(February 7, 2017) - The 4th Annual Winter Spectacular took place last weekend at the Viking Speedway in Alexandria, Minn. and the TLR Cup Tour was there to run Round 6 of 9. The sun was shining, stands were packed with race fans and drivers hit the fastest speeds we've seen all season on the "high-flying" half-mile.
Gunnar Sterne made it four in a row after winning Friday night's Pro Champ 440 15-lap final under the lights. Solid holeshots have been the driver of the #220 Ski-Doo's M.O. all season, and the routine continued when the green flag left the ice. In a final that ran uninterrupted from green to checkered, Sterne asserted his lead from the very beginning and held it. Matt Schulz, driver of the #38 Ski-Doo gave chase to the top spot but on a track many drivers report being able to drive wide-open, ran out of laps to catch Sterne. Yet another Mike Houle Racing chassis powered by Ski-Doo made the podium as Travis MacDonald posted his best finish of the season, easily taking third on the #8 machine.
Saturday's first race of the day came in the form of the Pro Champ 440 make-up final, originally slated to run during Round 2 at the Ironwood Snowmobile Olympus earlier this season. 14 laps had yet to be completed and the race was started with the drivers staggered based on how they finished the first lap in Ironwood. This time is was Cardell Potter, driver of the #58 Ski-Doo, who got himself out front after starting from the second position. He seemed to get faster with each lap, extending his lead over the rest of the field to nearly half a lap by the time the checkered waved. Sterne went on to finish second, with Schulz crossing the line just behind him. Sterne currently holds the top spot on the TLR Cup Tour points board, followed by Schulz and Potter.
Following a trend much like Sterne's, Billy DeVault went four in a row after besting Tom Olson in the Factory Stock 600 final. The two showed fans just how well stock machines can handle as they turned laps on their pair of Polaris XCRs. DeVault, #289, asserted his spot as the top driver in the class, while Olson holds tight in the #2 spot in class points with three rounds to go.
Outlaw 600 is always exciting as a full field of drivers in snowmobiles modified with steering wheels and roll cages, among other things, take to the track to drift through the corners. Coming out on top in the Round 6 final was Bob Richardson, driver of the #2 machine. Friday's win made it four for Richardson this season and padded his points lead. Trever Spokely was second across the line in hot pursuit, while Ron Therauf rounded out the top three.
For the first time in the history of the TLR Cup Tour, we'll make the northeastern trek to Valcourt, Quebec for the seventh round of action. The Grand Prix Ski-Doo de Valcourt gets underway this Friday, with snocross and ice bikes to compliment the full schedule of ice oval racing.
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