It was another beautiful day at Sunday River Ski Resort however today it was punctuated by the sound of snarling Pro 4 race trucks blasting snow 30 feet into the air on a one-of-a-kind course filled with jumps, rollers and sweeping turns. For the third year in a row, the sound of 900 horsepower off-road trucks echoed through the mountains of Maine as Red Bull Frozen Rush returned to Sunday River Resort. The Red Bull Frozen Rush format features head-to-head, bracketed, single elimination racing with two drivers on the course at a time.
The world’s only off-road Pro-4 truck race on snow brought nine of the world’s best drivers to the Northeast to test their mettle and go head-to-head on a track built into the ski hill. The 10,000 spectators in attendance witnessed Bryce Menzies defeat his former teammate Ricky Johnson and claim the top spot on the podium.
In 2015, the drivers faced unbelievably cold conditions, with the thermostat dipping well below freezing and into negative degree temperatures. However this year was a different story, as the 30-degree temperature range and unseasonably mild November and December brought very little snow to the area and complicated the construction of the track. But last minute snowfall coupled with the exhaustive snow blowing efforts of Sunday River allowed the event to continue as scheduled.
The warm-weather conditions and shallow snow base created an extremely variable and technical course with little traction. While off-road trucks are known for their ability to find traction in places other vehicles can’t – dirt, rocks, sand and mud – snow is completely different entity. To combat this issue, each race truck was specially modified with specially designed Mud-Terrain tires from BFGoodrich’s Research and Development team. These one-of-a kind tires feature almost 700 metal studs on each tire, providing maximum grip and control.
Defending champion Bryce Menzies and 2014 champion Ricky Johnson fought their way through the field to set up a repeat of the 2015 finals. Off the line, the two trucks were neck-in-neck, with Menzies eventually taking a slight lead. A scary moment occurred mid-race when Johnson was blinded by snow spray and almost crashed his truck end over end. Johnson was able to counteract the impending wreck and keep his truck on the course, but by that time Menzies had pulled far ahead, securing the win.
“It’s a lot of pressure being the reigning champion,” said Bryce Menzies. “Everyone kept asking if I was going to win again. It wasn’t easy last year, and I knew it wouldn’t be easy this year. I’m just glad I was able to pull it off…”