ROBIN LARSSON WINS 3rd ROUND OF NITROCROSS 2023-24, TOPS GROUP E AT SOLD-OUT UTAH MOTORSPORTS CAMPUS
Casper Jansson Wins NEXT Final,
Tyler Remmereid Takes Checkered Flag in Side-By-Sides
The second stop of Nitrocross 2023-24 culminated with a thrilling Group E final under the lights Saturday night in front of a sold-out crowd at Utah Motorsports Campus. Two years after cars last launched across the venerable facility’s jaw-dropping 130-foot gap jump, Nitrocross returned to its birthplace with a fitting homecoming, both for the series and its founder, Travis Pastrana.
Robin Larsson (SWE), defending Group E Driver Champion, got back on track Saturday following a disappointing result on day one. While Pastrana won Friday’s final, Larsson – who made the podium seven times last season - uncharacteristically did not finish in the top three.
Coming into Saturday however, Larsson shrugged off any disappointment, He first battled through the Last Chance Qualifier to make the final, where he stayed with Kevin Eriksson (SWE) before making a quick pass around him during Kevin’s Joker merge. This seemingly secured a second-place finish for Larsson. However, in a surprise twist, Andreas Bakkerud (NOR) did not take the Joker during the race, resulting in a 30-second penalty that elevated Larsson to first, Eriksson to second, then rallycross icon – and founding Nitrocross driver – Tanner Foust (USA) to third.
Afterwards Larsson said, “You always feel good after a P2 or P3 finish, but a win is something extra, and this weekend we’ve had our struggles. Friday in the final I got into some carnage which left me with a puncture. I just tried to refocus today. But after some small mistakes I had to go through the LCQ. It wasn’t an easy road for sure, but it was such a relief to have a really good start in the final. I knew [winning the final] was going to be really hard to pull off. But after that start, I felt that I had everything I needed to win, and that I could win.”
For Foust, the energy from the sold-out Utah Motorsports Campus added extra competitive fuel for the drivers and made all the difference for the fans: “This is a different sport when there are a lot of people in the stands. It energizes the whole place. Particularly with an electric class, one of the challenges was always, ‘What are you going to do without the car noise?’ Well, when you have a big crowd like this one screaming and yelling and making the noise themselves, you don’t miss it.”
Following his first victory of the season, Larsson currently is in second place in the Group E season standings. Similarly, Eriksson moves into first following back-to-back second place finishes in Utah, along with winning Top Qualifier on Saturday. Bakkerud sits in third while Fraser McConnell (JAM), Round One winner at Oklahoma’s MidAmerica Outdoors, slides back to fourth place while Pastrana, fresh off his Round Three win, moves within striking distance to fifth.
In the NEXT developmental class, reigning global series champion Casper Jansson (SWE) rebounded from a penalty on Friday that kept him off the podium to take first place on day two. Jimmy Henderson (USA) came in second on Saturday, while Patrick Gruszka (USA) scored back-to-back third place finishes in Utah. Racing in front of her hometown fans, Lia Block (USA) narrowly missed the podium Saturday, crossing the finish line less than a second after Gruszka.
Utah’s Side-By-Sides entry list was stacked, featuring Pastrana (pulling double-duty on Saturday in both his FC1-X and a CanAm), Terry Madden (USA), and Gray Leadbetter (USA). Kainan Bakter (USA) also aimed to continue his winning streak after scoring a three-peat, winning both rounds at the Oklahoma season opener as well as day one at UMC. But it was Tyler Remmereid (USA) who threw down in Saturday’s final, winning emphatically to earn his first Nitrocross victory.
The competition for second and third, was tight, however – and fierce. Pastrana flashed his legendary skills to vault from seemingly out of contention at the back of the pack to finish second, while Branden Sorensen (USA) took third, keeping the Sorensen name on the podium following his sister, Amanda Sorensen (USA) and her third-place finish on Friday. In one of the most pulse-pounding moments of the night, Brandan sealed his podium spot with a huge wheel-to-wheel jump alongside UFC icon Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (USA).
Classic Baja Bugs desert racers, along with the mayhem of the Nitro Circus Van Prix, brought the party to round out the event. In the latter, Andrew Coley wanted in on the action, trading the Nitrocross broadcast booth for the driver’s seat of a Dodge minivan that had definitely seen better days.
Road to the Championship Continues:
Nitrocross 2023-24 will encompass 10 rounds spanning nine months set in six locations, ranging from the desert Southwest to the frigid Canadian Rockies. Larsson’s success Saturday gets him closer to hoisting the Ken Block Championship trophy for a second time. But Kevin Eriksson – along with Bakkerud, McConnell, and how Pastrana as well, are very much in the mix.
Next up, Nitrocross returns to the Valley of the Sun – Phoenix, Arizona – for more double-header action November 10-11 at Wildhorse Pass Motorsports Park. Tickets are available now at Nitrocrossracing.com.
For fans that cannot make it out to the track and experience Nitrocross in person, Rumble Sports, the leading platform for live-streaming action sports, will livestream the pulse-pounding action.