Fresh off its successful performance at the Soo I-500, the Bunke Racing team headed to Walker, Minn., for the USCC Chase On The Lake Walker 100 this past Sunday, February 13.
Race day saw temperatures pushing 40-degrees Fahrenheit and the sun was trying to bust out all day making for a pleasant day of racing. USCC laid out an 18-mile course on Leech Lake that wound around Walker Bay, taking riders across the lake and along shorelines and into bogs. It was a fun course for the riders and a challenging one for the teams when it came to sled setup.
“These types of courses are tough because there is such a mix of rough stuff and ice,” said Gabe Bunke. “Setup ends up being a compromise between speed for the ice and suspension for the bumps.”
The day started with a two-lap Pro Open race and Bunke tackled the course with a time of 35:37.910, good enough for 6th place. Bobby Menne IV logged a two-lap time of 36:17.806 in Semi-Pro 600 Improved, good enough to put him on the podium in third place.
With solid results already posted, the team lined up for the Pro 600 and Semi-Pro 600 race later in the day. The Pros were set to run five laps with a fuel stop and Semi-Pros were down for three laps, no fuel stop.
Bunke used a solid race strategy to keep his Polaris IQ600R at the front of the pack and finished 9th, posting a five-lap time of 1:30:51.933. Menne put in another podium performance in Semi-Pro posting a three-lap time of 54:08.111, good enough for another third place.
“The course was challenging since it was such a mix of terrain, but that made it really fun,” said Menne. “We had a really good setup and I just kept pushing until the end. Third place is good, but I’ll be looking to win next weekend.”
The Walker 100 went on as scheduled despite the passing of USCC founder and President Pat Mach a little over a week prior to the race.
“Pat was a good friend of mine so this race was tough for me mentally since it was so soon after Pat’s funeral,” said Bunke. “But I know he would have wanted us to go racing and that’s what we did.”
Next up for Bunke Racing is the USCC Red Lake 75, February 19, and the Red Lake 100, February 20, in Red Lake, Minnesota. For more info on Bunke Racing visit www.bunkeracing.com. Follow Bunke Racing on the team’s Facebook fan page.