For the second year in a row, the snowmaking staff at Calabogie Peaks Ski Resort pulled off a miracle and created enough snow to accommodate the hundreds of racers who took over the small village of Calabogie for the weekend.
Racing began Saturday morning with the amateur classes and featured a Pro Open Invitational race in the afternoon, giving race fans a first glimpse into what the Pro class has in store for the 2011-2012 season.
From the looks of things, this race season is going to be one of the most exciting ones yet! Fifteen sleds lined up for the start of the Pro Open Invitational and all had their eye on the holeshot, unfortunately only thirteen sleds would make it out of the first corner upright.
#73 Lee Butler and #167 Dave Allard tangled together and were left to separate their sleds as the rest of the field pulled away from them. #93 Iain Hayden (Polaris/Rockstar/OTSFF) took control of the race with the lead followed by #115x David Joanis (Royal Distributing/Rockstar/Skidoo).
Behind Joanis, were both of his Royal Distributing/Rockstar team-mates, #421 Dylan Hall and #202 Joey Sagan making his return to racing following a year off.
With only a few laps left to go, Hayden ended up lapping his team-mate, Butler, who had gone down at the beginning of the race. Butler took advantage of this oppourtunity and followed Hayden as he cut a path through the lapper traffic.
Butler eventually made his way back up to sixth place by the checkered flag. #93 Iain Hayden took the win, #115x David Joanis took second and #421 Dylan Hall finished third.
Sunday’s racing brought out the Pro-Lite class for their Stock and Open races. With nearly 40 racers in the Pro-Lite division, qualifying for the final was a feat of its own.
In the Pro-Lite Stock class, the top 15 racers put on an incredible show for the final, at the checkered flag it was #110 Dex Savage of Quebec with the win. #287 Jeff Sanftenberg took second place ahead of #219 Jamie Byers (Supertrax/Byers Motorsport) in third.
After a short break, the Pro-Lite class was back out for their Open class. In the final it was #217 Sean Macaulay who took the lead off the start. #06x Jeff Brand (TekRider/Prepared Surfaces) was riding strong in second place for the first two laps until he went down hard at the finish line jump, Brand quickly shook it off and re-mounted his sled in a mission to make up lost positions.
Macaulay was holding a comfortable lead in until the second last lap when #307 Michael George of Michigan took a strong charge. George and Macaulay were side by side for the last lap when lappers and yellow flags wreaked havoc on George’s attempts to make the final pass on Macaulay.
At the checkered flag it was #217 Sean Macaulay less than a sled length ahead of #307 Michael George. Making the huge jump up from the Trailsport division and in only his second year racing, #720 Chris Robertson (LIUNA/Dayco/Flying Dutchman Racing) turned some heads when he made his first appearance on the podium in third place.
Although it may be small in size, the Pro Women class definitely has some incredible women in it this year. From Quebec, #112 Jennifer Pare took the overall win for the weekend in the Pro Women division while also qualifying for the Sport 600 final and placing an impressive 11th place.
#989 Wakenda Peters (Arctic Cat/First Nations Motorsports) took second place in the Pro Women and also made it to the final in Sport 600 on Saturday finishing 13th place. #194 Ashley Poulin, who competes in the Sport Women division, tried her hand in Pro Women this weekend and was able to grab a third place overall finish.
The packed crowd was on their feet for the final and most anticipated race of the weekend, the Pro Open Final. Taking the holeshot was #115 David Joanis, but Joanis wasn’t able to pull away from the pack quite yet.
#11 Katejun Coonishish put up a fight for the lead at the beginning of the race before falling back to fourth place. Last year’s Pro Open Champion, #93 Iain Hayden, held on to second place yet lost sight of the leader, Joanis.
At the end of the race it was a Rockstar Podium with #115 David Joanis taking the win and the Capital Cup, followed by #93 Iain Hayden in second place. #202 Joey Sagan made an incredible return to the racing circuit putting himself on the podium with a third place finish.
The ‘Advanced Roofing’ Holeshot Award gave racers in select amateur classes a chance to win over $1,000 worth of cash prizes by making it through the first corner before anyone else in their final race.
Some of the winners included #828 Benjamin Vrij in the Sport 600 class, #211 Blake Taylor in Junior 2, #637 Mitch McNair in Trailsport 600, #819 Colton Barnett in Junior 1 and #125w Drew Wiggins in Junior F1.
Racers will take a break over the holidays and resume racing on January 14-15, 2012 in Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec for the International Grand Prix.