A hybrid motocross track littered with obstacles awaited both Utility ATV and Side-x-Side competitors. With a deal in place to broadcast the four-race series on CBS Sports Network, the Pro Side-x-Side field was bursting with top-level talent including Jeff Loyd, Doug Gust, Daryl Rath, and snowmobile backcountry extraordinaire Chris Burandt. Yet it was Carlson in his Muscle Milk Polaris RZR that took the checkers with a win on Friday, followed by Lloyd and Gust.
Combining elements of motocross with a variety of man-made obstacles including telephone poles, rock fields, mud pits, and massive timbers, TerraCross is the ultimate test of machine and driver. Faced with a 10-lap final, drivers must manage the desire the go for it while protecting their equipment as they pound through massive boulders and launch off huge tractor tires.
While Carlson’s win on Friday had everyone in the stands buzzing, it was his come from behind podium on Saturday afternoon that was perhaps even more impressive. Faced with a back row start in a field of 10 pro finalists, Carlson emerged from the turn one melee’ in seventh place. He then carefully managed the 10-lap race to work his way through the field to eventually find himself in the final podium position. While the battle to this point would have been a perseverance victory alone, Carlson wanted more and mounted one final bid for second place. With legendary off-road racer Daryl Rath in front of him and the finish line in sight; Carlson squared up his RZR and mashed the gas over the tires and final jump, rocketing himself past Rath and onto the second podium box. Gust, meanwhile, cruised to the victory by 9.5 seconds.
“The track was brutal,” says Carlson after emerging from his Polaris. “I was picking good lines and playing it safe over the big obstacles for most of the race. But on the final lap I went for it and it paid off.”
Coming from the TerraCross Pro/Am ranks on Friday to lead the field of drivers in points by the close of the weekend will put Carlson in the cross hairs as the TerraCross Championships unfold September 8-9 during the Sno-Barons Haydays World Championships near North Branch, Minn.
As for the Pro Utility ATV class, Rory Beckham took the win on Friday with Rath in second and Jerrod Weckman in third. Saturday’s final saw Rath take the checkers and was joined on the podium by Zac Zakowski in second and Gust in third.
Visit TerraCrossRacing.com for more information on the series. Action from ERX will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network Sunday nights at 8:00pm central July 8, 15, and 22.