Yamaha Factory Racing’s Ross Erdman scored a landmark Pro Open class win aboard his four-stroke FX Nytro in the USCC Pine Lake 100 in Gonvick, Minnesota, on Sunday, Jan. 15.
Not only was Erdman’s victory against a field of rival two-strokes, but it will also go down in history as the FX Nytro’s first-ever USCC pro race win.
Also aboard an FX Nytro, teammate Ben Lindom fought to an unofficial second place in the Semi Pro 600 class, while Erdman likewise ran a strong second in Pro 600 before retiring with a minor mechanical issue just two laps from the finish.
Other FX Nytro racers flying the Yamaha flag were Nathan Titus in Pro 600 and Pro Vet, and Jake Jorgensen in Semi Pro Improved. Unfortunately at press time, official timing and scoring challenges prevented a complete tally of these results.
With little snowfall in the Midwest so far this winter, the USCC postponed its first two cross-country races of the season, and instead quickly created the Pine Lake 100.
Instead of the typical cross-country course, the Pine Lake 100 featured a lengthy 10.2-mile track laid out entirely on the frozen lake. With numerous sweeping turns and long straightaways marked with small orange and black signs, racers needed keen eyesight in the sometimes-blinding snow dust to even follow the course – especially at speeds averaging nearly 80 mph.
Adding to the drama was that officials didn’t even receive final permission to hold the event until the previous Monday night. Fortunately, it all came together on a beautiful Sunday morning that proved historic for the FX Nytro.
The Pro Open race that Erdman and his FX Nytro dominated utilized a time-trial format, with sleds flagged off at half-minute intervals and then running flat out for two laps each.
With such a format, it’s impossible to know how you’re doing against other drivers and so the winning strategy was simply to run hard and fast for the entire race distance of 20.4 miles.
Starting about two-thirds of the way down the 17-rider field, Erdman did just that. A previous winner of the grueling three-day USCC Red Lake 500, Erdman owned not only the aggressiveness and focus needed on Pine Lake, but with the FX Nytro’s stupendous four-stroke power, he also had the performance.
Racer after racer accelerated onto the course, wringing everything possible from both muscles and sleds, and when the final run had been made, Erdman commanded the race and the podium.
“The whole team worked really hard to get this win,” Erdman said afterwards. “All of the machine prep, the fitness regimen and testing showed not just in my results but the rest of the team’s results as well. I’m really happy and looking forward to more wins this season.” Yamaha’s Eric Josephsen added, “I am really impressed with this team because the race got thrown together at the last second. With little testing time on the ice, the guys still did really well, and to come away with a first and hopefully a second – I’m just over the moon!”