Kaurala a contender for King of the Hill at Caspian climb

CASPIAN – Snowmobile hillclimbers from three states met at this past Saturday’s Mid America Championship Hillclimb. The MACH took place at the former Caspian Ski Jump, a hill that took its toll on drivers and snowmobilers and a hill that only allowed three drivers crest the top and make it through the timing chute.

With a total of 77 attempts at making it over the top, 68 of those runs failed. In the Lindwall Motors Pro Stock 700 class, no one made it over the top in either of the runs, it was high mark that determined who would win and represent that class in the Bar Enterprises Pro Stock King of the Hill.

Four different drivers qualified for the Pro Stock King of the Hill, a shoot-out won by Travis Kaurala of Alston by going the farthest up the hill. Kaurala and Jordan Stank of Stoughton, Wisconsin were the only two drivers to advance to the Ojibwa Casino Pro Mod King of the Hill. Stank edged out Kaurala by only going a few feet higher up the hill to win the crown.

Organizers of the event, sanctioned by the Mid America Snow and Terrain Expert Racers (commonly known as MASTERS) joined with the fans in awe when a first-time hillclimber not only made it over the top, but had one of the fastest times of the day. That driver, Bob Berghuis of Brillion, Wisconsin, turned in a record-breaking run of 34.469 seconds in the Wild Rivers Realty Pro Stock 800 class. This amazing run in the first round was beat when Stank followed Berghuis with a 34.308. That was the only class that two drivers turned in a time in the same class.

Berghuis went on to make it over the top in a 36.953 run in the First National Bank Open Stock class.

“This is the first time I ever competed in something as extreme as this,” said the excited young Berghuis.

Jordan Stank’s father, Layne, from Menominee, won the Lindwall Motors Pro Stock Class by making it all the way to the fifth gate, before the hill took its toll on the driver and the sled.

The hill had a total of five gates before the timing chute at the top of the hill. It was between the fourth and fifth gate in the first round, and between the third and fourth gate in the second round where a majority of the sleds either got stuck or ended up rolling down the hill.

“The results show how difficult the MACH at Caspian is. Seventy-seven shots at the hill in the first two rounds, and only nine made it over the top, and of that nine that set a time, only three drivers accomplished the amazing feat of making it over the top,” said MASTERS Racing Circuit President Skip Schulz.

What has thrilled the fans for the last 4 years is when the 4- to 9-year olds run the 120cc WIKB “Kid” King. For the second year in a row, Bessemer’s, Keegan Boggetto edged out his younger brother, Nolan, and Braden Rose of Harvey. This was Braden’s first time hillclimbing.

MASTERS now heads east to Florence, Wisconsin this coming weekend for the Wisconsin State Championship Hillclimb and Hillcross. The events will take place at Keyes Peak, with the Hillclimb running on Saturday and Hillcross running on Sunday. The Keyes Peak Hillcross will be the first Hillcross in this years Ojibwa Casino/MASTERS Hillcross series. Hillcross has two to three snowmobiles racing side by side up the hill, with the hill having table top and double jumps. Saturday’s Hillclimb will be the final qualifier for this years World Championship Hillclimb in Jackson, Wyoming.

The MASTERS will also run Snow Drags and Hillcross at Marquette Mountain April 4-5. The MASTERS season will end with the Mont du Lac Hillclimb, The Nationals Hillcross, and the Snow Drag Nationals at Mont du Lac on April 10-11.