Ricky Johnson Talks Red Bull Frozen Rush

The 2014 champ discusses the ins and outs of the most innovative truck race in the US.

In 2014, Red Bull Frozen Rush debuted at Sunday River in Maine. Normally hosting skiers and snowboarders, the mountain was taken over by Pro-4 race trucks, because why not? In the racers’ first time taking to the snow, Red Bull Frozen Rush proved to be a completely new challenge to tackle, and in the end, California native Ricky Johnson stood victorious. Ricky is ready to return to Sunday River in 2015 to defend his title, and we managed to grab some words from him about the revolutionary short course truck race:

© Carter Jung/RedBull.com

You were the winner of the inaugural Red Bull Frozen Rush. What’s it like taking the truck to snow at race pace? Does the technique or strategy change at all?

Anytime you get to race a truck somewhere unexpected or out of the ordinary is going to be exciting and as a racer; taking a truck to snow is like a dream come true. The acceleration is similar to dirt but deceleration and braking is quite different and you actually have to use the throttle while pitching the truck side to side in order to slow down. Coincidentally, it’s a lot like slowing down on skis or a snowboard.

What aspects or features of the track were especially difficult with the snowy terrain?

It wasn’t the track or features that were difficult as much as it was general vision and temperatures. At race speeds, the white snowy terrain blurs together and it is hard to make out the definition of the snow. The frigid temperatures also lead to unexpected problems with the truck’s motor like fuel delivery and carburetion.

Ricky Johnson Head On at Red Bul Frozen © Garth Milan/Red Bull Content Pool

Are the racers receptive to such a new style of racing? Do you see it going further?

Every racer that participated last year loved the event and had nothing but good things to say about it afterwards so I’d say we were all receptive. Yes, I’d love to see this style of racing continue.

Switching gears a bit, you made your name racing motocross. What has carried over from your two-wheel career that has allowed you to excel in four-wheel racing?

The confidence of knowing that I was a champion and was able to not only compete with the best in the world, but beat them as well. That is what has really helped me in transitioning to truck racing. Believing in myself and my abilities when I get on the track. Also, motocross is an excellent starting point for any form of off-road racing because it teaches you to read the ever-changing terrain and figure out the fastest way around the track.

Do you feel that same competitive drive racing in the truck versus on the bike?

Definitely. I feel as strong, aggressive and competitive in my truck at 50 years old as I did at 21 on my bike. You know the old saying “with age comes a cage.”

Ricky Johnson Celebrates at Frozen Rush 2014© Garth Milan/Red Bull Content Pool

Red Bull Frozen Rush 2015 will feature a few new faces, and some returning faces as well. Who are you most looking out for, or looking forward to racing?

In the snow, it really could be anyone’s day. There is so much talent in this group of racers that they are all threats, but if I had to pick one: Bryce Menzies. We’ve got some history together as teammates over the last few years and it’s been awesome watching him develop. Since I know what truck he’ll be running, he’ll be tough to beat for sure. Then of course, I always look forward to racing Johnny Greaves.

What is it like showing up at a ski resort like Sunday River and thinking “I’m about to race trucks on that mountain”?

It’s a rush of emotions. Anxiety, anticipation, excitement. Pretty much everything all at once because of the unknown. Having been the first to ever do it is awesome. Now racing with my friends in this environment is amazing.

We’ve now conquered dirt and snow. Where does short course truck racing go from here? Dirt AND snow?

Now the possibilities seem endless, but how about an urban setting like the downtown streets of New York City or in Central Park?

For all the info on Red Bull Frozen Rush, check out the official event page right here.


 

Original post by Eric Wright can be found on redbull.com

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