NEWRY, Maine – Red Bull has made a habit of putting together events that on paper make very little sense, but end up sounding really cool if they actually work. Whether it be racing, jumping, diving, flying, pretending to fly (in the case of flugtag), or otherwise, if a vehicle or human has any possibility of successfully trying something new, they’re going to give it a shot.
A few years ago, racing legend Ricky Johnson, some folks from Red Bull, and others decided if you can race trucks in the sand, why can’t you race them in the snow?
The result was Frozen Rush, which is entering its third year in Maine. Nine drivers, all who have won championships in various racing events, were hand picked to compete at the Sunday River Ski Resort, and they’ll be driving 900-horsepower trucks on a specially made track on one of the ski runs. Each Pro4 truck is equipped with BFGoodrich T/A FR2 all-terrain tires that have been outfitted with more than 700 studs (that look like spikes) which help the tires grip the snow and get the trucks up to 100 mph in some portions of the run.
Qualifying was Thursday, and some trucks already got a little beat up as one caught its rear fender on a snowbank while turning, and another’s nose hit the packed snow hard and did damage to the front end.
What makes this race so much different from other off-roading events is the snow itself. Throughout the day, depending on temperatures and how much the track has been run already, the course can drastically transform and change. Johnson, who qualified in pole position, said his past experience in motocross helps him in situations like this – he can constantly be evaluating the run and try out new tracks or make a snap judgment to take a turn differently.
While last year temperatures dipped down below zero and there was plenty of snow to speak of, this year presents a different challenge. It hasn’t snowed all that much in Maine to this point, and the resort was making millions of gallons of snow in the week leading up to Frozen Rush. There just isn’t enough of a base, though, and there are concerns the trucks will be gripping dirt and mud by the end of the competition. Not that it worries any of the drivers; everyone I’ve spoken with is treating it like any other off-road event.
On Friday, the trucks will race two at a time in a ladder format, and if this year is anything like last year, there could be some pretty crazy results.
The whole event is streaming live (assuming you can’t get up to Maine in time) starting at 11:30 a.m. Eastern on Friday.