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Photo Recap – USXC Park Rapids

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Photos by Aaron Kennedy

In a change of pace, however, the sun was out all weekend, making the cold, windy conditions pleasant.  And although everyone yearns of a return to the ditches, a number of riders took advantage of the cards dealt to us by Mother Nature.  With the SOO 500 next week, some used the weekend to test and fine-tune setups for that event.  As always, Park Rapids was a gracious host, and this time around, the winner of the pro stock class got to take home a custom neon sign!

While Park Rapids, MN was originally designed for a two day terrain and trail race, the lack of snow caused the venue to shift to the nearby Fish Hook Lake for a curvy, 10+ mile course with minimal snow.

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In a change of pace, however, the sun was out all weekend, making the cold, windy conditions pleasant. And although everyone yearns of a return to the ditches, a number of riders took advantage of the cards dealt to us by Mother Nature. With the SOO 500 next week, some used the weekend to test and fine-tune setups for that event. As always, Park Rapids was a gracious host, and this time around, the winner of the pro stock class got to take home a custom neon sign!

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With the day starting with light snow, the pits were bustling with activity. While some Jr. riders received last minute advice, others, such as the current Jr. Girls 14-17 class leader, Savannah Landrus spent the waning moments on the phone- presumably checking out the epic battle between Tucker Hibbert and Kody Kamm the night before! Savannah would go on to take another checkered flag.

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Jumping to the action, Taylor Bunke (#14, Semi Pro Improved) and Jeff Hayford (#211, Sport Open) recorded first-ever wins on the USXC circuit onboard their Polaris AXYS chassis. Fellow Polaris rider Jill Tangen also took the checkered flag, beating out Jolene Bute (#22), and Kelsey Pladson (#496).

#4J

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Part of the race course utilized an ice-runway, allowing for racers to clock speeds over 100mph. During a break between races on Saturday, it also allowed us to get in the air to see a unique view of the action. Jill Tangen tried to take the inside line on a turn, however, Jolene Bute used the marker to close her line, preventing the pass. A short time later, Jill was finally able to get around Jolene.

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The number of turns kept the Jr. riders on their toes- the slightest loss of traction meant an undesired consequence such as facing the wrong way (Calvin Sandberg, #122- a collision was avoided), or taking down a marker (Anson Scheele, #144- he put it back up!). And somehow- the smooth course allowed for Vintage rider Will Young (#754) to lose… a seat?

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Amongst the Pro and Semi Pro riders, the majority of the usual favorites qualified well on Saturday setting them up for the front line on Sunday. In the Semi Pro class, Lance Efteland (#62) passed Dylan Stevens (#525) on the last lap of the final to take the checkered flag- on a borrowed sled no less, as he blew a motor in the Semi Pro Improved class. Zach Herfindahl, once again took a victory- this time in the Pro-Open, closely followed by Arctic Cat riders Jordan Torgerson (#607) and Wesley Selby (#15).

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Displaying the parity across manufacturers, the 10-lap Pro final podium featured three different makes. Shaking some bad luck from earlier this season, Arctic cat rider Wesley Selby grabbed the checkered flag, closely followed by Re Wadena (#52) onboard his Yamaha. Ryan Faust (#537)on his Polaris rounded out the top three.