Carlson Motorsports Experiences Mixed Bag Payout at Blackjack Nats

Johan Lidman

Punishing – in a word it sums up the massive ski-hill snocross track that confronted Carlson Motorsports racers Johan Lidman and Andrew Carlson for rounds 3 and 4 of the AMSOIL Championship Snocross Series (ACSS) in Bessemer, Michigan. It was a weekend filled with tough luck, unfortunate offs, and in the end a hint of redemption as Lidman finished 6th in Sunday’s Pro-Open main event.

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is often referred to big snow country for its massive lake effect snowfalls that accumulates there every winter. While the snowfall has yet to inundate the region this season, the snowmaking equipment on the slopes of the Blackjack Ski Resort near Bessemer more than made up for the void. The deep snow was then transformed into a challenging snocross track that featured a pair of downhill bombs that proved to be an obstacle for virtually every rider on the tour.

For the Polaris/Arctiva riders of Carlson Motorsports, the weekend was one of battles won and lost starting with Lidman missing his traditional pre-race meal of cabbage roles. Call it hunger pains or bad luck, but the usual “speedy” Swede was missing a gear in qualifying resulting in a poor start and a nasty crash that ultimately forced the hungry Lidman to watch Saturday’s final from the sidelines.

Seeing the struggles of his teammate, Carlson slammed a double shot of Muscle Milk after practice, donned his Thor helmet and managed to salvage a back row start via the Last Chance Qualifier. From there Andrew battled traffic and rode a smart race, capping the day with a top ten finish in ninth.

Vowing to amend his poor Saturday performance, Lidman charged through qualifying enroot to a front row start and ultimately a 6th place finish, besting more than half the field of international heavy hitters.

“That was a perfect example of Johan using his experience and sticking with it,” said team owner Chris Carlson. “He could have packed it in after a very disappointing first day. Instead he charged the track and it speaks volumes about his mental make-up and the determination of this team.”

But where Johan faired better on Sunday, the tough luck returned and sunk its teeth into Andrew Carlson in the Pro-Lite competition. A pair of crashes in qualifying and just missing the transfer spot in the last chance race made for an early exit.

“It certainly wasn’t what we were hoping for,” said Chris Carslon at days end. “The good news is we escaped the weekend unscathed, collected some points, and have three weeks of testing, training, and seat-time in front of us before Canterbury. We’ll be ready.”

Carlson Motorsports Riders Impress in ISOC National Season Debut

Johan Lidman

The Carlson Motorsports Team greeted the debut of the 2012 ISOC National Snocross season with new iron, new sponsors, and renewed vigor resulting in a performance that exceeded expectations. Both Johan Lidman (Pro-Open) and Andrew Carlson (Pro-Lite) impressed early with qualifying victories, and were featured riders in both Saturday’s and Sunday’s main events. Carlson fought for a well earned top five finish Saturday while Johan flashed his Swedish holeshot speed card finishing just outside the podium in Sunday’s Pro main event.

Living up to its billing as the most anticipated and watched national snocross race of the season, Duluth national didn’t disappoint as thousands of fans lined the “bull-ring” style track on the slopes of Spirit Mountain, while tens of thousands more watched online. Warm weather and hint of sleet in the air, made the nasty and challenging track all the more difficult as riders attempted to find the best line down a landmine riddled descent. Those who chose wisely were rewarded, while those who didn’t often found themselves out of the race.

Andrew Carlson

Carlson Earns Top Ten Spot Both Days
Carlson Motorsports Polaris/Arctiva rider Andrew Carlson was one of those riders who was rewarded, as he bombed his new Polaris ride down the backside of Spirit to take a commanding lead and an opening heat race win. He followed it up with a second place rally giving him a front row start in the final as the number four qualifier on the day. With a final field of 15 sleds and 12 laps, Carlson managed to ride smart, avoid the “big-one”, and open the season with a 5th place finish.

