Hillclimb a Challenge!

February 24, 2020

The Ojibwa Casino WINTERNATIONALS Snowmobile Hillclimb proved to be as much of a challenge as the MASTERS predicted.  The MASTERS is an acronym for Mid America Snow and Terrain Expert Racers, the sanctioning body of the Hillclimb.

Of the 200 attempts to climb Whealkate Bluff in South Range, only 35% registered a time at the top of the steep hill.

“After we had our Officials and some of the hillclimbers set up the gates on Friday, we anticipated that the success ratio of this hillclimb, as compared to the MACH (Mid America Championship Hillclimb) on Feb. 2nd would be a lot lower,” explained Chris Crosby, MASTERS Official. “Up until last winter we only had 3 gates.  Last winter and at the MACH we had 5 gates.  For the WINTERNATIONALS we went to 6 gates.”

The hillclimbers had to go around all 6 gates without hitting a gate.  Then at the top of the hill is what is called, ‘the Wall.’  The Wall is a 15 foot steep hill where the finish line timing system is set up.

The challenge of the hill was evident when the top 2 hillclimbers from the MACH failed to make the hill during their runs in the classes and for the featured ‘King of the Hill’ shoot-out.  The Ojibwa Casino Pro Stock King of the Hill is those that won their respective Pro Stock Class and competes for the ‘winner-take-all $500.00.  Same in the Vollwerth’s Meats $500.00 Pro Mod King of the Hill, and the Coyote Snow Bike King of the Hill.

The Pat’s Motorsports snowmobile hillclimb team was led by Tyler Robinson, who won both the Ojibwa Casino Pro Stock King of the Hill and the Vollwerth’s Meats Pro Mod King of the Hill. Robinson cashed in on over $1600 for the day – Photo courtesy of David Archambeau of Daily Mining Gazette

The MACH Pro Stock King of the Hill winner, Tyler Robinson of the Pat’s Motorsports team was the only racer that earned the chance to have 2 runs.  Robinson won the Matt’s Auto Glass and Body Pro Stock 850 and the M & M Powersports Pro Stock Open.

“This was fortunate for Tyler (Robinson) to have 2 runs, especially when he drew to run 1st and 2nd,” explained MASTERS Director of Race Operations, Jason Kleinschmidt.  “When he lost control and got stuck on his 1st run, he knew he had to make it over the top to repeat as Pro Stock King.”

On his second run for King of the Hill (KOH), Robinson turned in a 31.19 second run.  With the course becoming more challenging by the end of the day, all the times were slower than earlier in the day.  “However a 31 second run is very ‘beatable,’ especially when you have Jimmy (Marietta) and Jordan (Wolfe) yet to run,” commented Kleinschmidt.

Marietta, the MASTERS All-Time highest money winner and MACH Pro Mod KOH, hit the 4th Gate knocking him out of the competition.

Wolfe, an MTU Mechanical Engineering Student and one of the top Snow Cross racers in the Midwest was injured in his last run to qualify for the KOH.  “I was going to ‘scratch’ because I was hurting, but I wanted to give it a try for KOH,” Wolfe stated.

Wolfe made it 65 yards up the hill, thus giving Robinson the Ojibwa Casino Pro Stock King of the Hill.

No racer punched his ticket to 2 runs in the Vollwerth’s Meats Pro Mod King of the Hill. 

Toivola’s Josh Bramble got his first chance to compete in a KOH Shoot-out.  He opened up with a run of 84 yards.  One of last year’s MASTERS Representatives at the World Championship Hillclimb, Roger Strack of Trimountain went next and turned in a 35.06 second run. 

Robinson drew to run 3rd and had a 29.18 second run.

While that run was better for Robinson compared to his run in the Pro Stock KOH, it appeared to be a time that one of the MASTERS top Hillclimbers could beat.  That being Nissula’s Travis Kaurala.

Kaurala had a 31.13 second run. 

This gave Robinson another $500.00.  At the end of the day Robinson had pocketed over $1600.00.

Robinson was the first MASTERS Representative to advance to the finals at last year’s World Championship Hillclimb.  He will compete in 5 classes at this year’s World Championship (WC).  Also going to Jackson, Wyoming for the WC will be Greenland’s Wyatt McIntyre.  McIntyre competed in the Junior Division last year, and will have his final chance to compete in the Junior Division again this year.

Dollar Bay’s Chris Bigger, Toivola’s Josh Bramble, Ontonagon’s Ryan Huff and Jay Sullivan, and Mass City’s Brandon Jilbert will also represent the MASTERS at this year’s WC.

Mike Chopp of South Range won the Snow Bike King of the Hill at the Ojibwa Casino WINTERNATIONALS Hillclimb on Saturday – Photo courtesy of David Archambeau of Daily Mining Gazette

South Range’s Mike Chopp proved again that he is one of the top Motorcycle Hillclimbers in the Midwest.  Even when he transforms his KTM to a Snow Bike.  Chopp won the Coyote Snowbike Adventures King of the Hill.

Brianna Banfield of Dollar Bay edged out the MACH Women’s Class to win the Moyle Construction/Valley View Quarry Queen of the Hill.  Ontonagon’s Lucas Solberg swept 2 of the 3 Daily Mining Gazette children’s classes by winning the Youth 200 and the 120 Mod Class.  Rockland’s Klayton Kin continued to win in the 120 Stock class.

Brianna Banfield of Dollar Bay won the MASTERS Ojibwa Casino WINTERNATIONALS Queen of the Hill – Photo courtesy of David Archambeau of Daily Mining Gazette

In addition to going to 6 gates, the other ‘firsts’ at this past Saturday’s MASTERS Hillclimb included a woman running in a Pro Class.  That was Brook, Minnesota’s Destiny Welch.  The other first was a 13 year old to run in Pro.  That was Nissula’s Kaiden Kaurala.

