Elk River, MN (Nov 28, 2011) — The Carlson Motorsports Team greeted the debut of the 2012 ISOC National Snocross season with new iron, new sponsors, and renewed vigor resulting in a performance that exceeded expectations. Both Johan Lidman (Pro-Open) and Andrew Carlson (Pro-Lite) impressed early with qualifying victories, and were featured riders in both Saturday’s and Sunday’s main events. Carlson fought for a well earned top five finish Saturday while Johan flashed his Swedish holeshot speed card finishing just outside the podium in Sunday’s Pro main event.
Living up to its billing as the most anticipated and watched national snocross race of the season, Duluth national didn’t disappoint as thousands of fans lined the “bull-ring” style track on the slopes of Spirit Mountain, while tens of thousands more watched online. Warm weather and hint of sleet in the air, made the nasty and challenging track all the more difficult as riders attempted to find the best line down a landmine riddled descent. Those who chose wisely were rewarded, while those who didn’t often found themselves out of the race.
Carlson Earns Top Ten Spot Both Days
Carlson Motorsports Polaris/Arctiva rider Andrew Carlson was one of those riders who was rewarded, as he bombed his new Polaris ride down the backside of Spirit to take a commanding lead and an opening heat race win. He followed it up with a second place rally giving him a front row start in the final as the number four qualifier on the day. With a final field of 15 sleds and 12 laps, Carlson managed to ride smart, avoid the “big-one”, and open the season with a 5th place finish.
In Pro-Open, the svelte and speedy Johan Lidman hit the Duluth slopes with determination. After experiencing a steep learning curve in his rookie season last year, Johan spent the off-season training in preparation for the grind of the national tour. With a qualifying victory and front row start in Saturday’s Pro-Open main event, the hard work appears to be paying dividends. Chaos and carnage on the track however, forced the Svede to settle for a hard fought 8th place finish and to refocus for Sunday’s return.
When day two dawned, warm temps were replaced by a brisk north wind and track conditions changed dramatically, forcing crews to scramble in search of the elusive winning set-up. Fortunately for the Carlson Motorsports gang, Rick Strobel and his FOX Racing Shox crew were on hand and kept the team’s Fox Evol shocks tuned perfectly for conditions.
In Pro-Lite, Carlson once again qualified for the front row, but a chaotic start, which featured 15 sleds all vying for the same chunk of turn-one real-estate, shuffled Carlson back in the field where he battled for a respectable 8th place finish.
Lidman Narrowly Misses Podium in Main Event
Sunday proved to be a struggle for Lidman as well, who had to qualify for the main event via the LCQ and was forced to start the 20-lap main from the back row. But as the crew learned last year, never count a sneaky Swede out of the race. At the start, Johan left the line as if he were shot of a cannon, blitzed turn one, and emerged in third place. It was a position he nearly held to the end, but was overcome by a hard-charging Hibbert in the closing laps, forcing Lidman to settle for 4th at the close.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled or impressed with how our team performed,” said team owner Chris Carlson. “Our mechanics and riders not only adapted to the new Polaris sleds, but we feel we are just a few tweaks away from having our set-ups nailed.”
With two weeks of preparation between now and the next ISOC National in Bessemer, Michigan, the team is poised to improve and challenge for a podium. “With a Swede and a couple of hardheaded Scandinavians in the trailer, we have what I like to call “smorgasbord chemistry,” smirked Carlson as the team packed up from the Duluth weekend. “Let’s just say we’re hungry and we will be ready to eat in Michigan in two weeks.”
Pro-Open 1 Saturday // Johan Lidman // 8th
Pro-Lite 1 Saturday // Andrew Carlson // 5th
Pro-Open 2 Sunday // Johan Lidman // 4th
Pro-Lite 2 // Andrew Carlson // 8th