Marietta Sweeps at Whealkate!

March 5, 2018

This is the way to watch a MASTERS Sanctioned Snowmobile Race!

Josh Bramble

Snowmobile hillclimbers brought life back to Whealkate Bluff in South Range on Saturday. After an absence of a professional hillclimb for 7 years, the Mid America Snow and Terrain Expert Racers (MASTERS) Racing Circuit hosted the Ojibwa Casino Winternationals Snowmobile Hillclimb.

With a total of 141 runs at this steep hill, only 45 of them made it over the top. In the end, it came down to only three hillclimbers qualifying for the Range Lounge-VFW Pro Stock King of the Hill, and only two qualified for the Vollwerth’s Meats Pro Mod King of the Hill.

It was Hubbel’s Jimmy Marietta who qualified for both the Stock and Mod King of the Hill. In Stock he qualified by winning 2 classes. In the “draw” for the order, Marietta drew to go first and last. The snowmobile hillclimber who dominated in MASTERS Hillclimbs over 10 years ago, Al Turin of Greenland, went second. Going third was one of the top snow-cross racers in the Midwest, Jordan Wolfe of Montreal, WI.

The draw for which course would be run for the Stock King of the Hill was for the first course run earlier in the day. This course had 29 runs where the riders made it over the top, compared to only 18 that made it over the top on the second course.

Marietta opened the Stock King of the Hill “shoot-out” with a 19.20-second run. Turin turned in a 20.23-second run. That left it up to Wolfe to beat Marietta’s time and forced Marietta to take a shot. Wolfe had a 20.03-second run, giving Marietta and Arctic Cat the Pro Stock King of the Hill.

The Pro Mod King of the Hill Shoot-out featured two racers who won all the Pro Mod Classes: Marietta, who won Pro Open and Pro Mod 850; and winning the Pro Mod 700 and Pro Mod 600 class was NIssula’s Travis Kaurala. Kaurala is the MASTERS # 1 hillclimber in terms of all-time cash winnings.

A huge crowd saw how few made it over the top on the second course. The Pro Mod King of the Hill “draw” was for the second course.  The fans knew that even though it was the two hillclimbers who won more than half of the classes, this “shoot-out” was up for grabs.

Marietta opened up with the fastest run of the entire day, 15.30 seconds. Kaurala had a 19.03-second run on his first shot and then came back with an 18.80-second run. This gave Marietta a “sweep” of both Pro Stock and Pro Mod King of the Hill.

“It really didn’t bother me that we drew the blue (second course) for the Mod King of the Hill. By this time I felt good about the sled, even though I know how good Travis (Kaurala) is,” commented Marietta. “I didn’t know how good of a run I had, but I thought it was a good run.”

“It was a great event. I had a lot of fun. The hill was challenging and the courses were really good,” commented Kaurala.

This was the first time that the MASTERS ran a Snow-Bike class at Whealkate Bluff. A snow-bike is a retro-fitted motorcycle with a ski in the front and a track in the back. The first run for the snow bikes was straight up the hill, and all of them cleared the top. However, on the second run for the Snow Bike King of the Hill, these motorcycles had to go around the gates.

“The Snow-Bikers made that decision, and they decided to take the second course. Many wondered if they would make it to the top,” commented Jason Kleinschmidt, MASTERS Director of Race Operations.

Two of the four snow bike runs made it over the top. Winning the first Winternationals King of the Hill was Crivitz, Wisconsin’s, James Boltz. The other snow biker to make it over the top was David Zambon of Marquette.

Whealkate Bluff held motorcycle hillclimbs in the 1970s. The MASTERS will be working with the land owner and hopes to obtain enough sponsorship to bring the motorcycle hillclimb back to Whealkate Bluff this summer.

