Consistency has been the key ingredient when it comes to the Nitrocross title chase this season.
Kevin Eriksson has led the charge for much of the year with five podiums in seven starts – and seven consecutive podiums – but he was finally usurped by Robin Larsson last time out. The reigning champion might have more wins than any other driver in Group E this season, but it wasn’t until the recent visit to Glen Helen Raceway where he finally moved to the top of the standings.
“It’s tight. I had a bad race in Utah, then it’s been pretty consistent, and Kevin’s been also really consistent so it’s really hard,” Larsson said of his title defense. “It’s lot of points now with the new qualification system so you need to be bang on it in the morning. You can’t give anything away, it’s really tight in the championship.”
While the two drivers at the top of the points are veterans, the young guns have also been shining, with Oliver Eriksson winning the first Glen Helen race, and Fraser McConnell – a two-time winner this season – running Larsson close in the second.
“The young guns have started picking up when to push and when to stay calm and think we could see that at Glen Helen – you need consistency in Nitrocross,” said Larsson. “I would say everybody could win, but you need consistency and you need to be making the right decisions the whole day and the whole weekend to be up there.
“After a weekend like this you’re really relieved and it’s not easy to win, the guys are so fast at the top and it’s small margins. I’m just super-happy that we could pull it off.”
Larsson’s season so far is a contrast to his title-winning campaign in 2022-23, where he won the season opener, and controlled the narrative from then on. This time, he didn’t move to the fore until 60 percent of the season was in the books.
“Last year we started off really strong with podiums after podiums, I had the lead from the first event so I could ride with that in my back pocket,” he recalls. “I didn’t need to do anything stupid, I just needed to score podiums and score top points. But this year we’ve been hunting Kevin since event two, but it’s been building up.”
Next up though is the snow and ice of Calgary, a place where Larsson struggled last season, but he’s much more optimistic this time around.
“The ice events were really rough last year. I think Quebec was pretty good but it was still really rough, one of the toughest finals I’ve ever driven,” he admitted. “There were no points there last year, so I was pretty happy about that.
“Ice is cool, ice is fun, it’s going to be fun, Calgary’s bang on it with the audience and everything. I really like it when we go into the cities, so I’m really looking forward to Calgary.”