Bryce Menzies’ first trip to Sunday River for last year’s Red Bull Frozen Rush ended with a third place finish in a rented Pro 4 and a win for teammate Ricky Johnson. This year, after essentially swapping trucks with Johnson, he claimed the crown in the second annual event over the defending winner.
“This year, we had to do head-to-head, side-by-side racing, and it was pretty intense,” Menzies said after the victory. “In the main, it was me and Ricky, and this track went away. It was so rough. I think the key was to be consistent and smooth, and that’s what we did.
“It feels really good to get the win here. We do this one time a year, and to start the season off (this way), I couldn’t ask for anything better.”
Menzies’ trip to the final wasn’t easy. After qualifying second, he had to beat two off-road legends—Brian Deegan in the first quarterfinal matchup and Rob MacCachren in the semifinals in a rematch of last year’s third place race. Meanwhile, polesitter Johnson took down LCQ winner Carl Renezeder in round one and Scott Douglas, who prepared Johnson’s truck this week, in round two.
In the final, extended to six laps from four last year, Johnson got off the line first and benefitted from an early mistake by Menzies, but the defending champion clipped a wall himself shortly thereafter. He drove valiantly to chase down his former teammate, but in the end the Las Vegas native prevailed for his first event win.
“As an individual, I’m (frustrated) that we lost,” Johnson said after the climactic race. “But as Bryce’s teammate, and as someone who’s worked with him and knows what he’s all about, I’m really proud of him. The sport has evolved, and (Frozen Rush) keeps getting better and better each year. I hope it sticks around!”
Meanwhile, MacCachren found himself in the four-lap trophy race for the second year in a row, where he faced off with Douglas. Unlike last year, where he couldn’t quite top Menzies for third, the five-time Baja 1000 winner was able to claim the bronze medal this time around.
“Every lap we came around the track was different,” MacCachren explained. “We really tried to stay out of the fluff, the real heavy snow—it was better to stay at the bottom of it to try and get grip. If you got out in the fluff, it just bogged you down. But going so many laps, having more trucks than last year, and the weather, the snow just wasn’t as hard, and made it very difficult and technical, but I think it made for great racing and a lot of excitement.”
Unlike last year’s event, which featured a time attack format, the second annual Red Bull Frozen Rush featured the trucks competing side-by-side in multiple portions of the 1.5-mile course. Two lanes, a red and blue lane, were constructed, with drivers alternating between lanes each lap. Besides specially-designed studded BF Goodrich tires, large flaps were added to the back of each truck to mitigate roost and make side-by-side racing possible.
A replay of Red Bull Frozen Rush is available to watch on demand at http://win.gs/livestream. The race will be broadcast on NBC on Sunday, March 1 at 2PM ET.
Photo credit: Matt Kalish