In Pro-Open, the svelte and speedy Johan Lidman hit the Duluth slopes with determination. After experiencing a steep learning curve in his rookie season last year, Johan spent the off-season training in preparation for the grind of the national tour. With a qualifying victory and front row start in Saturday’s Pro-Open main event, the hard work appears to be paying dividends. Chaos and carnage on the track however, forced the Svede to settle for a hard fought 8th place finish and to refocus for Sunday’s return.

When day two dawned, warm temps were replaced by a brisk north wind and track conditions changed dramatically, forcing crews to scramble in search of the elusive winning set-up. Fortunately for the Carlson Motorsports gang, Rick Strobel and his FOX Racing Shox crew were on hand and kept the team’s Fox Evol shocks tuned perfectly for conditions.

In Pro-Lite, Carlson once again qualified for the front row, but a chaotic start, which featured 15 sleds all vying for the same chunk of turn-one real-estate, shuffled Carlson back in the field where he battled for a respectable 8th place finish.

Lidman Narrowly Misses Podium in Main Event
Sunday proved to be a struggle for Lidman as well, who had to qualify for the main event via the LCQ and was forced to start the 20-lap main from the back row. But as the crew learned last year, never count a sneaky Swede out of the race. At the start, Johan left the line as if he were shot of a cannon, blitzed turn one, and emerged in third place. It was a position he nearly held to the end, but was overcome by a hard-charging Hibbert in the closing laps, forcing Lidman to settle for 4th at the close.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled or impressed with how our team performed,” said team owner Chris Carlson. “Our mechanics and riders not only adapted to the new Polaris sleds, but we feel we are just a few tweaks away from having our set-ups nailed.”

With two weeks of preparation between now and the next ISOC National in Bessemer, Michigan, the team is poised to improve and challenge for a podium. “With a Swede and a couple of hardheaded Scandinavians in the trailer, we have what I like to call “smorgasbord chemistry,” smirked Carlson as the team packed up from the Duluth weekend. “Let’s just say we’re hungry and we will be ready to eat in Michigan in two weeks.”

Carlson Motorsports Signs With Polaris

Elk River, MN; (July 28, 2011) – After a long and successful run with Arctic Cat, National snocross race team Carlson Motorsports will make the switch to Polaris for the 2012 winter racing season. The two-year agreement and change to Roseau red comes on the heels of a season that saw first year Swedish pro Johan Lidman capture the International Series of Champions (ISOC) Pro Privateer of the Year Award, and in the process gain the knowledge and experience to make a serious podium challenge this winter.

Once again joining Johan in the Sportech Racing hauler will be rising-star Andrew Carlson, who aboard Polaris will now compete in the newly formed ISOC Pro-Lite division. Carlson, who was a Semi-Pro rookie last season, showed incredible poise and speed in a class stacked with talent. With the top five semi-pro riders from last season now having to advance to the Pro-Open class, the podium window is wide open for Carlson who returns with a year of high-level national experience and a behind-the-scenes team deep with talent and championship caliber equipment.

“It was a tough decision to make,” said Team Owner Chris Carlson on the move to Polaris after 10 years with Arctic Cat. “Arctic Cat has been a tremendous company to race for and I have the utmost level of respect for their organization and the people who work there. But this was the right move for the team at the right time. Polaris recognized we’re a team on the rise, and by joining together with them (Polaris), we have the pieces in place to reach our goals. Our whole team is excited about the change, and we’re already impressed with the level of professionalism we’ve seen with Polaris Racing, and it’s only July.”

Led by long-time snowmobile racing veteran Tom Rager, who serves as the Polaris Racing Director, the Roseau brand has been a dominant force in snocross since introducing the race specific IQ competition snowmobile in 2006. Along with that race-winning sled, Rager and Polaris have assembled an evolving stable of talented riders and the organization is excited to have Lidman and Carlson on board for the coming season.

“Bringing them (Carlson Motorsports) on board not only gives us two top caliber racers but perhaps more importantly, the Carlson team is viewed as one of the most respected and well run teams in the business,” said Rager. “Chris (Carlson) is a stand up owner, who does exactly what he says and comes to every race ready to compete. The entire Polaris organization is proud to have him and his team on board.”