“Everything went very well this Saturday. We had a great turnout of racers and fans. We’re hoping to run the Winternationals on February 23, 2019,” commented MASTERS Official Sandy Schulz. “While we would love to bring the motorcycle hillclimb back, it will take a lot of heavy equipment to bulldoze the hill, fix up the parking lot, and work on both the entrance and exit roads…”

The MASTERS will sanction the Minnesota State Championship Hillclimb at Mont du Lac, outside of Duluth, MN. This will be on March 17.  On March 18, the circuit will run the Grand Nationals Snow Drags at Mont du Lac. The long-running snowmobile race circuit will end the season at Marquette Mountain on April 7 with Snow Drags, Hillcross, and the World Championship KIDS climb.

Jimmy Marietta

Jimmy Marietta

Ojibwa Casino WINTERNATIONALS Snowmobile Hillclimb

Whealkate Bluff, South Range, MI, March 3, 2018

Range Lounge-VFW Pro Stock King of the Hill:  1) Jimmy Marietta, Hubbel, MI, Arctic Cat; 19.20; 2) Jordan Wolfe, Montreal, WI, Polaris, 20.03,  3) Al Turin, Greenland, MI, Polaris, 20.23.

Vollwerths Meats Pro Mod King of the Hill:  1) Jimmy Marietta, Hubbel, MO, Arctic Cat; 15.90; 2) Travis Kaurala, Nissula, MI, Ski-Doo, 18.80.

JK’s Trophies Snow Bike King of the Hill:  1) James Boltz, Crivitz, WI, KTM, 21.13; 2) David Zambon, Marquette, MI, Kawasaki, 25.56;  3) Zambon, KTM, High Mark;  4) Mike Chopp, Atlantic Mine, MI, KTM, Mark.

Jam Service Pro Open Mod:  1) Jimmy Marietta, Hubbel, MI, Arctic Cat, 17.27 (2nd Rd); 2) Travis Kaurala, NIssula, MI, Ski-Doo, 21.26 (1st Rd); 3) Cory Burrows, South Range, MI, 21.68 (1st Rd).

Pat’s Motorsports Pro Mod 850:  1) Marietta, Arctic Cat, 18.10 (1st Rd); 2) Kaurala, Ski-Doo, 18.56 (1st Rd); 3) Bob Berghuis, Brillion, WI, Polaris, 18.67 (1st Rd).

Dave’s Auto Service Laurium Pro Mod 700:  1) Kaurala, Ski-Doo, 18.59 (1st Rd); 2) Marietta, Arctic Cat, 19.02 (1st Rd); 3) Kaurala, 22.10 (2nd Rd).

Patriot Towing & Snowmobile Recovery Pro Mod 600:  1) Kaurala, Ski-Doo, 17.85 (1st Rd); 2) Burrows, Polaris, 18.33 (1st Rd); 3) Kaurala, Ski-Doo, 21.54 (2nd Rd).

Krupp’s Mini Mart Pro Stock Open:  1) Jordan Wolfe, Montreal, WI, Polaris, 20.72 (1st Rd) ;  2)  Roger Strack, Atlantic Mine, MI, Polaris, 22.79 (1st Rd);  3) Strack, 22.90 (2nd Rd).

Eagle Radio Pro Stock 850:  1) Al Turin, Greenland, MI, Polaris, 22.65 (1st Rd); 2) Tom Hodges, Lake Linden, MI, Arctic Cat, 23.77 (1st Rd); 3) Phillip John Hanson, Calumet, MI, Ski-Doo, High Mark (2nd Rd).

Diamond House International Pro Stock 700:  1) Marietta, Arctic Cat, 18.66 (1st Rd); 2) Burrows, Polaris, 20.07 (1st Rd); 3) Bradley Barette, Hubbel, MI, 21.86 (1st Rd).

Toucan’s Auto Repair Pro Stock 600:  1) Marietta, Arctic Cat, 17.40 (1st Rd); 2) Burrows, Polaris, 17.85 (1st Rd); 3) Berghuis, Polaris, 18.44 (1st Rd).


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