The snocross racing team of AMSOIL/Scheuring Speedsports couldn't have asked for a better Pro Open final in the 13th annual International Race of Champions Snocross at the Crow Wing County Fairgrounds on Sunday.
Teammates Dennis Eckstrom of Duluth and Justin Tate of Forest Lake on black Ski Doos finished 1-2. Crosslake's Trevor John finished third on his Polaris.
It was Eckstrom's first win of the season. It also was the first 1-2 finish for the team since the Spirit Mountain hillclimb in April. The event was the second round of the World Snowmobile Association's Minnesota Regional Snocross Championship.
"It was definitely a confidence booster," said Eckstrom, who finished seventh in the Pro 440 final earlier.
Dennis Eckstrom of Duluth soared over the finish-line jump on his way to winning the Pro Open final at the 13th annual International Race of Champions Snocross at the Crow Wing County Fairgrounds Sunday. (Dispatch Photo by Clint Wood)
In the other pro class finals Sunday, Todd Wolff of Annandale won the Pro 400 also on a Ski Doo, Amanda Johnson of Aitkin won the Pro Women on an Arctic Cat and Scott Davis of Alaska, also on an Arctic Cat, won the Pro Veterans.
Tucker Hibbert of Goodridge, whose crew chief is Russ Ebert of Brainerd, won the Pro 600 final Saturday.
Eckstrom, who qualified No.1, started on the outside in the field of 12 and got the early lead (holeshot) in the eight-lap final. He was followed by John, Tate and Ray Schlegel of Roseville on an Arctic Cat.
About halfway through the race, Brian Taylor of Hibbing had a huge crash just past the finish-line jump, which brought out a caution flag.
A short while later, Tate passed John, whose right hand came off the handlebars on the backstretch jump.
"I hit so hard by the time I got back on the gas Tate passed me," John said.
John also was recovering from a torn ligament in his right thumb, an injury he suffered practicing with his motocross cycle last summer near Nisswa.
Wolff gets holeshot
Sixth qualifier Wolff got the hole shot. On the first jump after the first corner, the backstretch double, John was on his inside and Brian Taylor of Hibbing nearly rammed his sled's tunnel.
Wolff, a two-time I-500 champion, said during the earlier qualifying rounds, he was getting pushed out on the first corner, which was nearly 180 degrees.
"My sled really came out of the hole well," he said.
After the first lap, Wolff was followed by John, Schlegel, Taylor and Hibbert, who passed Taylor in the late stages to nab fourth place.
Hibbert takes inside line
Hibbert, who qualified first with two seconds and a win in the qualifying rounds, started on the outside and took the inside line to get the early lead and checked out.
He was followed by fellow Arctic Cat racer Aaron Scheele and John, soaring over the finish-line jump on the first lap.
At the halfway point, Chris Vincent on his Team Warnert Bud Light Ski-Doo passed John for third. Vincent had to finish in the top two in the last-chance qualifier to qualify for the final and he won it. Even so, he had to start in the back row of the final.
"I slid behind someone getting through the pack," he said of his push to the front. "Getting through the first corner was the hardest part. I was trying all kinds of lines."
Hibbert, 16, whose five-year goal is be a professional motocross racer, said Scheele was close to him for a while.
"I knew where he was the whole time," Hibbert said.
-- Brett Abrahamson of Brainerd won the Junior 10-13 final.
-- Mike Schultz of Fort Ripley won the Semi-Pro 440 final, finished second in the Semi-Pro Open and sixth in the Semi-Pro 600.
-- Amanda Johnson finished third in the Sport 600 final.
-- Jordan Sherwood of Pine River finished sixth in the Junior 14-15 final.
-- Kylie Abrahamson of Brainerd finished eighth in the Junior 10-13 final.
-- Scott Erlandson of Brainerd finished eighth in the Sport Fan final.
International Race of Champions Snocross
Crow Wing County Fairgrounds
Results Saturday, Sunday
1- Dennis Eckstrom (Doo); 2- Justin Tate (Doo); 3- Trevor John (Pol)
1 - Todd Wolff (Doo); 2 - John (Pol); 3 - Ray Schlegel (Cat)
1- Tucker Hibbert (Cat); 2 - Aaron Scheele (Cat); 3 3- Chris Vincent (Doo)
1 - Amanda Johnson (Pol); 2 - Julie Thul (Pol); 3 - Nicole Nicholas (Doo)
1 - Scott Davis (Cat); 2 - Dale Lindbeck (Cat); 3 - Joe Rudolph (Cat)
Semi Pro Open
1 - Matt Judnick (Cat); 2 - Mike Schultz (Pol); 3 - Derrick Johnson
Semi Pro 440
1 - Schultz; 2 - Jamin Today (Cat); 3 - Troy Ramacher (Doo);
Semi Pro Fan
1 - Jon Kotula (Pol); 2 - Adam Johnson (Cat); 3 - Gary Gengel (Cat)
Semi Pro 600
1 - Dan Benham (Cat); 2 - Judnick; 3 - Aaron Christensen (Pol)
1 - Brent Gilyard (Cat); 2 - Corey Suess (Pol); 3 - Wade Bemmels (Pol)
1 - Matthew Kern (Doo); 2 - Antone Judnick (Cat); 3 - Joshua Hevirland (Doo)
1 - Phil Johnson (Doo); 2 - Trevor Lindblom (Doo); 3 - Amanda Johnson (Cat)
1- Chad Bauerly (Doo); 2 - Kyle Roessler (Cat); 3 - Bobby Lepage (Doo)
1 - Amy Jo Luberda (Cat); 2 - Heather Olson (Pol); 3 - Missy Blank (Doo)
1 - Gary Wylot (Yam); 2 - Robert Kath (Cat); 3 - Todd Hammerlund (Ski/Yam)
1 - Alex Roufs; 2 - Nathan Miller (Doo); 3 - Antone Judnick (Cat)
1 - Josh Hill (Doo); 2 - Jason Espeseth (Cat); 3 - Alex Roufs
1 - Brett Abrahamson (Cat); 2 - Shea Lingle (Cat); 3 - Andrew Ray
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