With veteran snowmobile racer Corey Davidson at the controls, the Yamaha Apex snowmobile clinched its third consecutive victory in the grueling I-500 snowmobile race in Sault Ste. Marie, MI on Saturday, February 2. The 500-mile race around the iced oval is one of the most demanding snowmobile races in the world and a huge testament to Yamaha’s four-stroke power. Besides providing a three-peat for Yamaha, the victory also gave Davidson his seventh win in this event and his 10th career 500-mile race win.
Conditions were just about perfect when 27 sleds took the green flag for the 40th anniversary of Michigan’s most famous snowmobile race – a comfortable 30 degrees and decent visibility. With the fast sleds averaging around 85 mph per lap, the pack strung out quickly and Davidson put his race strategy to work – run fast and steady – but not too fast – drive straight over the bumps and above all save the equipment.
He qualified 12 th, and worked his way up to third by the 140th lap. At times he was battling with fellow Yamaha pilots Chad Gueco and Chad Drydahl, who led a good part of the early going on another Apex.
By lap 200 Davidson was in the lead and his sled was running strong. Davidson twice got some rest in mid-race from relief driver Jim Wilson, but remounted at 400 laps to run the remaining distance. At the flag, after nearly eight hours of racing, Davidson enjoyed a four-lap lead over Drydahl for a great 1-2 Yamaha finish. Gueco followed in fourth on another Apex.
“I like everything about the Apex,” Davidson said afterwards. “It’s got a great motor, the chassis works good, and the machine is just really well balanced. In fact some of the other teams were kind of mad that we were racing an Apex – they said it’s too fast!” Yamaha snowmobile racing coordinator Jesse Strege added, “This is just a phenomenal result for Yamaha, and a testament to the durability and power of the four-stroke Apex motor.”