Moorhead, Minn. (April 17th, 2014) - The 2013-2014 season not only marked the third straight win for Bunke Racing in the grueling Soo I-500, it also was the 5th time Gabe Bunke has won the race making him one of only two riders to win it five or more times. For most race teams this feat alone would make for a successful season, but for Bunke Racing it was merely the high water mark in what was perhaps the best and most accomplished season to date for the Polaris-backed cross-country and enduro team.
Without doubt, the Soo I-500 is one of Bunke Racing’s biggest targets each season. The 2014 race was the second year in a row Bunke Racing’s AutoLite-sponsored snowmobiles took the Top 2 spots at the race with the No. 537 sled ridden by Ryan and Travis Faust and Spencer Kadlec backing up the winning No. 74 sled ridden by Gabe Bunke and Aaron Christensen. This second straight 1-2 finish combined with the third straight win makes Bunke Racing the modern kings of this prestigious race.
“Winning the Soo for the third time in a row was unbelievable,” said Gabe Bunke. “When we started working with Polaris Racing, Walker Evans, Larry Rugland Motorsports and all of our other sponsors on this Soo project we had no idea it would be so successful. Polaris Racing’s ongoing commitment to the Soo project has definitely put us a step ahead of the competition.”
Bunke Racing’s Kadlec had an impressive rookie Pro season in cross-country where he finished 6th in Pro Stock points with his best finish coming at the Moondance Jam 100 in Walker Minnesota, where he finished 4th. Kadlec also swept the Pro class at the Naytahwaush Nightriders Snodeo winning a nice cash prize for his efforts. Topping it off, his impressive ride during the closing laps at the Soo solidified the No. 537 sled’s second place finish.
“Racing the Pro class is definitely stepping into the deep end, but my results showed our Polaris sleds are right on the pace to win races,” said Kadlec. “Racing the Soo was the highlight of my season. To step in as a rookie and have such a good run was a real confidence booster.”
Like Kadlec, Taylor Bunke also spent 2013-2014 as a rookie, only he was racing the highly-competitive Semi-Pro class. Bunke had a standout rookie showing, finishing 8th in Semi-Pro Improved points and 19th in Semi-Pro Stock.
“Semi-Pro is a big step up in speed from the Sport class,” said Taylor Bunke. “One thing I learned is there’s no room for error in this class and once I started eliminating the little mistakes my results got better.”
Team leader Gabe Bunke had one of his best cross-country seasons ever, winning three Pro Open races and taking second in two Pro 600 races before his USXC season was interrupted by the Iron Dog. Bunke traveled to Alaska in February to race the 2,000-mile Iron Dog as a rookie paired with veteran Scott Faeo. The Iron Dog runs from Big Lake, Alaska, to Nome and then back to East to the finish in Fairbanks. Racing as Team 20, Bunke/Faeo finished 10th overall on their Energy Release sponsored Polaris Indys. Finishing this race is a supreme challenge and winning it puts you among snowmobiling’s most elite racers.
“I’m a veteran cross-country racer but I was definitely a rookie at the Iron Dog,” said Bunke. “I knew going in that this isn’t a race you jump in and win the first time out. Having said that, our goal is to build on this and eventually win.”
“Our 2014 season couldn’t have gone much better,” Bunke continued. “The new Polaris snowmobiles were amazing and in my opinion we have the best lineup of sponsors in the sport backing us. We look forward to working with them all next season and winning more races