Last week we told you about Red Bull’s Frozen Rush competition at Sunday River’s South Ridge in Newry, Maine. Well, as expected, Red Bull put on one hell of a show for fans that showed up to watch the Pro-4 drivers duke it out in the snowy mountain.
The Pro-4 drivers went competed in a heads up competition that consisted of a two-lap time trial battle on the slopes of Sunday River ski resort. The makeshift icy racecourse consisted of tricky slaloms, large bowl turns, huge elevation changes and downright gnarly jumps. Ricky Johnson, Bryce Menzies, Johnny Greaves, Greg Adler, Todd Leduc, Scott Douglas, Rob MacCachren, and Carl Renezeder battled it out for bragging rights to prove who the best driver was at the first ever Red Bull Frozen Rush competition.
Thousands of spectators lined the rolling, snow-covered mountains of the ski resort to catch all of the high octane snow racing action. As for the drivers, navigating through the snowy banks in their 900 horsepower Pro-4 trucks presented more than a few challenges, but it also made for a lot of high speed sideways action in the fresh powder. To get traction in the icy snow, the racers used alloy studded tires, which offered great traction in the snow but as the day wore on, the ruts started getting bigger around the course which caused some difficulties as shadows from the ever-changing skies masked the treacherous grooves. Needless to say, picking the right line became a key to winning the two-lap duel.
Initially, all 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. Having that staggered start also created some excitement for the over-under jump, as a few races saw drivers getting jumped over.
As the competition heated up, two racers fought their way to the top to battle it out for the top spot on the mountain. Ricky Johnson and Johnny Greaves—two of the biggest rivals in short-course racing – faced each other in 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. Bryce Menzies was awarded the final spot on the podium after eliminating MacCachren in the two-lap battle for third.
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.
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.
One thing’s for sure, off-road racing will never be the same and we’re looking forward to the next ski resort showdown!
Check out the awesome video coverage of the 2014 Red Bull Frozen Rush!