The Eagle River World Championships are over for another year, and this year things went exceptionally well for the T&N Racing crew. The conditions for this year’s Derby were less than desirable. With all the warm conditions during the beginning of the week, we were unsure of the outcome of the track. Upon arrival though, we found the track to be in almost near perfect condition. The track crew had gone above and beyond the calling of their duties to keep us safe all weekend.
We washed and parked the trailer on Wednesday evening and awaited our drivers meeting to get all the info for the running of the 54th annual Championships. On Thursday we were informed that our practices had been cancelled to preserve the ice as much as possible. With that happening we had to take a shot in the dark and set the sled up to try and turn a fast qualifying time to get us a decent spot on the start line for Sundays final if we made it. We ended up setting the 5th fastest time of the evening, and learning a bit about the track to further improve our set up.
Friday was another low key day without testing and getting ready for our qualifying rounds for Friday Night Thunder. We made it into the show and set the sled up for the 16 lap final. We hit the start line and waited for the green flag. We were turned loose and down into corner 1, and came out with the lead. We managed to hold the lead until the first red flag was thrown for a sled going into the bails in corner 3. We lined up for the re start and the green was thrown again. We got another great holeshot and made it a few more laps before another red was thrown for a sled upside down in corner 2. We lined up for the next re start and a few guys jumped the start sending them to the back. After we all got lined back up again, we got set, and the flag was thrown. We launched off the hole, and made it only a few feet before the belt broke. We pulled to the inside of the track and finished watching the race. We went back to the trailer after the race and went to fixing the sled and making sure that we didn’t have this issue again.
Saturday morning we went to work prepping the sled to make it into the big show. We went through the rounds and the sled kept getting better and better each time we hit the track. We went out for the last qualifying round and wound up coming away with a win, putting us into him final on Sunday!
Sunday we had a lot of downtime, going through the sled, meeting up with a few sponsors, and chatting with the racing friends we made, and thanking the track workers for all their hard work throughout the last 2 weeks. We strapped the hood on and hit the track for the opening ceremonies. After the touching of the Snowgoer cup, we went out on our inspection lap and waited in corner 4 to be called down to choose our spot on the starting line. As we waited for starters orders you could feel the intensity building throughout the drivers, and the flag was thrown. We got a great hole shot and rocketed down into turn 1. We came out of corner 2 running second, and made a pass to move into the lead for the duration of the first 10 laps. We had a great battle going on between Cardell Potter for the entire first group of laps. We looked the sled over, but not much had to be changed. We went back out for the last 20 laps and wanted to keep the momentum going. We got another great holeshot and rocketed into corner 1. We came out with the lead and managed to hold onto it for roughly 7 laps before Potter made a move and took the lead away. I set a new line and managed to make a clean pass back into the lead and the line I found was fast. I held that line and just focused on hitting my marks and keeping consistent. The laps seemed to take forever, and finally the white flag came out. All we needed to do was make 2 more corners and we would be the 2017 World Champion! As we came out of corner 4 I got a bit loose but managed to keep it under control. After we crossed the finish line it hit me we did it again! The feelings of 2012 were coming back, and all the hard work we put in since the last championship has finally all paid off. I cannot thank my crew enough for everything they have done, along with all our sponsors and supporters for following us and believing in us. Our dream has come true again, and we are going to ride the wave as long as it lasts. Our next venue is the Wausau 525, which we have yet to win at, and we’d like to keep our streak going to finally get our Wausau win. Until then, keep the handlebars to the left and the throttle wide open.