Martin, Gulla Crowned Champions At Grand Finale Steve Martin and Ross Martin Win Pro Finals
(Lake Geneva, WI, March 20, 2005) - The Grand Geneva Spa And Resort played host to the World Snowmobile Association Nielsen Enterprises Grand Finale once again and the 2004-2004 Snocross Worldwide Championship points champions were crowned on a weekend which presented a variety of weather conditions. Rain early Saturday morning didn't hurt the huge track the WSA Operations crew had carved out of the hillside at the resort's Mountain Top ski area, but fog on Saturday made visibility challenging. Sunday dawned partly cloudyand mild, with temps in the mid-30 degree Fahrenheit range and racers as well as fans that turned out in droves for the event welcomed the conditions.
TJ Gulla Wins Pro Stock Title for Polaris
Finnish rider and multi-time WSA SWC race winner Tomi Ahmasalo announce at the event that he would not be returning to the United States to race next season. Ahmasalo has decided to remain in Finland in order to spend more time with his family. To honor his commitment to the sport the WSA asked Ahmasalo to ride a final lap of the Lake Geneva track to say goodbye to the fans. Tomi will be missed.
Martin Wins Pro Open, Secures Points Championship
Steve Martin Formula XP-S Ski-Doo) entered the Lake Geneva event some 20 points clear of D.J. Eckstrom who sat in second place in U.S. Air Force Pro Open points. Martin won two of his heats and placed second in another securing the championship with a 27-point lead over Eckstrom. The top qualifier for the final, Martin was clearly excited as the rider introductions took place. When the green flag flew for the 10-lap final Martin did what he's been doing all season and took the holeshot, winning the Camoplast Holeshot Award. Martin had the lead going down the first hill followed by Steve Taylor (Coldwave Ski-Doo) and Robbie Malinoski (Woody's Arctic Cat). Malinoski came off at the bottom of the first downhill allowing Mike Island (Bud Light Ski-Doo) to slot into the third spot followed by Carl Kuster (Coldwave Ski-Doo). On the next lap Island passed Taylor at the bottom of the same hill to take over the second spot. The teammates Island and Martin began to pull away slowly from the pack and they were solidified in the 1-2 positions by the halfway point followed by Taylor, Kuster and Justin Tate (Hentges Racing Polaris). On lap eight Taylor fell out of the running order allowing Kuster to slot into third place. While Island pressured his teammate and admitted after the race he was hoping for the win, Martin held on to make it a clean sweep for him in the Pro Open class taking top qualifier, winning the Camoplast Holeshot Award, along with the final and the points championship. Rookie Pro Martin Wins Pro Stock Having secured both Semi-Pro points championships before coming into Lake Geneva, Ross Martin (Pure Polaris Fuels & Lubricants Polaris) moved up to race the U.S Air Force Pro Stock class. While it went unsaid Martin would do well as a Pro, no one expected him to win the final at Lake Geneva, but that's just what he did. D.J. Eckstrom (Red Bull/Amsoil Polaris) was the top qualifier but he sat in third place in points after heat racing. Robbie Malinoski (Woody's Arctic Cat) was within striking distance of the championship just 19 points behind T.J. Gulla (TEAM Industries Polaris) who held the points lead. As the riders lined up for the final Ross Martin jumped the start and was sent to the back row. When the green flag finally flew Steve Martin (Formula XP-S Ski-Doo) grabbed the holeshot and had took the lead as the field negotiated the treacherous run down the first hill with Mike Island (Bud Light Ski-Doo) and Eckstrom slotting in behind him. Points leader Gulla was caught in the pack and Malinoski got tangled at the top of the hill was one place ahead of the last place. Steve Martin set a blistering pace but Ross Martin was slicing through the pack and by the halfway point he had caught and passed Island for second, then he passed Steve Martin on the first downhill to take the lead. He proceeded to put distance between his sled and the second place sled of Steve Martin, proving there was no doubt he belonged in the Pro class. Martin took his first Pro win followed by Steve Martin and Eckstrom, who passed Island for third with two laps to go.
Veteran racer Gulla capped off his best season ever by winning the Pro Stock points championship.
Strege Claims Pro Vet Championship
Pro vet racer Jesse Strege (Christian Brothers Racing Arctic Cat) ended the season in style, winning the Sno-X Magazine Pro Vet points title at Lake Geneva. Strege took the holeshot in the final and led the first half of the race but Earl Reimer (Boss Racing Polaris) passed him and took the win. Jim Keillor (Keillor Enterprises Polaris) finished third behind Strege.
Thul Wins Pro Women Final, Secures Points Title
Julie Thul stood atop the podium after taking victory in the Parts Unlimited Pro Womens class with tears in her eyes. Not only did she win the race, she won the Pro Women points title, reason enough to show some emotion. Thul held off Sarah McQuestion (Ski-Doo) and Victoria Hawley Goodwin Auto Ski-Doo) to take the win. Hawley had the points lead headed into the event at Lake Geneva but Thul bested her in heat racing and the victory put her nine points over the top.
Julie Thul Wins Pro Womens Season Title
Martin, Bender Win Semi-Pro Finals
Ross Martin (Pure Polaris Fuels & Lubricants Polaris) capped off an amazing Semi-Pro season by winning the Fox Shocks Semi-Pro Open final on Saturday at Lake Geneva. Martin dominated the entire season and secured the points championship the race before at Park X. However, C.W Sirjane (Formula XP-S Ski-Doo) was the top qualifier and Martin had to go through the LCQ to get in the final. Martin took the win from the back row. In Amsoil Semi-Pro Stock Brett Bender (TEAM Industries Polaris) capped off one of his best racing weekends ever by taking the win. Bender was the top qualifier in the class and got the holeshot in the final. Phil Johnson (Kowalski Racing Ski-Doo) ran in second place until his rear suspension broke and he dropped out. Cory Davis (Arctic Cat) inherited the spot followed by Matt Piche (MP Racing Arctic Cat). Bender led flag to flag, taking the win followed by Davis and Piche.
Champions Crowned At Nielsen Enterprises Grand Finale Banquet
The World Snowmobile Association Snocross Worldwide Championship points champions were crowned at the Awards Banquet after the races at the Grand Geneva Spa and Resort. Points results are as follows: Pro Open
1. Steve Martin
2. Carl Kuster
3. D.J. Eckstrom
4. Robbie Malinoski
5. Tomi Ahmasalo
2. D.J. Eckstrom
3. Robbie Malinoski
4. Steve Martin
5. Tomi Ahmasalo
1. Jesse Strege
2. Jim Keillor
3. Ray Osowski
4. Marty Melby
5. Kirk Hibbert
2. Victoria Hawley
3. Kylie Abrahamson
4. Amanda Wolfe
5. Jessica Cameron
1. Ross Martin
2. C.W. Sirjane
3. Phil Johnson
4. Brett Bender
5. Jerrod Fahmer
1. Ross Martin
3. Brett Bender
4. Phil Johnson
For complete race results go to www.wsaracing.com