Saddlemen

Flashpoint Snow-Bike Race Returns to McCall

| 17 February 2012 11:00 am

Flashpoint Snow-Bike Race
McCall Public Golf Course

Story by Ron Dillon
Photos by Ronda Gibbons
McCALL, ID, JAN. 28, 2012

Snow-bike racing returned to the McCall Winter Carnival for the third time on Saturday, January 28, 2012, and was sponsored by Coors, Rockstar Energy, 2Moto, Timbersled, Micky Ray’s Barbecue, Hinson Powersports, ProMoto Billet, Fastway Performance, Fly Racing, Worksmart, Modern Woodman Insurance, and the McCall Winter Carnival itself.

Off the start of the Snow-Bike A main event, Boring, Oregon’s Aaron Knoits (253) leads Sagle, Idaho’s Ray Peck (53); Sandpoint, Idaho, riders Derick Driggs (427) and Wade Burnett (106); Caldwell, Idaho’s Brady Lasher (yellow bike with blank plate); Cody Powell (354) from Nampa, Idaho; and the rest of the pack at this year’s running of the Flashpoint Snow-Bike Race.

Anticipation for the event to return was once again huge. Snow-bikes have been around for a several years, and there are a number of different manufacturers of the kits, which fit most modern dirt bikes with a front ski and small track, allowing them to zip along on snow with incredible speed and agility.

2Moto, a company out of Nampa, Idaho, was the first to create kits, with Timbersled, from Sandpoint, Idaho, following suit. A brand-new company, Frozen Moto, has just been launched in northern Idaho as well, and this helped to create excitement, since the three different manufacturers had never been run together before. Since Flashpoint is the largest snow-bike event in the world, it continues to answer these questions each year: Who is the fastest, and which brand is the best?

The 2009 event was a John Dowd show. (Yes, that John Dowd!). He was clearly the fastest snow-bike racer in the world, riding a 450cc Suzuki with a 2Moto kit attached. In 2011 (the event was not held in 2010), the ever-talented Shane Donaca, riding another 450cc Suzuki with a 2Moto kit, had his day. In 2012, simply put, the event was a full-blown Derick Driggs runaway. The racer from northern Idaho, riding a 450cc KTM fitted with a preproduction SX Timbersled Mountain Horse kit, simply ran away from everyone else, winning the A main event and the prestigious Legends main as well. Driggs was clearly the fastest guy on the track all day.

On race day, nearly perfect weather greeted a crowd of almost exactly 1,000 spectators, and eager racers showed up from all across the West to take a shot at snow-bike racing glory. The twisty, three-quarter-mile track, laid out on the McCall Public Golf Course, featured some rolling jumps and banked turns, which allowed for excellent spectator viewing from almost any point all the way around the track.

Saturday’s competition consisted of four snow-bike classes: Legends, the Trophy A main event, and the Trophy B and C mains, as well as special Snocross classes for kids 12 and under.

Early in the day, Driggs showed that he meant business. His bike stalled in his heat race, putting him half a lap behind. Finally getting the big K-Toom lit, he charged like a wild man, passed everyone, and took the checkered flag first! Spectators and racers alike were impressed with Driggs’ raw speed, and it was no surprise that he checked out with wire-to-wire wins later in the day in both the A main and the Legends main. It can be stated that, at least for now, Driggs is the fastest snow-bike racer on the planet. It will be interesting to see who steps up to challenge him.

Cody Powell (354) battles with Chad Moore (004) in A main-event action in McCall, Idaho.

One possible future challenger to Driggs might be Caldwell, Idaho’s Brady Lasher. Though Lasher is known for his riding talent, he had never even seen a snow-bike until race morning. But he was a natural, and after a half-dozen practice laps on a borrowed 450cc Suzuki with a 2Moto kit, he found his groove and wound up with a third in the A main and a second in the Legends main. The kid looked really, really good.

