Photos by Merlin Gray, SnowBikeWorld
West Yellowstone, MT, March 13, 2016
The National Snow Bike MX Series sailed into round 3 at the popular West Yellowstone EXPO winter celebration on Sunday, March 13, 2016, and was sponsored by: Timbersled, Tarantula Tequila, Moto Trax, Fox Suspension, Red Bull, Rekluse, Raptor, HMK, Fly Racing, Western Power Sports, Rockwell Watches, Pro Moto Billet, Fastway Performance, CMX, Mountain West Racing, the West Yellowstone Chamber and Pole Position Raceway.
As is often the case with winter time outdoor events, the weather was marginal at best. Winds gusted throughout the day and at various times, the sky dropped snow, rain and hail, but at least it wasn’t too cold, with temperatures staying somewhere around 35F for most of the afternoon. Thirty-two 32 racers showed up to compete, with around 300 spectators assembled to watch. The wide, 4/10 mile race course was easy to pass on and featured a blend of banked turns and single jumps, and the fastest riders were turning lap times of around 45 seconds. Even with marginal snow, racers later said that this was their favorite track yet in the series.
There were few crashes and zero injuries and this venue provided excellent spectator viewing as well, with a large, raised grandstand area that overlooked most of the circuit.
Sunday’s competition consisted of a series of heats, semis and last chance qualifiers to determine who would race in the A, B, and C mains, (there weren’t quite enough racers to run a D main) later in the day. The day belonged to the always fast, always versatile off road legend, Jimmy Jarrett who easily won his heat and then took the coveted A Main, holding off the young and determined, up and coming snow bike star, motocrosser Colton Davis, who won Round 2 of the series in Minnesota several weeks earlier in his first race ever. Both riders had to pass determined holeshot artist Chaunn McAlister from Northern Idaho who, at age 47, led the first two laps, crashed late in the race and still salvaged a fifth in the ultra fast and competitive A Main, beating riders half his age.
Davis wasn’t the only fast, young, new rider. Harris Huizenger had another solid weekend, taking third in the A Main and South Dakota’s Shayna “No Fear” Lier remained unbeaten and untested, winning the Women’s Main event handily, topping several other fast women including AMA National Hare & Hound talent, Shayla Fulfer, and the rapidly improving Sarah Whipple. Lier also made history by being the first and only woman to ever qualify for an A Main and there she finished in a really solid 8th place. This is her first year on a snow bike and it makes one wonder just how much more speed is in Lier’s tiny frame.
Once again the Jelinek brothers from North Dakota also had a great weekend: Jay took 9th and Chad took 6th in the A Main, and Lee took a solid 2nd in the B Main. Justin Homan from Redmond, Oregon looked smooth and fast, easily winning the B Main and South Dakota’s Gary McNeil easily grabbed the C Main trophy.
Because round four of the series (scheduled for March 19 in Logan, Utah) had to be cancelled due to lack of snow, West Yellowstone awarded 1.5 times points toward the 2016 National Snow Bike MX Series title, (extra points will also be awarded at the fourth and final round). At present there are a number of men who still have a shot at clinching a national title, and several women are also in contention for their championship.
Special thanks are in order to the West Yellowstone Chamber of Commerce, Robbie and Joe (the groomer operators), and Thad Lawrence and the staff with Mountain West Racing. The last round of the National Snow Bike MX Series will be held at the Bogus Basin Ski Resort, 16 miles north of Boise, Idaho on April 16. Bogus is enjoying a terrific snow year with 53 inches of snow on the ground, so there is little danger of any “lack of snow” cancellations for the final round of the 2016 race season. For more information visit: www.flashpointsnowbike.com.