Children between the ages of 4 and 11 competed in the Daily Mining Gazette 120cc classes. Here is Benjamin Cook, with his father, Matt, and a Sigma Tau Gamma Hill Jockey.

The MASTERS will return to Whealkate Bluff for the Motorcycle and Snowmobile Hillclimb on June 20th.  The radio-controlled vehicles will also run at that hillclimb.  The final event that is a part of the MASTERS Ojibwa Casino Racing Series will be a Hillcross and the ‘Race of Champions’ Snow Drags at Mont du Lac Ski Resort, just outside of Duluth, Minnesota, on March 28th.

 

Ojibwa Casino WINTERNATIONALS Results

Feb 22, 2020

Ojibwa Casino Pro Stock King of the Hill:  1) Tyler Robinson, Afton, WY., Polaris-31.19 (2nd Run);  2) Jimmy Marietta, Hubbell, MI., Arctic Cat- Gate 4;  3) Jordan Wolfe, Montreal, WI, Polaris-65 yards;  4) Robinson-62 yards (1st Run).

Vollwerth’s Meats Pro Mod King of the Hill:  1)  Tyler Robinson, Afton, WY., Polaris- 29.18;  2) Travis Kaurala, Nissula, MI., Ski-Doo-31.13;  3) Roger Strack, Trimountain, MI., Polaris- 35.06;  4) Josh Bramble, Toivola, MI., Ski-Doo- 84 yards.

Coyote Snowbike Adventures Sno-Bike King of the Hill:  1) Mike Chopp, South Range, MI., KTM- 32.14;  2) Anthony Ernest, Ontonagon, MI., Husqvarna- 70 yards.

Moyle Construction-Valley View Quarry Queen of the Hill:  1) Brianna Banfield, Dollar Bay, MI., Arctic Cat- 37.77;  2) Destiny Welch, Brook, MN., Ski-Doo- 42.77.

Toucan’s Auto Service/Adam’s Township 1st Responders Pro Open Mod:  1) Tyler Robinson, Afton, WY., Polaris- 29.21;  2) Roger Strack, Trimountain, MI., Arctic Cat- 33.82;  3) Jimmy Marietta, Hubbell, MI., Arctic Cat- 33.93.

Eagle Radio Pro Mod 850:  1) Travis Kaurala, Nissula, MI., Ski-Doo- 30.83;  2) Bob Berghuis, Brillion, WI., Polaris- 35.12;  3) Jordan Wolfe, Montreal, WI., Polaris- 35.28.

Wildlife Refuge Cabins Pro Mod 700:  1) Josh Bramble, Toivola, MI., Ski-Doo- 40.17;  2) Jason Kleinschmidt, Merrill, WI., Arctic Cat- 44.20;  3) Wyatt McIntrye, Greenland, MI., Polaris- 136 yards.

Pat’s Motorsports Pro Mod 600:  1) Roger Strack, Trimountain, MI., Polaris- 30.09;  2) Travis Kaurala, Nissula, MI., Ski-Doo- 30.52;  3) Tyler Robinson, Afton, WY., Yamaha- 32.22.

M & M Powersports Pro Open Stock:  1) Tyler Robinson, Afton, WY., Polaris- 25.76;  2) Jimmy Marietta, Hubbell, MI., Arctic Cat- 32.40;  3) Brandon Jilbert, Ontonagon, MI., Polaris- 33.77.

Matt’s Auto Glass & Body Pro Stock 850:  1) Tyler Robinson, Afton, WY., Polaris- 26.28;  2) Travis Kaurala, Nissula, MI., Ski-Doo- 29.72;  3) Brandon Jilbert, Ontonagon, MI., 35.85.

Krupp’s Mini-Mart Pro Stock 700:  1) Jordan Wolfe, Montreal, WI., Polaris- 33.30;  2) Roger Strack, Trimountain, MI., Polaris- 33.31;  3) Jay Sullivan, Ontonagon, MI., Polaris- 33.31.

Mosquito Inn Pro Stock 600:  1) Jimmy Marietta, Hubbell, MI., Arctic Cat- 27.79;  2) Travis Kaurala, Nissula, MI., Ski-Doo- 29.64;  3) Wyatt McIntyre, Greenland, MI., Polaris- 31.15.

Coyote Snowbike Adventures Snow-Bike:  1) Mike Chopp, South Range, MI., KTM- 28.97;  2) Anthony Ernest, Ontonagon, MI., Husqvarna- 29.44;  3) Mike Kirtland, Mass City, MI, Yamaha- 32.23.

Diamond House International Vintage:  1) Jimmy Marietta, Hubbell, MI., Polaris- 28.05; 2) Jay Sullivan, Ontonagon, MI., Polaris- 31.57;  3) Ray VanAlstine, Pelkie, MI., Ski-Doo- 40.90;  

Daily Mining Gazette Youth 200:  1) Lucas Solberg, Ontonagon, MI., Polaris- 23 sec., 2) Eli Beiring, Atlantic Mine, Arctic Cat- 25 sec;  3) Nolan Preiss, Ontonagon, MI., Polaris- 31 sec.

Daily Mining Gazette 120 Mod:  1) Lucas Solberg, Ontonagon, MI., Polaris- 24 sec:  2) Nolan Preiss, Ontonagon, MI., 33 sec.

Daily Mining Gazette 120 Stock:  1) Klayton Kin, Rockland, MI., Arctic Cat- 28 sec; (32 sec tiebreaker)  2) Lucas Solberg, Ontonagon, MI., Polaris- 28 sec (33 sec tiebreaker);  3) Benjamin Cook, Green Bay, WI., Arctic Cat- 31 sec.

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