Yamaha FX Nytro snowmobiles swept to an impressive tally of four Pro and Semi Pro class wins – and more podiums in Sport and Team categories – in the cross-country races in Phillips, Wis. on Saturday, Feb. 11.
Pro driver Nathan Titus commanded both Pro Sprint and Distance categories, while Semi Pro driver Ben Lindbom drove to victory in the Semi Pro Sprint and Distance events.
Adding to the laurels for the FX Nytro, Yamaha R&D’s Andy Storbeck took home a pair of third-place podium finishes in the amateur Sport category, while Titus and Semi Pro driver Jake Jorgenson teamed up to grab second in the exciting Team race at day’s end.
Laid out adjacent to the shoreline on Wilson Lake, the five-mile Le Mans-style course included dozens of turns – some slow and some plenty fast – plus numerous acceleration chutes, a short island crossing with rolling whoops, and a fast quarter-mile straightaway that netted speeds in excess of 100 mph.
Although the course was covered with a half-foot of snow on Saturday morning, during the day the sleds swept the lake surface clean so that in many cases, the surface became pure ice.
Add in weather conditions that racer Titus called “clear, blue and cold” (meaning sunny with temperatures climbing to just 16 degrees), and the day proved just right for snowmobile racing.
The races used a time-trial format, with drivers leaving the line one by one and then lapping as fast as possible against the clock – with the lowest lap time taking top honors.
While some other classes mixed riders of different skill levels, the Pro category was just that – pros only on course.
Titus drew the number-one starting position and jetted his FX Nytro away with a clear course ahead of him – but also the knowledge that other pros were lined up just behind and hungry to attack.
Naturally, Titus got on the gas and put down fast, smooth laps – four in the Pro Sprint race and seven laps in the longer Pro Distance event. This keen focus – and the FX Nytro’s four-stroke performance – proved ideal for him to take both wins, with an impressive two-minute gap over the next closest pro driver in one race.
“The Yamaha was perfect on a course with so many acceleration zones,” Titus said afterwards. “With tons of midrange, the engine really pulls out of the corners, and it’s got great top end too. In fact the powerband seems almost limitless – while two-stroke sleds have a finite powerband, the FX Nytro comes on and then just keeps pulling.” Yamaha’s Eric Josephsen added, “Talk about versatility! The FX Nytro swept seven classes in a semi-terrain race a week ago, and this weekend the same drivers added four more wins on an ice track. It really shows the adaptability of FX Nytro package.”
Showing that snowmobile drivers are as hardcore as any Baja off-road racer, after the Wisconsin event, Lindbom and his father loaded up and hightailed it 500 miles northwest to Grafton, North Dakota for another cross-country race. Here Lindbom joined Yamaha pro Ross Erdman in attacking a 52-mile terrain race on Sunday morning.
Featuring woods, ditches and lake ice – but very little snow-pack – the course proved as rough as it was long. Erdman crashed out of the Pro race due to the extreme nature of the course, fortunately without injury, but was unable to remount.
For his part, Lindbom soldiered to an admirable sixth-place finish in Semi Pro, despite suffering from a cold and fatigue – and then having to slow with brake fade in his aftermarket racing brake.
Congratulations Ben – and all the other Yamaha racers – on your Ironman efforts!