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Race Recap: 2015 USXC Warroad Cross-Country


(3/14/2015)

2015 Team Arctic USXC cross-country race Warroad, MN. Photo by ArcticInsider.com

Last week Team Arctic's Midwest cross-country racers ended their 2015 USXC campaign in Warroad, Minn.

And what a season-ender it was!

With 14 class wins (out of 19 classes) and 39 of 57 podium finishes, the last race of the season mimicked pretty much all of the USXC races this year. A sea of green on the podiums washed whatever uncertainty there was regarding the move to truly stock-based snowmobiles for this season away.

I'd have to do some retrospective math, but my memory says this was as dominant as any XC season in the past decade.

So with sunny skies, warm temps and the relief that comes with the last race of the season, Warroad provided one of those extra-special vibes that was made all the better by another great team performance.

 

Team Arctic Cat's Nathan Sillerud wins in Warroad. Photo by ArcticInsider.com

With two distinct loops for Saturday and Sunday combining lake, ditch and some river (each with enough snow to produce some truly spectacular flight time), Warroad provided what was just the third big-bump XC race of a season hampered by low snow.

Nathan Sillerud is one of the racers who excelled in the ditches of Warroad, winning Expert 85 Improved.

 

Team Arctic Cat's Ross Ilstrup wins in Warroad. Photo by ArcticInsider.com

Ross Ilstrup is another racer who faired better in the rough than on the early season lake events, winning the Trail class.

 

Team Arctic Cat's Hunter Houle wins in Warroad. Photo by ArcticInsider.com

Hunter Houle has stood atop the podium at pretty much every race this season except Thief River Falls. Battling an injured wrist that eventually ended his weekend, he was able to score a win in Jr. 14-17 before the wheels fell off the cart, so to speak.

 

Team Arctic Cat's Savannah Landrus wins in Warroad. Photo by ArcticInsider.com

I'm guessing that if Savannah Landrus makes the jump to Pro Women class next year, she'll battle for victory with Jolene Bute.

At Warroad, Landrus won the Jr. Girls 14-17 class with a faster time than boys!

 

Kawasaki re-enters the cross-country scene. photo by arcticinsider.com

Rumors of Kawasaki reentering the snowmobile business were swirling around the pits in Warroad. Then things got really interesting when the wraps came off and this Invader emerged from the mist, piloted by a rider wearing a Polaris helmet.

I have to admit; Kawasaki makes the good times roll.

 

Team Arctic Cat's Mike Dirkman wins in Warroad. Photo by ArcticInsider.com

A nice battle played out all weekend in the Aged-Past-40 class between Todd Frischmon, Paul Grzadzielewski and Mike Dirkman. In the end, it was Dirkman (above) who took the win.

 

Team Arctic Cat's Blair Herfindahl wins in Warroad. Photo by ArcticInsider.com

Three of the 14 Team Arctic wins at Warroad were scored by a Herfindahl, one of which was this guy, Blair Herfindahl, who achieved the honors in the Jr. 10-13 class.

A whole pile of Jr. boys are moving up to the next age category for next year, including Blair. It's been a blast seeing the progression of these kids, but even more so their hanging out with each other at the races.

 

Team Arctic Cat's Mike Lenarz wins in Warroad. Photo by ArcticInsider.com

Mike Lenarz took the win in I-500, his first of the season. Congrats Mike!

 

Team Arctic Cat's Jolene Bute wins in Warroad. Photo by ArcticInsider.com

Jolene Bute won her second Pro Women's race in a row and third of the season, all of them coming in ditch events. She finished the season only a handful of points from winning the championship.

Much as I enjoy watching Jolene win, I've had even more fun watching the progression of her son, Jordan, in the Expert 85 class. He took second in Warroad.

 

Team Arctic's Matt Feil ALMOST won in Warroad. Photo by ArcticInsider.com

Matt Feil didn't win a class at Warroad (he did get a third in Sport), but he gets a photo this week because I missed getting a photo of him in last week's TRF, where he did take a W.

