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LAKE GENEVA, Wis., (March 17, 2018) – Day two of the three-day event is in the books getting the stage ready for the grand finale. The final round of the season will bring the Pro Open division down to the wire to determine the season champion. In the Pro Lite division, Aki Philaja has established enough of a points lead to put the championship comfortably in his hands.
Two rounds of heat races saw Jake Angove, Travis Muller, Nickolas Lorenz and Daniel Benham take heat wins in round one. Round two of the heats went to Pihlaja, Marcus Ogemar Hellgren, Andrew Lieders and Martin Moland.
Several riders having to run the LCQ to transfer, where the top three were Travis Muller, Marcus Ogemar Hellgren and Danny Poirnier.
The final race included 15 riders battling it out for seven laps. Off the line at the green, Pihlaja rocketed up the hill to take the Stud Boy Holeshot. Entering the Fabick Cat Corner, Pihlaja almost lost the sled, opening the door for Angove to take the early lead, followed by Benham and Lieders. Pihlaja was able to recover the sled, but sat deep in the field in 11th place.
Halfway through the race, Benham fell back several positions after going off the course, putting Lieders and Maxime Taillefer in podium positions. While Angove continued to extend his lead of 11 seconds, Taillefer and Lieders battled for second. Daniel Benham was able to recover one position and began to challenge Lorenz for fifth, eventually passing and moving in to fourth to finish the race.
Up front, Angove would go on to take the win after leading flag-to-flag. Taillefer made a hard charge on the last lap to pass Lieders for second. As they came down the Polaris hill for the final lap, Lieders lost control of the sled, going off course and giving Moland the final podium spot. However, Molan would later be DQ’ed, which gave the points leader third place after an incredible comeback run from 11th.
Nobody anticipated the Pro Open division would come down to the line, where only four points separated first and second. Tim Tremblay has held onto the red plate for most of the season, while Kody Kamm has continually etched away at Tremblay’s lead, putting him in striking distance of the season championship. With bonus points in play again for the heat races, they would not become a factor as both Tremblay and Kamm won both heat races, keeping the points gap level. Tucker Hibbert, sitting third in points, found a second- and third-place finish. Kyle Pallin finished a solid round of heats with a third and second.
The full field of big dogs were the line, including Kamm, Tremblay, Hibbert, Lemieux and Ishoel. The top three qualifiers from the heat races were Petter Narsa in third, Kamm second and Tremblay as the top qualifier.
With the riders on the line and the crowd on its feet, the ISOC starter released the big dogs with the green light. Up the hill and taking the Stud Boy Holeshot was Hentges Racing‘s Kamm, followed by Hibbert, Lincoln Lemieux and Tremblay, in fourth.
Once again, ISOC Officials activated the Joker lap, which required each rider to take the longer path up the third hill at least once throughout the race, which may have been a big factor in the race.
With 10 laps down, Kamm and Hibbert began to checkout from the field at the start of lap two. On the top side of the track, Kamm took the downhill jump, getting off camber and almost losing his sled. He was able to recover while not giving up any ground to Hibbert. Lap after lap the two battled it out for the lead, swapping lines back and forth.
As the laps wound down and with five to go, Tremblay made a pass on teammate Lemieux and moved into a podium spot. Up front, Kamm took the joker lap, while Hibbert decided not to follow, putting him in the lead. Tremblay also took the joker lap, putting Lemieux back into third.
With the white flag in the air, Hibbert, who still had not taken the joker lap, had extended his lead by an additional second each lap, giving him a nearly eight-second lead over Kamm. With the joker lap adding nearly five seconds to the overall lap time, Hibbert’s lead figured to hold up without losing the win to Kamm. Up the final hill, around the top of the track and down the RAM section, Hibbert headed to the checkers to take the win over Kamm by two seconds, followed by Tremblay in third. Adam Renheim took home the Great Performer award on the night for passing the most competitors in the race.
Source: Amsoil Racing