Story and photos by Emily Wicklund
The 3rdround of the 2019-2020 USXC season brought racers to Thief River Falls Minnesota; the hometown of Arctic Cat. Mother nature was mostly on our side this weekend with above zero temps and no blizzard conditions. However, the flat light made it hard for riders to see approaches on the course. Slush on the Red Lake river forced crews to change the day 1 course from two 60-mile laps to three 40 miles laps all ditch. Riders started 2 at a time 30 seconds apart this weekend making for some tight racing action. At this event, Juniors also got to compete both day which made for an even more exiting weekend for the young racers.
Arctic Cats David Brown and Polaris’ Ryan Springer were the first two sleds off the line for the weekend. Top runners Christensen (Polaris) and Herfindahl (Arctic Cat) started 5thand 6th. After one 40 mile lap, Springer jumped to the lead on the course and had the fastest lap of 38 minutes and 52 seconds. Brown trailed him with 34:20 and Christensen moving from 6thto 3rdin the opening lap with a 33:54. Semi-Pro rider Marshall Busse (Polaris) also worked his way from the 27thstarting spot to the 14thposition. Defending TRF 250 champion, Zach Herfindahl, had mechanical issues after lap one which caused him not to finish. Since he didn’t finish on day one he was done for the weekend. After the 2ndlap, Springer was still out from with a time of 38:12. Brown trailed a ways behind coming through at 39:33 and Christensen at 39:46. Busse made another leap on lap 2 coming from 14thto 9thwith a time of 40:24. On the final lap Springer came through with the fastest time of 40:22. Brown was the 2ndsled through with Justin Tate (Polaris) getting around Christensen and coming through 3rdwith a time of 40:23. Taylor Bunke made up some time on the final lap coming through 6thwith a time of 41:16.
After day 1 of racing action Ryan Springer (Polaris) was the leading Pro Stock rider with a total time of 1:52:27. Justin Tate (Polaris) was 2ndquick coming across with a time of 1:55:38. Brown (Arcitc Cat) was 3rd(1:55:49), Bunke (Polaris) 4th(1:57:06) and Christensen (Polaris) 5th(1:57:11). Top Semi Pro rider for day 1 was Marshall Busse with a time of 2:00:10. Boe Bunke came in 2nd(2:05:00) and Neil Jakubowski in 3rd(2:05:46) all on Polaris sleds.
On day 2, riders headed south on two 60 mile laps. Dillian Dohrn (Ski-doo) and Matt Feil (Arctic Cat) were the first sleds off the line due to the inverted starting order from day 1. After lap 1, Justin Tate (Polaris) went from the 8thstarting spot all the way up to 1stwith a time of 53:48. Aaron Christensen (Polaris) followed him and went from 9thto 2ndin the opening lap at 53:33. Ryan Springer (Polaris) moved up 5 spots on the track clocking in at 54:14 going from 11thto 6th. Brown (Arctic Cat) trailed him and moved from 12thto 7th(54:50). Semi Pro rider Boe Bunke (Polaris) had an impressive first lap crossing the line in 8thwith a time of 54:52. After lap 1 riders had to take a mandatory fuel stop which will show in lap 2 times. During the final lap, Christensen got around Tate and crossed the line first with the time of 58:30 to finish out his weekend. Tate came through 2ndat 58:39 and Alex Hetteen (Polaris) in 3rd. Springer came through in 4thwith the 3rdfastest time of 59:25.
With an impressive day 1, going into day 2 with over a 3 minute lead on the field, Ryan Springer (Polaris) took the overall win with a total time of 3 hours and 46 minutes. Even though Tate and Christensen had faster times than Springer on day 2, it wasn’t quite enough to get the win. Tate (Polaris) went home with the 2ndover all at 3:48 and Christensen (Polaris) took 3rdwith a time of 3:49. Springer did not enter Pro Open so the pdoium ended up being Tate (Polaris), Christensen (Polaris), and Brown (Arctic Cat). In Semi Pro, Marshall Busse ended the weekend with the win with a time of 4 hours and 1 minute on his Polaris. O’Ryan Bosek took 2ndat 4 hours and 7 minutes on a Polaris. Boe Bunke ended in 3rdafter a hard off after the fuel stop on lap 2. His time was 4:09 also on a Polaris making in a Pro, Semi Pro Polaris sweep at the TRF 250.
For other classes, Savannah Landrus (Polaris) took the win in the Womens class with Lydia Sobeck(Ski-doo) running 3ndbut getting the win in the Sport 600 Improved class. Boe Bunke (Polaris) took the win in the Sport 600 class and Marshall Busse (Polaris) won the Semi Pro Improved class. Cooper Kangas (Arctic Cat) won both the Junior 14-17 class and the Expert 600 Limited classes this weekend. Nick Roehl (Ski-doo) took home the win in the Masters 40 class with Jim Sobeck (Ski-doo) winning the Masters 50+ class. Danika Diesen took another win in the Junior 14-17 girls class on her Arctic Cat. Aiden Johnson made up some time on day 2 and won the Junior 10-13 class on his Arctic Cat. Reese Novacek won the Junior 10-13 girls class on her Polaris. As for the classic classes, Ryan Derrick won the Classic IFS 1980-1998 and John Griep win the Classic IFS 50+ class both on Polaris sleds.
Christensen is currently leading Pro Stock Points with Selby in 2ndand Tate in 3rd. For Pro Open points, Tate is leading with Selby in 2ndand Christensen in 3rd. In the Semi-Pro class, Busse is leading with Dohrn in 2ndand Bosek running 3rd.
Next weekend, USXC has the weekend off while teams travel to the Soo I-500 in Sault Ste. Marie Michigan. Good luck to all USXC teams competing! USXC will be back in action the next weekend February 8thand 9thfor the famous I-500.