 

Team Arctic Cat's Brandon Wolter wins in Warroad. Photo by ArcticInsider.com

Blending a sweet mix of speed and style, Brandon Wolter won both Sport 85 and Expert 85 in Warroad. I'm guessing he's planning to move to a 600 ZR next season. If so, I'll venture a guess that he'll be battling for wins.

 

Team Arctic Cat's Ryan Trout wins Semi Pro in Warroad. Photo by ArcticInsider.com

This was Ryan Trout's first season in Semi Pro and on the Christian Brothers Racing team, both of which probably added a lot of pressure to the young, fast racer.

Admittedly someone who prefers ditch to lake races, Trout notched a bunch of top-10 finishes all season, progressively moving up in the results. At Warroad, it all came together and he scored a very, very big win in Semi Pro Stock.

When I saw him after the race, his expression was equal parts relief and joy.

The Semi Pro Stock class is probably the most competitive class in USXC, with five different winners at seven events this season. Finishing in the Top-10 is a huge accomplishment, winning is something extra-special. Congrats, Ryan!

 

Team Arctic Cat's Timmy Kallock wins in Warroad. Photo by ArcticInsider.com

One super-fast Semi Pro racer who didn't win a Stock class this year was Timmy Kallock (although he would have taken the win in TRF had he signed up for it). Kallock did claim wins in Semi Pro Improved, however, including at Warroad.

 

Team Arctic's Wes Selby in Warroad, MN. photo by ArcticInsider.com

In the Pro class, Wes Selby came into Warroad riding a wave of wins in XC and enduro, including a big victory at the TRF 300 a week prior. Only a few points separated him and teammate Zach Herfindahl in the points chase.

Selby was blazing fast in Warroad, taking a second in Open and third in Stock.

 

Arctic Cat's Roger Skime and Wes Selby. Photo by ArcticInsider.com

After the race, Selby was a bit bummed with some calibration decisions he'd made, and he was fired-up about wanting to race again this season and next. If I put a word to it, I'd say he's ending this season hungry.

That's what happens when you get a taste of winning...you want more.

Here he shares a laugh with Arctic Cat's Roger Skime.

 

Team Arctic Cat's Zach Herfindahl wins Warroad. Photo by ArcticInsider.com

Speaking of hungry, Zach Herfindahl came into Warroad having gone nearly two months without winning a Pro Stock final, and he wasn't happy about it.

He was hungry and ready to feast, and his remarkable performance in Warroad reflected it.

I've watched a lot of cross-country races since I started covering them 25 years ago. What I saw of Zach in Warroad was one of those very, very special performances that only happen once in a while. You could just see it in the way he rode, beginning the very first lap on Saturday and continuing throughout the weekend.

The only way I can describe it is when someone is so confident, intent and in a groove that they become an unstoppable force. Nothing was going to stop him, not even a blown belt halfway through the day on Sunday.

If you've seen THIS VIDEO I posted the other day, you know why Zach was not going to be denied at Warroad. It was his weekend.

 

Team Arctic Cat's Zach Herfindahl wins Warroad. Photo by ArcticInsider.com

By winning both Pro Open and Stock, Zach rebounded to take the championship title in each.

Except for the opening race at Pine Lake, Zach and Wes combined to win every Pro Stock race of the season in USXC. That's pretty amazing.

In all, Team Arctic captured 15 of 20 class titles in USXC this season.

Congrats to everyone who competed in USXC this season, and to all the crew, family and friends who support them.

Thanks for reading.

Team Arctic 2015 USXC High Point Champions

Pro Stock: Zach Herfindahl

Pro Open: Zach Herfindahl

Semi Pro: Lance Efteland

Semi Pro Improved: Timmy Kallock

Expert 85: Jeremy Grove

Expert 85 Improved: Jeremy Grove

Masters 40: Mike Dirkman

Sport 85: Brandon Wolter

Trail: Ean Voigt

Vintage: Jesse Watland

Vintage 50 Plus: Gerry Mattison

Classic IFS: Steve Martinson

Jr. Girls 14-17: Savannah Landrus

Jr. 14-17: Hunter Houle

Jr. 10-13: Keaton Black



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