Team Arctic national snocross racers were cheered on by a full house at the new Dubuque County Fairgrounds location in Iowa this past weekend.
Leading those fan cheers was Pro Lite rookie, No. 64 Andy Pake, from Christian Brothers Racing. Pake was just shy of finishing on the podium in Deadwood, SD, but came to Iowa showing his strength, speed and confidence during Friday’s Pro Lite final. Pake led, and held, a strong six-second lead over second place the entire race. Pake’s first place finish marked his first visit to the top of the box this season.
“Iowa was great,” Pake said. “My Arctic Cat ZR held a strong start which put me at the front of the pack by the first corner. Shortly after, I moved to first, nearly had an off on the first lap, but calmed myself, rode my own race, and held the lead until the end.”
Saturday night, one of the coolest names in the Pro Lite class made a first-time trip to the podium. Balder Naas from Zandstra Motorsports went 3-2 in his heats, qualifying fourth for the final. After riding very smart and consistent laps, Naas held down a beautiful second place finish around the rough track.
“I just got a good start, and I tried to ride my race and not look back so much,” commented Naas.
Raycer Frank and Matt LaMourea continued to dominate the Sport Lite class, finishing first and third respectively on Friday. LaMourea returned to the Sport Lite podium Saturday. Zach Pattyn continued his winning ways in the Pro Am Plus 30 Saturday and Taven Woodie kept her second place points stronghold on the Pro Women’s class going into New York.
Team Arctic enduro racers competed at the SOO I-500, Michigan’s most grueling snowmobile race in the Upper Peninsula. Defending champions from Cadarette Collision Racing looked like sure bets for the final as Troy DeWald led the inaugural Meijer Pro Shootout from start to finish. This was DeWald’s second feature win of the week after winning the (I.S.R.) Formula III feature the previous night.
The Meijer Shootout win gave DeWald his eleventh overall win to complement his fourth consecutive SOO I-500 pole award. He started on the outside of the front row next to the other Team Arctic Meijer Pole Award winner, Luke Krentz, a young rising enduro star. With 30 laps to go in the final, DeWald was positioned to work his way to the front with the leaders, but the warm weather took a serious toll on the race track which was worn down to the dirt, eventually taking out the track on DeWald’s strong-running ZR, finishing their day.
“This weekend, Team Arctic got bit by some pitfalls, but those definitely shouldn’t overshadow our many successes and how strong our racers looked and felt,” Team Arctic Race Manager Mike Kloety said. Seeing Pake and Naas on the Pro Lite podium was phenomenal, and in the snocross classes, we are seeing strong consistent results week after week, said. The SOO I-500 didn’t give us the final results we wanted, but the deteriorated track conditions simply got the best of many. That’s racing.”
Next up for Team Arctic cross-country racers is the USXC Goodridge-Grygla 500 Feb. 8-9.