Nitro Rallycross was forced to make a last-minute format change to its Calgary event last weekend, which led to the round not awarding championship points.
Chinook winds that blew through the western Canadian city before race day led to a reduction in ice on the course at Stampede Park, forcing the majority of Sunday’s multi-car races to be axed in order to preserve the racing surface, and causing the event’s championship status to be pulled.
With more than 20,000 in attendance – and sources confirming to DirtFish that it was not only the best-attended Nitro Rallycross event to-date, but the best-attended standalone North American rallycross event ever – the decision was made to continue the event, despite the less-than-ideal conditions.
Instead, the event took on the ‘Nitro Stampede’ format, with a second round of Battle Bracket head-to-head races taking place on the Sunday, with the top four from the bracket then going into a ‘Super Final’ and the remaining five runners going into a consolation final.
Saturday’s Battle Bracket went the way of Fraser McConnell, the Jamaican channelling “the Cool Runnings spirit,” as he said, to claim victory at the site of the 1988 Winter Olympic Games where the famous Jamaican bobsled team made its popular debut.
McConnell defeated Robin Larsson and Kris Meeke on his way to the final, before defeating Kevin Eriksson. He topped practice, before beating Oliver Eriksson and Andreas Bakkerud.
On Sunday the elder Eriksson once again made the Bracket final, this time falling to Meeke, but in the Super Final he was the only one to make a clean getaway and subsequently dominated proceedings.
He led home Meeke and Travis Pastrana, who fought over the runner-up spot. Pastrana initially had the upper-hand having made the better start, but a mistake in the joker handed the rapid Meeke the advantage later on.
McConnell won the consolation final, ending up in that race after being beaten by Pastrana in the Bracket. Trois-Rivières winner Oliver Eriksson and Oliver Bennett followed him home.
The Nitro RX season will conclude with a double-header event at Glen Helen Raceway in California on March 17-19, with Robin Larsson currently in prime position to claim a maiden title.
Larsson leads the standings by 58 points, more than a typical race weekend’s maximum score.
But with 108 on offer at Glen Helen, he still faces an outside threat from Dreyer & Reinbold Racing JC RX Cartel team-mate Andreas Bakkerud and Fraser McConnell.