As is tradition for the kick-off weekend, instead of the standard format of racing, Friday was reserved for the Amsoil Dominator Cup—a series of head-to-head racing in bracket-style format, featuring the Pro and Pro Lite divisions—winner take all of $10k and the coveted Dominator Cup trophy. The normal racing format resumed on Saturday.
The Upper Peninsula ski hill offered a technical downhill section with multiple line options in the corners, making a challenge for the riders—not to mention the rain, mud, and wet-heavy snow due to warmer temperatures than normal. Despite less-than-ideal conditions, fans poured into the venue and lined the ski hill from top to bottom.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the FXR-backed teams this season—
Thene Motorsports underwent nearly an entire team overhaul, keeping only one rider from their previous season roster—Crayden Dillon, the 2022-2023 Sport Champion. Dillon has since bumped up to the Pro Lite division where he made a statement Saturday night in Ironwood with a huge win. New to the team for the 2023-2024 season is Francis Pelletier, formerly of Warnert Racing, and Cole Cottew. Unfortunately, Cottew suffered a major leg injury midway into last season and, just when things were in place to go racing, he fractured his femur and broke the hardware in his leg—sidelining him before the season even started.
- Francis Pelletier #220 – PRO
- Crayden Dillon #96 – PRO LITE
- Cole Cottew #14 – PRO (injured)
SKOGQUIST RACE TEAM
For only beginning their second season as a team, Skogquist Race Team managed to scoop up 5-time Pro Champion Elias Ishoel for the 2023-2024 season. The Norwegian native has already nestled into the lead, taking the first win of the season Saturday night in Ironwood with a 9+ second lead. Brothers Drew and Brady Freeland continue on SRT for their second season. Drew was supposed to make his debut in the Pro Lite class but made the decision to sit the bench due to an ankle injury; he plans to return to racing for the rounds at Canterbury. Brady advanced to the Sport class this season where he picked up an impressive 1st place in Saturday night’s final. SRT’s second set of brothers, AJ and Wyatt Skogquist also moved up in the ranks to compete in Sport Lite in addition to their Junior class. The Skogquist brothers earned a handful of podiums in the junior class to kick off the season.
- Elias Ishoel #200 – PRO
- Drew Freeland #28 – PRO LITE
- Brady Freeland #831 – SPORT
- AJ Skogquist #113 – SPORT LITE/JUNIORS
- Wyatt Skogquist #172 – SPORT LITE/JUNIORS
ONE THREE MOTORSPORTS
Another fairly new team to the series, One Three Motorsports began their third season as a team. One Three added Marcus Ogemar to their roster who made his debut in the Pro ranks and has sense changed his number plate from #58 to #9. Defending Pro Am Women Champion, Malene Cottew, returned to the team and to her winning ways, scooping up a first place podium Saturday night in Ironwood. Also returning to the team is Jeremy Beaulieu in the Pro Lite ranks, after injury sidelined him for the majority of last season. Rounding out the team are brothers Hudson and Holden Kuhn competing in the Junior/Transition classes. Due to a pre-season injury, Hudson will likely sit out this season to properly heal from his surgery.
- Marcus Ogemar #9 – PRO
- Malene Cottew #93 – PRO AM WOMEN
- Jeremy Beaulieu #122 – PRO LITE
- Holden Kuhn #180 – JUNIOR/TRANSITION
- Hudson Kuhn #170 – JUNIOR/TRANSITION (injured)
TEAM LAVALLEE RACING
Team LaVallee Racing keeps their lineup for yet another season, with former Pro Lite competitor Ryley Bester making the advance to the Pro ranks and switching up his number plate from #151 to #15. Adam Peterson returned to the team to continue racing in the Pro class for the third season. Both Bester and Peterson competed in the Amsoil Dominator Friday night in Ironwood, Peterson looking for his second title after winning back in 2021. Alas, the Team LaVallee racers came up short. Both Pro’s made the final Saturday night but each of them experienced a handful of obstacles along the way including an LCQ battle for Bester and a mechanical issue for Peterson. Decorated veteran racer, Andy Lieders, continued his winning ways despite some increased competition this season. Lieders collected two podium finishes to start the season off right.
