Press Release –
Polaris snocross racer Levi LaVallee made Winter X Games history on Sunday by becoming the first competitor to win medals in four different snowmobile disciplines when he won the gold medal in snowmobile freestyle.
It was the second gold medal of Winter X Games 12 held at Aspen, Colorado, for the 25-year-old Polaris IQ® Race Sled pilot from Longville, Minnesota.
Plus, he and gold medal-winning skier Sarah Burke each won a new 2008 Jeep Liberty for being named Athletes of the Games.
On Friday, January 25, LaVallee won the gold in the first-ever Snowmobile Speed & Style competition, which combined racing on a snocross-styled course with performing freestyle tricks off jumps.
In 2004 he won the gold medal in Hillcross, which had competitors racing up a mountain slope, and in 2006 he earned the silver medal in snocross.
Fellow Polaris racer Joe Parsons earned the silver medal in Snowmobile Freestyle, and Polaris snocross star Dennis Eckstrom took home the bronze medal in snocross on Saturday, January 26.
As a result, Polaris racers captured six of the nine X Games 12 medals available in Winter X Games 12.
LaVallee Goes 2 for 3
LaVallee headed to Aspen hoping to make history by winning three gold medals. He won the gold in the first event, Snowmobile Speed & Style, and won his first snocross moto to reach the final. But he got bucked off his sled while landing off a jump in the snocross final and could only manage a sixth-place finish.
In the final snowmobile event, Snowmobile Freestyle, Parsons was the top qualifier, followed by Polaris racer Daniel Bodin and LaVallee. Heath Frisby rounded out the top four who advanced to the medal round.
LaVallee beat Bodin 86.66-83.66 in one semi-final and Parsons advanced with an 84-63.66 win over Frisby, who went on to claim the bronze medal.
In the final, LaVallee went first and sped from ramp to ramp to pile up as many tricks as possible. His clean, fast run earned him a score of 87.66. Parsons followed with a series of soaring, extremely high, well-delivered tricks, but he fell just short with a score of 87.33, giving LaVallee the gold.
At the completion of the X Games on Sunday night, LaVallee and skier Burke were named Athletes of the Games. Burke won her second-straight gold in Women’s Skiing SuperPipe, and she and LaVallee each won a 2008 Jeep Liberty.
Eckstrom Runs Strong in Snocross
In Saturday night’s 25-lap snocross final, Eckstrom emerged from the first-corner logjam and settled into second place for much of the race. He was eventually passed, but held off all challenges to earn a podium position and bronze medal.
Eckstrom’s showing reflects the greatly improved season he is enjoying compared to last winter. He entered the 2006-2007 WPSA snocross season full of optimism, but never got untracked enough to compete for season points titles. This winter has been a different story as he is currently third in Pro Open points and second in Pro Super Stock points.
With five events remaining on the WPSA National schedule, Eckstrom is in excellent position to contend for both Pro-class season points titles.
Polaris Crowds the Podium
As they have throughout the WPSA season, Polaris racers claimed the lion’s share of podium positions at the X Games.
In Snowmobile Speed & Style, LaVallee was joined by fellow Polaris racers Sam Rogers (silver medal) and Parsons (bronze). Eckstrom captured the bronze in snocross, and LaVallee (gold) and Parsons (silver) medaled in Snowmobile Freestyle.
The next race for the Polaris snocross racers is the WPSA’s Eastern Championship, which will be held February 8-10 in Vernon, New York.