Press Release –
With a winter storm blanketing much of the Midwest and strong Canadian winds blowing in sub-zero temperatures, Team Arctic terrain racers battled to strong wins and near-misses at the first round of the Unites States Cross-Country (USCC) race series in Gonvick, Minn.
D.J. Ekre of Shevlin, MN, fired the first shot with an emphatic win in the Pro Open class aboard his stock 2009 Sno Pro 600.
With a one-lap sprint on a 9.2-mile course consisting of woods and ditch, Ekre put 17 seconds into teammate Brian Dick and placed high expectations for the seven-lap Pro 600 final later in the day.
The Amateur classes showcased the talent and drive of Adam Brandt. Hailing from Moorhead, MN, Brandt notched wins in both Amateur 600 and Amateur Improved 600 and sent a strong message about his title intentions this season.
In the Junior classes, Cole Lian of Thief River Falls, MN, and Timmy Kallock of Oslo, MN, proved fast and consistent, with each rider taking a win.
“Our class wins were impressive considering most guys hadn’t had much seat time prior to the race,” said Team Arctic Race Manager Mike Kloety. “With what we learned at Gonvick and some more time spent testing, I’m confident we’ll see more green sleds in the top podium spot.”
While Team Arctic racers didn’t win every class at Gonvick, their overall top finishes in the premier classes bode well for the remainder of the season. Case-in-point: the outstanding performances in the seven-lap Pro 600 final.
Brian Dick took a heart-breaking second-place despite suffering a worsening shock problem throughout the race. One of the engineers responsible for the Sno Pro 600 race sled, Dick (Thief River Falls, MN) finished just 30 seconds shy of class winner Bryan Dyrdahl despite starting in the last flight and riding without pressure in his ski shocks for an entire lap.
Snocross sensations Ryan Simons and Dan Ebert made the most of their off-weekend by hitting the USCC race to stay sharp and test their endurance. Simons of Camrose, Alberta, made up for an early-race crash with fast lap times and a third place finish, less than 50 seconds out of first place.
Ebert (Lake Shore, MN) posted fast and consistent laps and might have taken the win, but suffered from a grass- and dirt-clogged heat exchanger, resulting in a seized engine on his fifth lap.
Likewise a first-lap crash and a blown drivebelt erased Ekre’s hopes for a second win during the day. He finished ninth, but confident that he has the speed and strength to win the big class at an upcoming race.
The same can be said for Spencer Fett of Frazee, Mn, whose second place in Semi Pro 600 (just 10 seconds out of first place) proves he’s ready to stand atop the podium later this season.
“The Sno Pro 600 race sled has proven to be one of Arctic Cat’s World’s Fastest Snowmobiles. It’s strong, fast and has great handling in cross-country, just like it is in snocross,” said Kloety. “The first race always highlights opportunities for calibration improvements and for riders to rediscover their top race speeds. We’ll use those opportunities to our advantage at the next race in Grafton, N.D., (on Jan. 4, 2009).”
About Arctic Cat – Arctic Cat Inc., based in Thief River Falls, Mn, designs, engineers, manufactures and markets all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and snowmobiles under the Arctic Cat® brand name, as well as related parts, garments and accessories. Its common stock is traded on the Nasdaq National Market under the ticker symbol “ACAT.” More information about Arctic Cat and its products is available on the Internet at www.arcticcat.com.