Red Bull Frozen Rush: The Next Evolution of Off-Road?
Last year, the folks at Red Bull created an event spotlighting Pro 4 off road truck racing – a sport with a large following mainly out west, especially in Southern California. But instead of warm weather and a track of either mud or dirt, Red Bull Frozen Rush tests drivers’ limits on a frigid, snowy track.
The first year found so much success that the energy drink giant brought the event back to Sunday River Ski Resort in Western Maine again this season – and once again the event impressed.
Armed with 900-horsepower engines and specially made studded mud-terrain tires, eight of the best drivers once again put on a show on the ski slope turned race track. And as thousands of onlookers held their breath while Bryce Menzies drove the No. 7 truck to a victory, there was no denying the potential Frozen Rush had to becoming more than just one annual event.
In fact, this event has all the makings of its own series, much like Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series or the even more popular TORC: The Off Road Championship. And most of the participants would agree.
“This is a really cool deal in the snow,” admitted RJ Anderson. “If we can make this work, maybe in the future it can get to where we can race just like we do in the dirt.”
Anderson, 21, was the youngest Frozen Rush 2015 driver and while he’s used to driving Pro 2 trucks – a lighter truck with less horsepower that is only two-wheel drive – and Pro-Lites, he was more than excited to see what he could do. But Anderson came in having never competed in the snow.
“I’m one of the only guys that hasn’t been to Frozen Rush before,” Anderson added. “I’m just here for the good experience and if we can do well, then that’s icing on the cake.”
No matter what age, most of the participants want to see Frozen Rush grow into something more. Take Scott Douglas, for instance. At 54-years-old, Douglas was the oldest participant this year and has made a career out of being one of the most consistent competitors in the sport. He was there last year and realizes just what it’s quickly become in two short years.
“[Red Bull] has taken it to the next level,” said Douglas. “I could definitely see it being a counterpart to the dirt because of the fact that it’s so exciting for the fans.”
However, not all of the drivers share in Douglas’ sentiment.
Ricky Johnson, last year’s Frozen Rush champion, created TORC series after a successful motocross career, so it’s safe to say he knows a thing or two about developing off road racing. But the action sports legend has a different opinion on how Red Bull should evolve the event.
“I wouldn’t like to see this become a series – at the most, maybe a Triple Crown but to try and go more than that is just a little too much,” Johnson claimed. “I like having these Super Bowl-like events, where you’re one and done. You come in with eight contenders and you walk away with one championship.”
It remains to be seen just what Red Bull plans to do with Frozen Rush, part of their Signature Series, although given the success in its first two years and the ability to potentially tap a new market, it seems like a sport destined for numerous competitions throughout the winter. The pieces seem to be in place.
Be sure to catch all of the action of Red Bull Frozen Rush March 1 at 2:00 p.m. ET on NBC.