Along with the move to Polaris, the Carlson Motorsports team will work with legendary Polaris engine developer and tuner Rich Felegy. With an undisputed resume for building wicked fast, yet incredibly durable performance engines, Felegy will focus on engine development, testing, and calibration for the Carlson Motorsports Polaris Team. Felegy is fully committed to the team, and will be working at the race shop and at the team’s ERX Motor Park test facility in Elk River throughout the season.

“The first race at Duluth is still three months away, but we feel like we’ve already got some powerful momentum with the team,” said Carlson. “The switch to Polaris… the opportunity to work with Felegy… and having both our riders returning better prepared and more focused than ever before has all the makings for a perfect storm.”

To learn more about Carlson Motorsports and how your company or brand can partner and share in their success, visit their website at

News Rumors And Things To Think About 2.0

The Vet 30+ class at the ISOC Nationals is set to explode during the next few seasons. The class already boasts names such as Reimer, Tate, Schultz and Bauerly and this season T.J. Gulla and Robbie Malinoski are eligible to race it. Hard to believe, but next year Levi LaVallee will be eligible too.

Kody Kamm

Kody Kamm finished 29th in the 250 class at the Red Bud National in Buchanan, Michigan, this past July 2. The 17-year-old Polaris racer from Kenosha, Wisconsin, rides a Yamaha YZ250F and finished 24th and 28th in his two motos.

If you haven’t heard, Logan Christian messed up his knee racing the Canadian Nationals. He should be back ready to race Duluth.

Despite our predictions of a new buggy, sources are telling us Polaris does not have a new race chassis coming for the 2012 season. It’s amazing – they’re going on seven seasons with that buggy in an era when three years is a lifetime. We’ll predict a new chassis again next year because one of these years we’ll be right and then we’ll look like geniuses.

We got the scoop on the whole Jeff Goodwin deal. Goodwin and BRP parted ways back in May, leaving Marcel Imbault as interim Race Manager. We don’t want to air too much dirty laundry, all we’ll say is Goodwin was let go, he did not quit.

More on race sleds – Ski-Doo’s racer should be very similar to last years. Also, some may remember sledRacer revealed Cat would have a new race buggy based on the ProCross chassis. They were testing the sled at Ski Gull in Brainerd last Spring and out West this summer. While we’re still sure the sled will use the ProCross chassis, we found out that the new racer will look nothing like what the boys were shaking down at Ski Gull.

What will Johan Lidman's buggy look like in 2012?

If they’re not out already (and posted here on sledRacer) two major teams have or will announce big changes to rider and/or brand lineups.

It seems the Soo has been attracting a lot more attention in recent years. With the announcement of P.J. Wanderscheid and Gary Moyle riding for Cadarette Racing, add in guys like Gabe Bunke who will have two sleds again, DL Racing who will have two sleds with Justin Tate and Shane Felegy riding again, Corey Davidson and all the other Soo veterans and it should be one of the strongest fields seen in decades. And let’s not forget, last year Bryan Dyrdahl and D.J. Ekre nearly ran the Soo too. Hmm, 2012 may be a good year to take a little drive up to the UP!

Are you going to Arctic Cat’s 50th Anniversary Celebration at the end of the month? We are. SledRacer will be meetin’ and greetin’ probably on Saturday and I’ll be hangin’ at the USCC rig at some point during the day.

FIM Snowcross World Championship Rider List

Finnish Lynx rider Janne Jurvelin will be looking to win his first FIM Snowcross World Championship this weekend. photo: Janne Vuojärvi, Wolmedia/

The rider list for the 2011 FIM Snowcross World Championship set to take place this weekend in Tuuri, Finland, includes 46 riders from seven different countries including the United States, Russia, Sweden, Finland and Norway. Notables include reigning World Champion Tucker Hibbert, European Snowcross Champion, Nordic Champion and 8-time Finnish champion Janne Jurvelin, 2011 European Snowcross Champion Magnus Lindback, Team Sportech Racing rider Johan Lidman, Warnert Racing rider Emil Ohman, Christian Brothers Racing riders Logan Christian and Garth Kaufman and Hulten Speed Sports rider Christian Salemark. See the entire list here.

