r365whtblkwallpaper
SubscribeBanner
SnoX365

Race Update – USXC I600 – Day 1: Winnipeg to Thief River Falls, MN

woodys-sidebar-banner_ridex365_300x100-01

By Aaron Kennedy

After a several decade long hiatus, today will go down in the books as the day international racing returned to the cross-country community. While Mother Nature spoiled attempts by the USXC to put this race on the last two years, the I600 kicked off at 8:30AM this morning with ~80 sleds leaving the line to start their 500+ mile journey towards Bemidji, MN. Today’s route took participants through ditches lining the Lord Selkirk Highway from Winnipeg, MB to the border town of Pembina, ND. After gassing up for the first time,  racers then rode southeast through a number of small towns including New Folden, MN which was the 2nd gas stop of the day.  While most of the 2nd leg was also ditch racing, the final leg from New Folden to Thief River Falls, MN featured a good mix of ditch and river and was similar to routes used for previous I500s run by USXC.

Like historical races, this I-600 is proving to be a battle of attrition.  Although racers were presented with a cloudless sky and fresh snow across the course, they also had to contend with a starting temperature of -25F.  Ditches that appeared wide open (in Canada) were not necessarily ‘easy’ with a number of harder drifts and rough spots to contend with.  Not surprisingly, the day would prove to be the end for a number of riders.  Most notably, Timmy Kallock (#8) who has had a strong season on board his new Ski-Doo called it quits in Pembina, ND after his hand warmers failed (and led to frostbite) during the first leg. Women’s point leader Lydia Sobeck (#144) is also out after taking a hard tumble during this stretch.  Other (reported) riders out of the race include:

  • Jared Jereczek (#213, Pro 600 / Semi Pro 600)
  • Ean Voight (#48, Pro 600 / Semi Pro 600)
  • Drew Goskey (#170, Semi Pro 600 / Sport 600 Stock)
  • Kevin Cisaroski (#72, Sport 600 Stock)
  • Cade Hayford (#216, Sport 600 Stock)
  • Koleton Nichols (#150, Sport 600 Stock)
  • Gerry Mattison (#110, Masters 50+)
  • Paul Veert (#175, Masters 50+)

Based on offical times, the current pro leader is Re Wadena (#52) followed by Ross Erdman (#311) and Dillan Dohrn (#5).  Rounding out the top 5 are Zach Herfindahl (#312) and Chad Lian (#99), with less than 3 minutes separating the top 5. Re’s performance is notable as he moved up from the 16th spot off the line.  Tomorrow, racers will complete loops around Thief River Falls, MN leaving the line in reverse order. The I-600 will conclude on Friday with riders traveling from Thief River Falls to the checkered flag in Bemidji.

 

Festivities kicked off with a prerace meeting Tuesday evening. Approximately 40% of the field was new to the circuit and received a quick lesson on USXC signage.

Festivities kicked off with a prerace meeting Tuesday evening. Approximately 40% of the field was new to the circuit and received a quick lesson on USXC signage.

Tory Syverson learns that applying decals in sub -20F temperatures is not fun...

Tory Syverson learns that applying decals in sub -20F temperatures is not fun…

The starting grid for the 2017 USXC I600.

The starting grid for the 2017 USXC I600.

Zach Herfindahl quickly took the lead position in the field after starting 6th position.

Zach Herfindahl quickly took the lead position (in the field) after starting in 6th position. Zach currently sits in 4th place, 1:58 behind the leader.

Justin Tate navigating some Canadian ditch.

Justin Tate navigating some Canadian ditch.

Brian Brodehl gets a thumbs up at the border crossing.

Brian Brodehl gets a thumbs up at the border crossing.

Garet Grzadzielewski (#12) becomes legendary as he enters North Dakota.

Garet Grzadzielewski (#12) becomes legendary as he enters North Dakota.

Dalton Fredrickson (#334) made it to Pembina sans a #4, a visor, and a crack-free windshield.

Dalton Fredrickson (#334) made it to Pembina sans a #4, a visor, and a crack-free windshield.

Justin Winkler rides down Main Street in Pembina, ND- just one of the many small towns racers passed through today.

Justin Winkler rides down Main Street in Pembina, ND- just one of the many small towns racers passed through today.

Riders snaking their way across the Red River.

Riders snaking their way across the Red River.

Mark Cobb is attempting to run all three days on his vintage Indy.

Mark Cobb is attempting to run all three days on his vintage Indy.