BESSEMER - With a big chill blanketing the Upper Peninsula's famous Big Snow Country, Tucker Hibbert remained undefeated on the AMSOIL Championship Snocross tour – overcoming a back row start (due to a false start penalty) to win the series' third round in convincing fashion over second place Ross Martin and Kody Kamm in third.
Finishing fifth was homeboy Kyle Pallin of Ironwood.
Friday's support Pro Lite class at Blackjack would go to Andrew Lieders.
The event continues all day today at Blackjack with the Pro Open final set for 9:10 p.m.
Qualifying in the No. 1 position on Friday, Hibbert cruised to two heat race wins and, by virtue of his first/first effort, selected the outside gate pick. But that'd all be for naught as Hibbert would false start (prompted by Kamm, the No. 2 qualifier) and ISOC officials sent both to the back row for the start of the night's final race.
Said Kamm on the podium (when questioned of the incident at the start): "Me and Tucker jumped at the same time."
Pulling the Holeshot in the main would be Pro Open class racer Jake Scott.
Last year's overall AMSOIL Championship Snocross Pro Lite champ, Scott led the race through the first couple laps before making a mistake on a tricky uphill section turn, running his Polaris out wide into the fresh deep snow on Blackjack's front ski run.
Martin, who was on Scott's tail heading into the turn, would appear to have the hand in taking over the lead, but Hibbert darted seemingly from out of nowhere (passing seven sleds in the first lap) on the inside and led Martin up the hill. It would be a lead Hibbert would never relinquish.
"I thought I was going for the lead and got snuck under," said Martin, kind of half laughing on the podium. "He (Hibbert) just took me by surprise."
Battling frigid (2 degrees at race time) temperatures and chocking snow dust that settled above the track for the entire race, Hibbert put his head down and rode his typical consistent, fast and, most importantly, mistake-free 10 laps.
And when he and Martin got past Scott, Kamm did as well and the three would separate from the rest of the pack.
"It was a gnarly race," said Hibbert, who is now one race away from tying Blair Morgan's all-time professional snocross premier class win record of 84 victories. "I was able to make up a bunch of places in the first couple of turns, but man, that was tough race. The conditions were brutal and I was just glad when it was over."
With tons of fresh soft snow covering a layer of boilerplate manmade snow, Hibbert said that the chance of catching an edge in an ice rut was high.
Out front Hibbert would ride with caution, not putting a much of a lead on the rest of the pack as he did in Duluth, MINN., the previous weekend. Hibbert took the checkers ahead of Martin, who was 4.5 seconds in front of Kamm.
Tim Tremblay, the 2012 ACS Pro Open overall champion, would make some amends for having to qualify for the main through the LCQ at Blackjack by placing a hard-earned 4th.
Blackjack Friday Pro Open results
1. Tucker Hibbert Monster Energy/Arctic Cat 68 Arctic Cat Pelican Rapids, MN
2. Ross Martin Judnick Motorsports 837 Polaris Burlington, WI
3. Kody Kamm Hentges Racing 53 Polaris Kenosha, WI
4. Tim Tremblay Amsoil/Air Force/Rockstar 11 Ski-Doo Ste Jeanne D'Arc, Quebec
5. Kyle Pallin Team LaVallee 324 Polaris Ironwood, MI
6. Mike Bauer Jess Racing 717 Arctic Cat Westminster, MA
7. Justin Broberg Hentges Racing 168 Polaris Mukwonago, WI
8. Adam Renheim Boss Racing 311 Ski-Doo Lima,
9. Robbie Malinoski Amsoil/Air Force/Makita 4 Ski-Doo Stacy, MN
10. Iain Hayden Rockstar Energy Polaris 93 Polaris Chatsworth, Ontario
11. Cody Thomsen Arctic Cat 62 Arctic Cat Nisswa, MN
12. Levi LaVallee Team LaVallee 108 Polaris Longville, MN
13. David Joanis Royal Distributing/Christian Brothers Racing 115 Arctic Cat Cochrane (Kok rane),
14. Jake Scott Team LaVallee 42 Polaris Port Jefferson Station, NY
15. Logan Christian Christian Brothers Racing / Drift 43 Arctic Cat Fertile, MN
Pulling the holeshot and leading the Pro Lite field on Friday night to the top of Blackjack's centerpiece ski run, Lieders, the No. 3 qualifier, was on a mission to make up for what he felt was a rather poor showing at Duluth.
"I can't thank Levi (LaValle) and his crew enough for bringing me on board this year. We struggled in Duluth and I'll admit it a lot of it was me," said Lieders. "But I'm glad we could get up here tonight and I hope we can carry this momentum."
Blackjack Friday Pro Lite results
1. Andrew Lieders Team LaVallee/Lieders Racing 857 Polaris Colby, WI
2. John Stenberg Team Bauerly Racing 259 Ski-Doo Lofsdalen,
3. Andrew Carlson CARLSON MOTORSPORTS 151 Polaris Big Lake, MN
4. Marcus Johansson Carlson Motorsports 227 Polaris Ostersund,
5. Corey Watkinson Watkinson Motorsports, Arctic Cat 173 Arctic Cat Port Carling, Ontario
6. Corin Todd Leighton Motorsports 136 Polaris Otego, NY
7. Filip Eriksson Team Yngvesson 423 Arctic Cat lycksele, Lycksele
8. Kevin Wallenstein Ingles Performance 122 Ski-Doo Cadillac, MI
9. Zak Mason LEIGHTON MOTORSPORTS 863 Polaris Gaylord, MI
10. Travis Muller Warnert Racing 436 Ski-Doo Windom, MN
11. Trevor Leighton Leighton Motorsports 931 Polaris Eagle, ID
12. Korbyn Anderson Team Anderson Racing 179 Ski-Doo Allenton, MI
13. Jordan Kraus Relentless Racing 105 Polaris Osage, MN
14. Chase Rosemeyer Team Bauerly Racing 675 Ski-Doo Chippewa Falls, WI
15. Dylan Hall Royal / Hall Racing 421 Ski-Doo Ayr, Ontario