Iain Hayden put Team Rockstar Energy Polaris Racing in the winners circle at Round 1 of the CSRA Snowcross Nationals at Calabogie Ski Resort in Ottawa, ON this past weekend.
Hayden, showing true championship form, blitzed his way to take the overall win in the Pro Open class, and along with it the points lead in the title hunt.
Despite the two days of rain leading up to the event, the Calabogie organization still managed to lay down plenty of snow in order to present Canada’s top sled drivers with a national caliber racetrack both Saturday and Sunday.
On Saturday, Hayden proved unbeatable in both his qualifiers taking no prisoners on his way to the checkered flag. In the final, he sped through turn one in third place. He quickly swapped that position for second and then set his sights on the lead.
Taking full advantage of his Polaris IQ’s awesome power, Hayden took command of first place around the halfway point of the race. Victory, however, was denied him when he was hit from behind. This resulted in his sled spinning around and tipping over. Undaunted, Hayden quickly up-righted his slightly damaged machine and was able to resume the race in second place, thanks to the huge gap he had on third place.
On Sunday, Hayden recorded a repeat performance of day one handily nailing down first place in both his qualifiers. In the final, he again installed himself in the lead and, without any incidents to mar his progress this time, took it all the way to the finish line.
“I’d like to thank the crew for their great work behind the scenes, making sure my IQ gave me the handling and power I needed to make it a successful weekend. Starting off the season in the winners circle is certainly the way to go,” said Hayden. “I’m quite happy with the way things turned out despite losing first place in Saturday’s final due to another driver’s error. But it is what it is. In the heat of battle anything can happen. Sometimes it’s to your advantage and sometimes it’s not.”
For Hayden’s teammate, Lee Butler, Round 1 of the CSRA 2010-2011 Pro Open points chase proved to be a less memorable occasion. Starting issues and coming to grips with the ultra smooth track kept the reigning champion from performing at his best.
Still, Butler did what he had to do to qualify logging 3-4 results on Saturday. He then went on to secure a noteworthy fifth place finish in the final. On Sunday, he proved to be more on top of his game, recording 2-2 qualifying results.
In the final, a reborn Butler grabbed the holeshot with Hayden in hot pursuit. Unfortunately, while vying for position, the teammates came together with the end result being Butler ejected from his sled. The crash, which took its toll on Butler’s Rockstar Energy Polaris IQ, saw him unable to continue the race.
“On Saturday I struggled mostly with the track. I guess you could say it proved to be my main competition, as a lot of my energy went into finding my groove. Sunday looked like it was going to be a much better day,” said Butler. “I felt I had the track dialed in and my sled was running perfectly. But then in the final Iain and I made contact coming around the top of a hill. We were both kind of surprised because we didn’t see each other until it was too late.”
On Monday morning, December 6, on their way home Team Rockstar Energy Polaris Racing stopped at nearby Black’s Corners Polaris in Carlton Place, ON, which is having an Open House promotion all week long. Team owner Andre Laurin noted it was the perfect occasion for a meet-and-greet and to put the Rockstar Energy Polaris Racing state-of-the-art team truck and competition sleds on display.