Last year’s star, former Pro motocrosser and current Pro hillclimber Shane Donaca from Oregon City, Oregon, did grab a perfect holeshot in the Legends main and held the lead for a lap until Driggs angrily sped by. At age 45, Donaca is still very fast, and his solid third in the Legends final proved it.

Boring, Oregon’s Aaron Knoit also had a strong day, taking second in the A main, which allowed him to ride in the Legends final, in which he grabbed sixth. Boise, Idaho’s Ritchie Reynolds looked fast, as usual, in the Legends final until his RM’s clutch blew with a few laps to go.

Timbersled inventor and owner Allen Mangum showed that he knows how to ride as well as invent, as he rode fast enough to qualify for the A main, in which he rode well enough to capture sixth. Everyone was anxious to see how the brand-new Frozen Moto machines would fare, and they did look good. They were clean and nice-looking and looked good on the track, too, finishing first and second in the C main and showing very promising speed.

With no dust or flying debris, and the extremely lean angles, many riders and spectators commented that the racing was some of the best that they’d ever seen, especially in the ferocious A and Legend mains. Spectators also commented that all of the racers, from the slowest to the fastest, were riding much faster and smoother than they did several years ago at the first McCall snow-bike event. Clearly, the machines are getting faster and the riders are getting increasingly skilled at piloting them as well. The other good news was that although there were a number of crashes, the only rider shaken up was Oregon’s Brian Donaca, who high-sided hard in his heat race; but he returned later in the day, bruised but okay. Clearly snow is much better to crash on than dirt.

The kids’ snowmobile racing action was just as intense as the snow-bikes, with numerous lead changes, spills and blown-up machines. Ryder Marolf topped the Kids’ 5-and-under class; Tearin Pierce won the Kids 6-12 Stock class, and Wyatt Marolf powered on to win the Kids 6-12 Modified class. All three were hometown kids from McCall.

The event promoter, Ron Dillon, who also hosts Idaho’s largest motorcycle event, the Big Nasty Hillclimb, said that he is now committed to the Flashpoint event and will continue to hold it each year during the opening weekend of the Winter Carnival at the end of January. He will also continue to offer a class for snow-bikes at the Big Nasty Hillclimb in September! For more information on snow-biking and snow-bike racing, visit www.flashpointsnowbike.com.

McCall Public Golf Course
McCall, Idaho
Results: January 28, 2012

SNOW-BIKE LEGENDS MAIN: 1. Derick Driggs (KTM); 2. Shane Donaca (Suz); 3. Ty Oliver (Hon); 4. Aaron Knoits (Hon).

SNOW-BIKE A MAIN: 1. Derick Driggs (KTM); 2. Aaron Knoits (Hon); 3. Brady Lasher (Suz); 4. Wade Burnett (KTM); 5. Ray Peck (Hsq); 6. Allen Mangum (Kaw); 7. Chad Moore (Kaw); 8. Cody Powell (Suz); 9. Brett Blaser (KTM).

SNOW-BIKE B MAIN: 1. Ray Peck (Hsq); 2. Lance Hallworth (Hon); 3. Ty Oliver (Hon); 4. Nathan Lyda (Suz); 5. Lynn Hodges (Hon); 6. Daniel Spackman (Suz).

SNOW-BIKE C MAIN: 1. Jeremy Deming (Yam); 2. Jimmy Reed (Suz); 3. Peter Niranen (Yam).

120 MINI SNOWMOBILE STOCK (0-5) MAIN: 1. Ryder Marolf (Pol); 2. Lily Pierce (Pol); 3. Jordan Hausman (Pol).

120 MINI SNOWMOBILE STOCK (6-12) MAIN: 1. Tearin Pierce (Pol); 2, Ken Zibeumeller (Pol); 3. Jordan Hausman (Pol).

120 MINI SNOWMOBILE MODIFIED (6-12) MAIN: 1. Wyatt Marolf (Pol).

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Category: Ice Racing, Off-Road, Regional

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