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I-500 Cross-Country Recap

The USXC I-500 cross-country race concluded last Saturday at the finish in Bemidji, Minn. After three days and 500 miles of ditch, river and woods, Team Arctic racers notched 11 of 15 class wins, which is pretty remarkable.

Due to a couple untimely mechanical issues, the team didn’t capture the overall win.

Alas… that’s racing.


Team Arctic's Savannah Landrus wins USXC I-500. Photo by

Despite dislocating her knee and having to knock it back in place on Day Two, Savannah Landrus would not be denied and rallied to win the Pro Women and Expert 600 Limited classes.


Team Arctic's Nicholas Nyquist wins Jr. 14-17 at USXC I-500

Nicholas Nyquist is having an amazing season in Junior 14-17, and he kept it going by winning the big one.


Team Arctic's Jon Arneson wins the old dude's class at USXC I-500

I can’t count how many times Jon Arneson has won the “aged dudes” class in cross-country and at the I-500. Let’s just go with 190 times, okay? He did it again in Plus 50 this year.


Team Arctic's Gabby Hallstrom wins Jr Girls 14-17 at USXC I-500

Gabby Hallstrom rode a perfect, clean race to win Junior Girls 14-17…


Team Arctic's Jesse Hallstrom wins Jr 10-13 at USXC I-500

…while her brother Jesse made just one mistake (resulting in windshield ejection), yet he ALSO won his class, Junior 10-13.


Team Arctic's Pete Mattison jams to the vintage win in USXC I-500

The Mattison Racing clan was out in full force at the I-500, with something like 70 different brothers, nephews and such competing under their banner. And of course they’re all finishing on the podium. Pete Mattison won the Vintage 50 Plus class of Dale Mattison.


Team arctic's Jim Mattison wins Classic IFS at I-500.

Meanwhile, Jim Mattison rallied to win the Classic IFS class on this mind ZR.

I have to apologize to Mark Young and Gunner Arlaud, two other Team Arctic class winners who were so dang fast that my Nikon couldn’t even see them. Sorry guys.


Sam Braaten pilots a Phazer to the win in USXC I-500

I love that 50-something Sam Braaten had waited a lifetime to race the I-500, then proceeds to win the Classic IFS 50 Plus class ON A PHAZER!!!



Team Arctic Cat's Zach Herfindahl at the USXC I-500. Photo by

Onto the Pro class, where defending champ Zach Herfindahl appeared poised to win his second in a row after setting the fastest time on the first day. Alas, a broken rear heat exchanger resulted in a burndown and DNF on day 2.


Team Arctic's Wes Selby had heartbreak at the USXC I-500

Wes Selby was looking good to win himself after surviving a last-one-out start on day one that meant dealing with terrible snowdust. He was on the gas at the beginning of day 2 until a hole rubbed through a coolant line on his sled. He caught it before the engine burned down, found enough people who had spare coolant and limped it home. On day three he went for broke and set the fastest time by several minutes. He finished ninth.


Team Arctic Cat's David Brown wins Semi Pro at Pine Lake.

Team Arctic's David Brown wins Semi Pro at USXC I-500. Photo by

Yet another coolant leak, this time suffered by David Brown on the final day. Fortunately his dad was at the fuel stop with a few jugs, so David poured some in and kept ‘er going. The added time meant David missed what was sure to be a top-5 overall, but he did win the Semi Pro class as an AWESOME consolation.


Team Arctic's Ryan Trout finished fourth at the USXC I-500. Photo by

Ryan Trout cruised it in for fourth place overall in the Pro class.


Team Arctic's Ross Erdman finished second at USXC I-500. Photo by

Ross Erdman was on the gas and riding smart. He finished second overall.


USXC I-500 2018 winner Aaron Christensen

I know it’s a color we’re not used to seeing on this site, but I have to congratulate Aaron Christensen for winning his first I-500. Aaron is a class act and a great racer. And while I wish he was riding green, I’m actually happy for him that he won a race that he’d been chasing for so many years.

Thanks for reading.



  1. Cat still got a 2nd overall. I know it’s not Wes or Zach but damn good ride from Ross Erdman… former winner I believe in 2007. Good to see him back in the front on a Cat!

  2. It was fun to watch the start of the I 500 a fan of this race since it’s beginning.. luckily with having the luxury of time (with retirement) I actually was able to to drive to TRF, hang out with Roger and have lunch on Wed get a tour, hang out with some CAT friends and employees get up in the morning and watch the races…a good day! it meant alot to me! next year who knows! stick around for the whole race! thanks everyone for another great CAT memory!

  3. I’ll 2nd that Hep441! Props to Ross for 2nd place and running strong. Keep in mind he did it with a collarbone that’s still on the mend after hitting the deck right before Pine Lake. That’s one tough dude…

    Congratulations as well to the rest of those that participated and helped put on the event.

  4. I was actually liking the fact that there were some sleds other than Arctic Cat’s running well. It’s no good for Arctic to run away with all of these titles every year, even thought I surely do enjoy it. Aaron is a great guy, an he deserves the title at least once! David Brown overcame a few hiccups to win the semi-pro class, it’s a great story, and few work harder than he does. He will be fun to watch I the future.


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