Frozen Rush: Ricky Johnson Wins Inaugural Race
Off-Road - Newry, ME
Eight seasoned off-road truck racers from the TORC and LOORS series entered the Sunday River ski resort today. And after battling each other one-on-one in a heads-up elimination format, Ricky Johnson emerged victorious at first Red Bull Frozen Rush.
The path to the podium was not easy. The much-ballyhooed polar vortex dropped the temperatures early in the week, setting the frigid tone for Frozen Rush. Temperatures hovered in the single digits all week in Newry, Maine, keeping the ski slopes blanketed in snow throughout the competition. The first practice day was on Wednesday, where most of the drivers first had the opportunity to drive on the ski slopes and Thursday was qualifying.
On race day Friday, over 10,000 spectators lined up along the course carved out of the mountain that’s normally a ski slope. The format of the head-to-head festivities was a bracketed, single-elimination with two drivers on the course at the same time. Each race consists of two laps with drivers alternating between the red and blue course with time penalties added for false starts and missed gates. All of the competitors would drive an all-wheel drive Pro 4 race truck.
In the top eight, number one seeded driver Rob MacCachren took out Todd DeLuc and Johnny Greaves beat out Scott Douglas. In the next match, Ricky Johnson advanced after Carl Renezeder overcooked an exit and crashed into a concrete barrier. Bryce Menzies win over Greg Adler sealed the first round of battles.
In the semi-finals, Johnny Greaves and Rob MacCachren both put down clean runs, however MacCachren was assessed a five-second penalty giving Greaves a pass to the finals. Ricky Johnson and Bryce Menzies’s semi-final heat was among the tightest of the day with Johnson narrowly beating Menzies by 0.2 second. Afterwards, Menzies would beat MacCachren in the fight for third place, earning a spot on the podium. For Menzies, this was a huge accomplishment considering he normally competes in a two-wheel drive Pro 2 truck.
For the final round of Frozen Rush, off-road archrivals Ricky Johnson and Johnny Greaves were staged up against each other. Greaves is the current TORC Pro 4 champion (2013) and Johnson won it the two years prior (2012 and 2011). It couldn’t have been scripted any better. After an extended four rounds of white roost-filled racing, Greaves finished the heat in 196.608 seconds and Johnson in 196.848. Greaves completed the finals 0.24 sec. faster, however he was assessed a five second penalty for hitting a gate thereby giving Johnson a 4.76 sec. advantage and the title of the 2014 Red Bull Frozen Rush champion.
RED BULL FROZEN RUSH PODIUM:
1st Ricky Johnson
2nd Johnny Greaves
3rd Bryce Menzies
To see how it all went down, tune into the Red Bull Signature Series broadcasting on NBC at 3 p.m. ET on February 2nd.
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