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.
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.
Nicholas Nyquist is having an amazing season in Junior 14-17, and he kept it going by winning the big one.
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.
Gabby Hallstrom rode a perfect, clean race to win Junior Girls 14-17…
…while her brother Jesse made just one mistake (resulting in windshield ejection), yet he ALSO won his class, Junior 10-13.
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.
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.
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!!!
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.
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.
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.
Ryan Trout cruised it in for fourth place overall in the Pro class.
Ross Erdman was on the gas and riding smart. He finished second overall.
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.