppy snow created heavy roost and poor visibility for anyone who didn’t grab a holeshot. The start would be extremely important, but Friday’s winner Lemieux took himself out of contention immediately as he jumped the first attempted start and was moved to the back row. After another aborted start and driver penalty, the races launched on the third try with Renheim, Tremblay, Ishoel and Pihlaja all fifth place or further back. While the track lacked passing, it definitely had a rough character. The whoop section demanded the riders double, with anyone trying to triple or missing their double being penalized with a hard landing that stopped momentum instantly. Renheim was able to make some early moves that led him to third—contesting for second—with Tremblay in close pursuit. When the second place sled broke, Renheim had his opportunity to get out of the roost and chase the leader down quickly. Once there he wasted little time in making a pass—but had to give the position back because of a yellow flag—then he reset and made the move for good with two laps to go.
The relief of finally collecting an ISOC win for the multi-time World Champion was clear on his face afterward and the Superman he did off the finish line jump put the exclamation on it.
Max Taillefer grabbed a third place finish in Pro Lite racing on Friday with Marcus Ogemar finishing just off the podium in fourth. Francis Pelletier had a rough outing as he off loaded hard on a hole that developed through the race, finishing No. 11. Top finishers Saturday were Hunter Patenaude and Pelletier in fourth and fifth respectively.
Brodeur Shows Grit
Megan Brodeur seemed to be challenging herself at the storied Canterbury track for Rounds 5 and 6. Friday she was blazingly fast in qualifying, but was late on the throttle for the final, finding herself in fifth place after a lap. She fought back to a close second place finish at the checkers but was clearly disappointed. When Saturday’s final came she was ready and grabbed an early lead, created a gap, but then fell off on the rough back stretch. She remounted in second and had to make a last lap pass to claim her fourth win of the season.
Sport Riders Gaining Momentum
Colton Luggert and Brian Peterson had season best races on Friday, finishing second and third in the rough and tumble Sport class. Luggert backed up it up with a fifth on Saturday and has moved up significantly in the points standings.