- Adam Peterson #3 – PRO
- Ryley Bester #15 – PRO
- Andy Lieders #57 – PRO AM PLUS 30
Woodies Racing boosted their program this year, signing Pro racer Daniel Benham to the team after his prior home at All Finish Racing folded. Benham picked up a 3rd in one of his qualifying races in Ironwood but experienced a challenging final where he ended in 9th. Trent Wittwer returned to Woodies Racing and will continue to compete in the Pro Lite division. Disappointingly, Pro Am Women racer Taven Woodie will not be lining up this season after re-tearing her ACL during the off-season. Woodie plans to take this time to heal in order to return to racing next season.
- Daniel Benham #221 – PRO
- Trent Wittwer #115 – PRO LITE
- Taven Woodie #873 – PRO AM WOMEN (injured)
Hemmer Motorsports has officially signed on Tyler Archambault to represent the team in the Pro Lite ranks. Archambault has worked with Hemmer in the past but as a satellite rider. He debuted in the Pro Lite class in Ironwood where he earned a nice holeshot but underwent a mechanical issue resulting in a DNF for Saturday night. New to the team for the 2023-2024 season is “Holeshot” Inanna Hauger competing in the Pro Am Women class. Hauger is no stranger to the podium and scooped up two over the opening weekend. Cousins Avery and Lila Hemmer represent the team in four different classes between the two of them, including Jr Girls 9-13, two different Transition classes, and 120 Champ. Avery brought home a gold in the Jr Girls 9-13 class over the weekend. Lila ran a great race in the 120 class, but unfortunately DNF’d in her final.
- Tyler Archambault #901 – PRO LITE
- Inanna Hauger #331 – PRO AM WOMEN
- Avery Hemmer #415 – TRANSITION 9-10, JR GIRLS 9-13
- Lila Hemmer #005 – TRANSITION 8-10, JR GIRLS 9-13, 120 CHAMP
In the past, Hilmerson Motorsports has always fielded a team of younger riders but have stepped up their presence in the series this season, bringing on a Pro Lite athlete for the first time—Emeric Legendre. In addition to Legendre, Hilmerson has also signed Ava McCurdy in the Pro Am Women ranks. Trenton Hilmerson returns to the Sport Lite class after his season was cut short last year due to a lower back injury.
- Emeric Legendre #144 – PRO LITE
- Ava McCurdy #42 – PRO AM WOMEN
- Trenton Hilmerson #515 – SPORT LITE
GREEN MOUNTAIN RACING
East coast based team Green Mountain Racing signs on two new riders this season. Sweden native Oskar Englund returns to the Pro Lite class with a new team, yet under the same Arctic Cat brand, after representing Woodies Racing last season. Jordan Biese returns to racing after a two-year hiatus due to injury.
- Oskar Englund #339 – PRO LITE
- Jordan Biese #228 – SPORT
Long-time member of Frattalone Racing, Eric Downs, returns to the team for another season. Downs had a solid start to the season, going 1-1 in his heat races in Ironwood and qualifying second for the final. His luck came to an end after a first-corner tangle set him back for a 12th place finish in the final. Downs shows much potential going into the next rounds of racing.
- Eric Downs #129 – PRO LITE
Pflipsen Racing keeps the same lineup going into the 2023-2024 Snocross season. After a pre-season team shakeup last year, Mandryk finally found his home at Pflipsen and has since recruited his long-time mechanic, Christopher Takacs, to join the team. Kellen Chapuran returns to the Sport class after sitting last season out due to injury. Caiden Pflipsen continues to compete in the Sport Lite class. During opening weekend, the team brought home a handful of podiums between the riders.
- Kenny Mandryk #61 – PRO LITE
- Kellen Chapuran #254 – SPORT
- Caiden Pflipsen #323 – SPORT LITE
Boss Racing has a decorated history in the sport but had recently taken a short hiatus. Good news, the Boss is back and has signed veteran Evan Daudt to represent the team in the Pro class this season. Daudt started his season off at a steady, consistent pace earning an acceptable 7th in his Saturday night final. Rounding out the team is Nikella Callan in Pro Am Women and two Pro Lite racers Cale Callan & Dylan Roes.
- Evan Daudt #413 – PRO
- Nikella Callan #432 – PRO AM WOMEN
- Cale Callan #34 – PRO LITE
- Dylan Roes #12 – PRO LITE