Scandinavian Invasion: The Results

Swedish rider Johan Lidman made his Duluth debut count.

The AMSOIL Duluth National Snocross was going on some 4,000 miles from Sweden, but thanks to the wonders of modern technology and the Internet fans of snocross racer Johan Lidman were able to watch him nearly score a podium finish in his first ever race in America. Lidman was just one of 10 Scandinavians racing at Duluth, an unprecedented number even for a race that attracts its fair share of foreign riders.

Johan Lidman got a great start in the Pro Super Stock final Saturday night, coming out in second place but he went off the track and by the time he got back on it was too late and he finished 15th. Lidman had a good run in qualifying for Sunday’s

[Read more...] Does The Duluth National

The Duluth track sent riders around the track clockwise instead of counter-clockwise as in years past.

What a difference a year makes. Last year the Duluth National Snocross was delayed because temperatures leading up to the race were too warm to make enough snow. This year? The snow piles were so high the crowd had trouble seeing over them. Plus, the Duluth area had at least 6-8 inches of natural snowfall leading up to the race. It made for a white thanksgiving as well as for a really sweet race weekend.

We spent two days at Duluth prowling the pits and checking out the racing. The way Duluth goes you could spent a week there and not see and do everything, but here are a bunch of photos that we hope will make you feel like you were there. Read on as sledRacer takes you on a journey to the Duluth National Snocross.

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Duluth 2010: The Scandinavian Invasion

Emil Ohman had a huge 2010 season on the ISOC Nationals with five podiums and a third place finish in Super Stock points.

by Petter Fagerström (

It seems every year some Scandinavians show up at Duluth to try their hand at racing in the U.S. But this season Duluth will see a small-scale invasion of Scandinavian riders from Sport Stock to the Pros. And they’re not here just to say they raced Duluth anymore, they are here to win. In the Pros we will see No. 52 Johan Lidman, a rider who had a historic season in Sweden last year. Lidman won the Swedish championship twice and finished second behind Tucker Hibbert in the FIM World Championship held in Sweden. Johan has been to Duluth before and won the Junior 16-17 class three years ago. Fans will be familiar with Emil Öhman – he raced the entire season with Warnert Racing last year and ended up third in Pro Super Stock points and with a full season of racing under his belt he should rack up better results this season. Christian Salemark has been racing here for a couple years, but had a season full of injures last year. He had a monster Duluth showing two years ago as a Semi-Pro and is back and racing Pro this year. Norwegian Pro Magnus Lindbäck ran some really good races last year in Scandinavia and if he finds the pace he will be at the front. Read on as we take a short look at the Scandinavians that will be racing at Duluth this weekend.

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Lidman Joins Team Sportech Racing

Johan Lidman's from Sweden and he's fast.

Johan Lidman's from Sweden and he's fast.

One of the most talented, up and coming snocross stars in the world is coming to race against the best of the best in the International Series of Champions (ISOC) National tour this winter. Nineteen year‐old Johan Lidman (pronounced, “leed‐man”) will join the Team Sportech Racing effort for the 2010‐2011 season and will compete in the pro ranks for the entire ISOC National tour.

Johan is no stranger to success, having won both the Swedish National Championship and the Swedish Super Stadium Snocross Championship last season. But despite those impressive year‐end accomplishments, North American snocross fans may best recognize Johan for one race in particular during the FIM Snocross World Championship in Mala, Sweden this past April. It was here, where another accomplished racer, Tucker Hibbert, was abruptly introduced to the speed and ability of Lidman, when Johan rocketed past Hibbert for the lead in the second round of racing. While Hibbert eventually went on to win the race and the World Championship, Lidman finished second overall and almost instantly became a global snocross sensation with his impressive showing.

“Johan really captured our attention with his outstanding performance on the track last year,” said Team Sportech Racing owner and manager Chris Carlson. “There’s no question in my mind that this young man can compete with the best riders in the sport.”

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