Punishing – in a word it sums up the massive ski-hill snocross track that confronted Carlson Motorsports racers Johan Lidman and Andrew Carlson for rounds 3 and 4 of the AMSOIL Championship Snocross Series (ACSS) in Bessemer, Michigan. It was a weekend filled with tough luck, unfortunate offs, and in the end a hint of redemption as Lidman finished 6th in Sunday’s Pro-Open main event.
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is often referred to big snow country for its massive lake effect snowfalls that accumulates there every winter. While the snowfall has yet to inundate the region this season, the snowmaking equipment on the slopes of the Blackjack Ski Resort near Bessemer more than made up for the void. The deep snow was then transformed into a challenging snocross track that featured a pair of downhill bombs that proved to be an obstacle for virtually every rider on the tour.
For the Polaris/Arctiva riders of Carlson Motorsports, the weekend was one of battles won and lost starting with Lidman missing his traditional pre-race meal of cabbage roles. Call it hunger pains or bad luck, but the usual “speedy” Swede was missing a gear in qualifying resulting in a poor start and a nasty crash that ultimately forced the hungry Lidman to watch Saturday’s final from the sidelines.
Seeing the struggles of his teammate, Carlson slammed a double shot of Muscle Milk after practice, donned his Thor helmet and managed to salvage a back row start via the Last Chance Qualifier. From there Andrew battled traffic and rode a smart race, capping the day with a top ten finish in ninth.
Vowing to amend his poor Saturday performance, Lidman charged through qualifying enroot to a front row start and ultimately a 6th place finish, besting more than half the field of international heavy hitters.
“That was a perfect example of Johan using his experience and sticking with it,” said team owner Chris Carlson. “He could have packed it in after a very disappointing first day. Instead he charged the track and it speaks volumes about his mental make-up and the determination of this team.” But where Johan faired better on Sunday, the tough luck returned and sunk its teeth into Andrew Carlson in the Pro-Lite competition. A pair of crashes in qualifying and just missing the transfer spot in the last chance race made for an early exit.
“It certainly wasn’t what we were hoping for,” said Chris Carslon at days end. “The good news is we escaped the weekend unscathed, collected some points, and have three weeks of testing, training, and seat-time in front of us before Canterbury. We’ll be ready.”