After posting the second-fastest qualifying time behind longtime teammate Ricky Johnson, Bryce Menzies fought off competitors and below-zero temperatures to win the 2015 Red Bull Frozen Rush at Maine’s Sunday River Resort. The unique off-road racing event, now in its second year, featured some of the best short-course off-road racers in the country, who battled in a head-to-head competition on a racecourse built on a ski slope. The crowd of 10,000 spectators watched as Menzies dethroned reigning champion Johnson in the finals to claim the crown.
“Ricky’s been my teammate for four years, and he’s pretty much helped me through everything,” said 27-year-old Menzies. “He’s helped me though three championships in Pro 2 and he gave me a lot of advice coming into this race. Our plan was to get me and him in the final and we did it. To start off the season with a win is huge, and I couldn’t be more stoked… and I’ve never been this tired in an off-road race except for the Baja 1000.”
The excitement started early in the last chance qualifier, with Todd Leduc facing off against Carl Renezeder. Renezeder got a bad start, and Leduc grabbed a huge lead right off the starting line. But Renezeder was able to make up time throughout the course, and was only a truck length behind Leduc when the two cars came back together. Renezeder had the outside line into the final turn, and was able to muscle past Leduc to take the near photo finish win. The quarterfinals featured another close matchup when veteran Rob MacCachren had to fight back from a slow start to catch 21 year-old RJ Anderson in the final turn. Anderson tried to put a move on MacCachren, but the veteran deftly positioned his truck to blind Anderson in his thick snow roost and secure the win. The rest of the quarterfinal round saw Scott Douglas, Ricky Johnson and Bryce Menzies take commanding wins over Chad Hord, Carl Renezeder and Brian Deegan, respectively.
In the semifinal round, the course length for each race doubled and each truck needed to complete four laps (instead of two as in the quarterfinals) to advance. In the first race, Bryce Menzies continued to display his mastery on snow, taking and holding an early lead against the formidable MacCachren to advance to the finals. One of the most anticipated matchups was Johnson versus Douglas, and it didn’t disappoint. With the track getting rougher and the snow getting softer and more slippery, the two fought to keep their trucks headed in the right direction. The race was close until Douglas pushed a bit too hard and broke traction in the chicane. In doing so, he ended up in the fence, losing valuable time and securing Johnson’s place in the finals. In an exciting race for third, MacCachren and Douglas traded the lead back and forth, ultimately coming together in the final turn. Again, the inside lane proved crucial, and MacCachren got it, held it, and snatched the win.
The finals set up a showdown between former teammates Johnson and Menzies, who raced together on the Menzies Motorsports team for the past four years. Off the line, the two trucks were close, with Johnson pulling slightly ahead and almost forcing Menzies to run up over his rear. As the two trucks split on the course, Johnson got crossed up on the first jump and skidded sideways off the landing. He minimized the mistake, but it would prove costly, as it gave Menzies a solid lead headed into the six-lap final. Johnson spent the next five laps trying to catch Menzies, but the young driver refused to make any significant mistakes. While Johnson was able to gain ground, it was not enough, and Menzies took the Red Bull Frozen Rush Championship.
1. Bryce Menzies
2. Ricky Johnson
3. Rob MacCachren
4. Scott Douglas
5. Chad Hord
6. RJ Anderson
7. Brian Deegan
8. Carl Renezeder
9. Todd Leduc