Author: Jordan Powell Photos: Jordan Powell and Courtesy of Red Bull
It was a great day to go racing on the ski slopes of Sunday River in Newry, Maine. For the first time ever, eight Pro-4s went head-to-head in a two-lap time trial battle, all on the slopes of a ski resort. With a course consisting of slaloms, huge bowl turns, giant elevation changes, and massive jumps, Ricky Johnson, Bryce Menzies, Johnny Greaves, Greg Adler, Todd Leduc, Scott Douglas, Rob MacCachren, and Carl Renezeder fought tooth and nail to claim the top spot.
Ricky Johnson claims the first ever Red Bull Frozen Rush title.
To say that Red Bull’s Frozen Rush was a huge success would be an understatement for both Red Bull and Sunday River. Thousands of spectators lined the rolling, snow-covered mountains of the ski resort just to catch a glimpse of all the action. As for the drivers, powering through the snow in their 900 horsepower machines presented some challenges, but it also presented a lot of fun. To the drivers’ surprise, they were able to get a tremendous amount of traction with their alloy studded tires, but at the same time, ruts started to form around the course which caused some difficulties as shadows from the ever-changing skies masked the treacherous grooves. So, line selection became key in the two-lap format.
Your podium finishers: Ricky Johnson, Johnny Greaves, and Bryce Menzies.
As for the format, the eight drivers were split up into groups of two, and competed in a bracketed, single elimination style setup. The original idea was to go head-to-head right from the start, but after some preliminary test runs on Wednesday, battling that close caused some visibility issues as the roost from the snow pretty much blinded the drivers. Because of that, a quick decision needed to be made on how to run the race, and the result was a time trial. One driver would take off from the start, and 25 seconds later the other driver would start. This created a lot of excitement for the fans as they watched the stopwatch count down for the second driver. Having that staggered start also created some excitement for the over-under jump, as a few races saw drivers getting jumped over.
The over-under jump created tons of excitement for both the drivers and spectators.
When the day came to a close, Johnson and Greaves—two of the biggest rivals in short-course—were sent to the finals. The two drivers competed in a four-lap race, and once it was over, it appeared that the win was going to Greaves. However, USAC reviewed their tapes and penalized Greaves with a five-second penalty for splitting the ski slaloms. As a result, Johnson was awarded the win, and the championship for the first ever Red Bull Frozen Rush. Menzies was awarded the final spot on the podium after eliminating MacCachren in the two-lap battle for third.
Greaves showing his frustration on Johnson’s truck after narrowly losing to the Red Bull driver.
Todd Leduc and Rob MacCachren kicked off the day by being the first race of the Red Bull Frozen Rush, however; Leduc’s truck struggled with the conditions, which allowed MacCachren to take an easy win.
MacCachren hit speeds of 95 miles per hour as he accelerated down the straight towards the over-under jump.
It looked like it was going to be a tight race between the Ricky Johnson and Carl Renezeder, but a crash on the last lap forced Renezeder to retire early.
It was Bryce Menzies’ first race in a Pro-4, but the young driver looked like a veteran with the rest of his competition. In the semi-finals, Menzies lined up against his teammate Ricky Johnson, and the Las Vegas native narrowly lost by two-tenths of a second.
The closest race of the day, before time deductions were made, went to Rob MacCachren and Johnny Greaves. When Greaves completed his two laps, he sat there and watched the 25-second clock tick down for MacCachren, and when the Rockstar Energy driver crossed the finish line; it appeared to be a tie. After USAC reviewed the tapes, MacCachren was penalized five seconds for splitting a ski slalom, thus giving the win to Greaves.