Four-stroke Yamaha FX Nytro racers took a pair of wins and three additional podium finishes in cross-country and hill-climb competition in three states over the Feb. 18-19 and Feb. 25-26 weekends.
On Saturday, Feb. 25, the Oslo 100 national proved the best terrain race of the year so far, thanks to a snowy 25.8-mile course featuring plenty of road ditches packed deep with welcoming snow. But the weather – a brutal 10 degrees below zero – gave even the hardiest snowmobile racers painfully cold hands and cheeks. Pro racers started first at 15-second intervals, followed by Semi-Pro riders. Ross Erdman drew the sixth grid position for his Pro race, and had a single lap to demolish the competition. He nearly did it too, posting a sizzling 23 min. 25.8 sec. lap time – just 6.4 sec. behind the eventual winner – good for second place.
Next up, Ben Lindbom destroyed the Semi-Pro field with a winning time of 23 min. 42.3 sec. – a pro-caliber performance. Both FX Nytro RTX drivers are now second in the standings. “We are definitely in this series for the championships,” says Yamaha’s Eric Josephsen. “The guys are hungry, and we’ll play it right down to the end.”
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One week earlier, Eric Frigon won the Semi-Pro class in the Madawaska 100 cross-country race in Madawaska, Maine. With one win already under his belt this year, Frigon went into the second leg of the three-round eastern-region cross-country event focused on making it two in a row. The 5.1-mile course featured mostly fields, with a small section of woods and even a sliver of frozen pond for good measure. Starting far downfield in the time-trial event format, Frigon adopted a simple strategy – ride like the wind, and make sure he continually caught and passed competitors. “This sled sure has got some power,” says Frigon of his Yamaha FX Nytro RTX. “Other racers came up to me afterwards and said, ‘I had no chance of keeping up!’ I also have an onboard camera, and when you see how fast the FX Nytro leaves the other riders in the dust, it’s impressive.” Frigon now leads in points with just one round remaining.
The same day as Frigon’s heroics in Madawaska, Kody Malmborg took second in the New Rider Open Mod class at the RMSHA Bear Lake Hillclimb in Montpelier, Idaho. He also took finished second in the Team Race with cousin Kolton. While the hill only stretched a quarter mile or so, it was like a double black-diamond ski run – so vertical that losing control would guarantee a long, frightening tumble. And making it even harder, snowmobiles had to zigzag through a series of slalom gates on the way up. In all, the course required massive acceleration from the sleds and lightning reflexes from the drivers. Yamaha’s first official hill-climb competition in over a decade brought great results despite thin snow conditions that exposed dirt, rock and ragged stutter-bumps in some places. “We didn’t quite win this one but we were competitive,” says Josephsen. “We also learned a lot and proved that the four-stroke Nytro MTX can do anything that a two-stroke can.”