Robbie Malinoski takes 2011-'12 ISOC AMSOIL Championship Snocross Series Duluth Nat'l Rd. 1
Packed house at the Spirit Mountain opener of the ISOC ACSS is a burner - fans will be back on Sunday for Round 2 of the 20th annual AMSOIL Duluth National
DULUTH, Minn. - Nov. 26, 2011 - Ski-Doo/AMSOIL racer Robbie Malinoski ( born at Humboldt, Saskatchewan won in front of the hometown crowd on Saturday at the opener of the 2011-'12 ISOC AMSOIL Championship Snocross Series, pulling the holeshot in the premier C.J. Ramstad Memorial Cup Pro Open class and leading flag-to-flag in the 20th running of the AMSOIL Duluth National at Spirit Mountain.
And in Pro Light racing Sweden's Petter Narsa (Ski-Doo/Boss Racing) was flawless, qualifying first, pulling the holeshot in the main and winning the opening round of the ACSS' Pro Light class.
Qualifying in the No. 3 spot, Malinoski charged hard out of the gate, nailing the $500 Stud Boy holeshot and pulling last year's Pro Open runner up Ross Martin (Polaris/Judnick Motorsports) and 3rd place Pro Open finisher last year, Tim Tremblay (Ski-Doo/Warnert Racing), to the first turn. Once into some clean air Malinoski ran flawlessly, holding anywhere from a 1.5 to 3-second lead over Martin, with Tremblay roughly 9-seconds back. The trio would finish in the same order, with roughly the same time separation at the checkers (Martin 2nd, Tremblay 3rd).
"Last year was a struggle with everything new and all. This year we hit the ground running," said Malinoski, who placed 4th overall in the ACSS Pro Open last year. "And I'll tell you what - that thing was just CRUISING over the bumps ... and that's a nice place to be.
"It's been a long time coming being up here and it sure feels good to do it."
On the opening lap the three-time defending champion at Duluth and defending Pro Open class champ Tucker Hibbert (Monster Energy/Arctic Cat) dropped off the radar - going from a 4th place start to dead-last 14th place. Off the track in turn three, Hibbert would gather his faculties and put on a solid charge back to 5th place.
In Pro Light action Narsa took command early with the holeshot right up the middle of the field and never looked back, clicking off fast lap after fast lap until he led eventual 2nd place James Johnstad (Polaris/Judnick Motosports) by nine seconds. Battling for the third and final podium spot early in the race, Kaven Benoit (Ski-Doo/Warnert Racing) - who made the main out of the Pro Light LCQ - topped Andrew Carlson (Polaris/Carlson Motorsports).
But it would be Narsa's night as the Swedish great and No. 1 qualifier made the most of the first of his only two stops (also Bessemer, Mich) on the ISOC AMSOIL Championship Snocross Series tour with the convincing win.
"I got used to the Boss Racing/Ski-Doo real fast," said Narsa. "The track here is a lot rougher than back in Sweden, so it was real hard. Thank you so much to everyone at Boss Racing."
Also on Saturday ... In the Sport 2 class Mike Pilotte was 1st, Jacob Blanshan 2nd and Zak Mason 3rd ... In Jr. 16-17 racing Jess Montana was 1st, Wesley Chapman 2nd and Austin St. Cyr 3rd ... Mike Schultz gave an emotion talk on the podium (3rd place, Pro/Am 30 Plus class) on how this would be his final race at Duluth. Schultz was seriously injured in a snocross race and has battled back - on an artificial leg - to greatness in the sport. He's now going to focus all his energies on helping other adaptive athletes ... 40 mph wind gusts forced the cancellation of Saturday's ISOC/ACSS intermission Monster Energy Freestyle Show, but things should be back on schedule for Sunday with those guys ... Levi LaVallee got sent the crowd into a frenzy when he back-flipped his Polaris/Team LaVallee sled onto the flats of the finish line table top - then proceeded to introduce the top five riders!