SnowTech Technical Contributor Mike Lehman has been a champ sled ice oval racer for a number of years, and this season he purchased a REV-based champ sled from Mike Houle on January 4th. That following weekend at Plymouth he finished 3rd in the Semi-pro Champ (10 entries) and 7th in Pro Champ (18 entries; most all the big guns).
The next week was Eagle River; Time trials on Thursday, Semi-pro on Friday and Worldâ€™s Championship heats on Saturday.
Lehman felt the sled was awesome, and at Eagle River he had lots of fun and got his moneys worth on laps; he had to run every possible 2nd chance heat in the Worldâ€™s Championship. Lehman diced with three time world champ Jacques Villenueve and passed him back and forth several times in the first heat, who ended up 5th in the final.
In the last chance race (for the 10th front row spot) Lehman was up to fourth, but says, â€œThe sled was tiring to drive and I was coasting a fair amount and the sled didn’t like that; it likes to be driven hard. Like you stole it. I caught a rut going into turn 3 and just couldn’t turn and slid into the bales. I thought it was going to get hurt but the hay was very soft. I was able to restart, but only the winner made it into the final.â€
Lehman continued, â€œIt did allow me to make the semi-feature on Sunday where 1st and 2nd get to the back row of the final. I was running fourth, but around lap six it didn’t look possible to get to second so I pulled off to save myself for the Semi-Pro final, which ended up being moved to after the last chance race. In that final I got spun out and they red flagged the race as I was right in the middle of turn one. I was able to restart (but if you cause a red flag you have to start in the back) and came from 8th to finish 5th (at least I beat the guy who spun me out).â€
Lehman finished second in both of his semi-pro heats and was challenging for the lead in both of those races. He qualified 18th out of 27 entries in the time trials for the Worldâ€™s Championship on Thursday (the 19th guy ended up 3rd in the Worlds Championship.) Lehman concluded by stating, â€œI was in the hunt, but I need to work out more and work on the holeshot.â€ The 2006 World Championship was won by 3-time winner P.J. Wandersheid of Sauk Centre, MN.