Yamaha four-stroke snowmobiles wrapped up the 2012 cross-country racing season in winning style as Ross Erdman commanded the Pro finale aboard his FX Nytro RTX in the Warroad 75 in Warroad, Minn. on Sunday, March 11.
The victory, along with a fifth-place finish on Saturday, gave Erdman second overall in the Pro division. Teammate Ben Lindbom likewise earned second place in the Semi Pro championship after placing fourth on Saturday.
Meanwhile, 1,200 miles to the southwest in Wyoming, Cable Wilford raced to an impressive top-10 finish in the RMSHA Afton Hillclimb on Sunday.
It was the best hillclimb of the year for Wilford and the four-stroke FX Nytro MTX in this extraordinarily difficult competition.
The season-ending cross-country races were held at Minnesota’s enormous Lake of the Woods, with the 10.8-mile course a brutal test of sleds and riders.
Both Erdman and Lindbom excelled in Saturday’s event, leading the first lap in their respective classes before the rough course began favoring a longer-travel setup than the team had selected.
Dissatisfied with their top-five finishes for the day, they revised the suspension settings for Sunday’s contest, where Erdman simply excelled, rocketing his FX Nytro to the win.
Lindbom was equally impressive in his rookie cross-country finale before crashing out, fortunately without injury.
“This was a naturally rough course, like a motocross track frozen solid,” explained crew chief Brian Strawsell. “It all came down to Ross picking better lines.” Yamaha’s Eric Josephsen added, “I am so proud of this team – Brian did a great job getting the sleds ready, and Ross and Ben went out there and rode like champions.”
Over in Wyoming, the 15-gate RMSHA hillclimb was about a half mile long – but virtually straight up. In fact, Wilford described the course as “a half mile of pure vertical spookiness, chockfull of rocks and stumps.”
Just missing the qualifying cutoff for Sunday’s finals were Kody Malmborg in the Pro class, and cousin Kolton Malmborg in Semi Pro Stock 600, leaving Wilford as the only four-stroke pilot in his event.
With each rider getting just one try, Wilford threw himself at the mountain, throttling the FX Nytro up to the seventh gate, an impressive run up a nearly impossible mountain.
“The suspension gave me confidence and the engine gave me the torque I needed to crack the top 10,” he said. Josephsen added, “In just our second RMSHA event, we’ve already evolved the FX Nytro into a viable hillclimb machine, and I can’t wait for the World Championships in Jackson in two weeks!”