Large Crowd watches Hillclimb

February 4, 2020

The 120 Stock Finalists at the Vollwerth’s Meats Mid America Championship Hillclimb

The 120 Stock Finalists

(L to R, 1st to 3rd Plae) Klayton Kin of Ontonagon, Braden Rose of Harvey, Benjamin Cook of Green Bay.

Snowmobile Hillclimbers from 5 States competed in last Saturday’s Triest Forest Products-Vollwerth’s Mid America Championship Hillclimb (MACH).  The MACH was held at Whealkate Bluff in South Range.  Officials with the Mid America Snow and Terrain Expert Racers (MASTERS) states that this was the largest crowd the race circuit has had for a Snowmobile Hilllclimb at the steep bluff.

Snowmobile Hillclimb

Photo courtesy of David Archambeau

It was also the largest turnout of hillclimbers, as 51 riders attempted to climb the 600 Foot Bluff.  44% of the 261 runs up the hill saw the rider make it over the acclaimed ‘Wall’ at the top of the hill. 

“This is actually the best percentage of riders to set a time,” commented Chris Crosby of the MASTERS.  “We had less snow on the hill, and those that ran early in the morning set a ‘groove’ that others followed.”

There may have been more riders to make it over the top, but that didn’t mean the event didn’t have its own style of excitement.  “Those that didn’t make it ended their runs in a very exciting way,” Jason Asselin of Just Snowmobiles chuckled.  “The video I did is probably one of the best when it comes to spills and rolls.’

Jimmy Marietta

Jimmy Marietta – photo courtesy of David Archambeau

The two professional hillclimbers that dominated the competition at both of last year’s hillclimbs repeated.  That was Hubbell’s James Marietta, and the Pat’s Motorsports hillclimber, Tyler Robinson.  Both represented the MASTERS at last year’s World Championship Hillclimb in Jackson, Wyoming.

Both qualified for the Houghton Powersports Pro Stock King of the Hill (KOH) and the Vollwerth’s Meats Pro Mod King of the Hill Shoot-outs by winning a class.  Robinson earned two runs in the Pro Stock Division and one run in Pro Mod.  Marietta punched his ticket in each ‘shoot-out’ with a win in one class in both Pro Stock and Pro Mod.

Tyler Robinson

Tyler Robinson – photo courtesy of David Archambeau

Robinson ended up needing his second run in the Pro Stock KOH when he failed to make the hill in his first run.  In the draw for the order to run, Robinson drew the 3rd and 4th run.  Robinson knew he had his hands full with that final run after finding out that Marietta turned in an impressive 22.68 second run.

Robinson turned in a 22.07 second run to win by a half a second.

This set the stage for a Pro Mod KOH shoot-out that had the fans excited in anticipation.  “I knew Jimmy (Marietta) was going to hold nothing back,” explained Jimmy’s father, Neil Marietta.

In this shoot-out Robinson went before Marietta.  Jumping from the Polaris over to the Yamaha, Robinson turned in a faster time then he ran in the Pro Stock KOH.  He ran a 21.18 second run.  Almost a second faster run then it took him to claim the $500 from Houghton Powersports in the Pro Stock KOH.

Then it was Marietta to end the competition.  The Arctic Cat rider set the fastest time of the day with an amazing 19.41 second run.  A run that got him $500 from Vollwerth’s Meats.

In addition to Marietta’s two wins in the Pro classes, he was also the first to go up the hill in the morning.  He ‘broke’ trail on a Snow Bike, a motorcycle with a ski and track.  His run of 20.40 seconds won him the Coyote Snowbike Adventure Class.

If that wasn’t enough to show how versatile Marietta is.  He also rode the very same snowmobile that his father rode close to 20 years ago at Copper Peak.  A Polaris that gave him a win in the Diamond House International Vintage Class.

Robinson was the only Pro Driver to win a class on two different Snowmobile Manufacturer sleds.  He won the Pat’s Motorsports Pro Mod 600 on a Yamaha.  He also won the M & M Powersports Pro Open Stock and the Matt’s Auto Glass and Body Pro Stock 850 on a Polaris.

With Marietta’s wins, he now became the highest cash purse winning driver in the 25+ year history of the MASTERS.  Prior to Marietta cashing in this past weekend, Nissula’s Travis Kaurala, had won more money than any other hillclimber. 

Snowmobile Hillclimb

Photo courtesy of David Archambeau

Kaurala continued his long streak of qualifying for a KOH Shoot-out by winning the Eagle Radio Pro Mod 850 class on an Acciaca Forest Products Ski-Doo.  His son, Kaiden, was the first and only Junior Class rider to go around all 5 gates and make it over the top.

Representing the Junior Division riders from 5 Midwestern States at last year’s World Championship was Greenland’s Wyatt McIntyre.  The Ontonagon High School student does not compete in MASTERS Junior Division, but runs in Pro Classes.  The Pat’s Motorsports racer placed in 2 Pro Classes.

Layne Stank

Layne Stank – photo courtesy of David Archambeau

The Pro hillclimber that has gone to the World Championship more than any other racer in the Midwest, Layne Stank of Menomonee, MI., qualified for another trip to Jackson.  He narrowly defeated Lake Linden’s Tom Hodges by one second in the Dave’s Auto Repair of Laurium Spirit Class ‘shoot-out.’

Destiny Welch

Destiny Welch – photo courtesy of David Archambeau

For the first time, the MASTERS ran a Women’s Division.  Brook, Minnesota’s, Destiny Welch was the first to claim the Moyle Construction/Valley View Quarry ‘Queen of the Hill.’    She edged out Dollar Bay’s Brianna Banfield by only 4 seconds.  3 of the 4 gals competing in the class, made it over the top of the hill, including Ahmeek’s Emily Lanhala.

The children between the ages of 4 and 12 thrilled the fans in the 120 and 200 classes.  Ontonagon’s Lucas Solberg won the Wildlife Refuge Cabins 200 Youth Class. Harvey’s Braden Rose won the Stephen Wittmer 120 Mod, and Ontonagon’ Klayton Kin won the Restoretech of Illinois 120 Stock.

The MASTERS will be back at Whealkate Bluff on Feb. 22nd for the Ojibwa Casino WINTERNATIONALS Hillclimb.  This hillclimb will hand out 9 entries to the World Championships.

“If you think the MACH was competitive and exciting to watch, just wait till you see what the WINTERNATIONALS has in store,” commented Kip McIntyre of the Pat’s Motorsports team.

Snowmobile Hillclimb

Photo courtesy of David Archambeau

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