Elk River, Minn. March 22, 2017 – It has been an incredible ride. For more than 20 years, the Carlson Moto family has spent their winters at snocross tracks across North America. Now Chris Carlson, son and Pro-Open rider Andrew, and the Carlson Moto organization are saying a heartfelt goodbye as they look to focus their future efforts on The Off-Road Championship (TORC) truck racing series.
“It’s been a heck of a run,” said Chris Carlson with a reflective tone. “This sport…these tracks…they’ve been a part of our family for nearly as long as I can remember. Our kids grew up racing and being at the track…snocross has been our second home and we’re grateful for everything this sport has given us.”
Family and racing have always been a close partnership for Chris and his wife, Deb. Both their daughter Taylor and son Andrew grew up racing with their father at regional snocross tracks from the time they were barely old enough to walk. Both progressed to eventually race at the national level. As they did, so too did Carlson Moto, mirroring a belief Chris has followed in all his endeavors - full commitment, maximum effort, and professionalism at every turn.
So many weekends filled with so many memories made this past weekend’s announcement of Andrew Carlson’s retirement from professional snocross, and subsequently the Carlson Moto team's decision to part ways with the national snocross tour, a difficult one.
“Everyone here is part of one big family,” said Chris as he looked across the Lake Geneva track on the final day of competition. “We all support each other…these are really good people. We can’t thank everyone enough…our sponsors, our fans, the great team at ISOC, our competitors... they all mean so much to us.”
Andrew Carlson echoed his father’s thoughts saying, “I’m so thankful for everyone in the snocross community, including my sponsors and fans that supported me along the way. It’s been an amazing ride and I’m just really grateful.”
Turns out the snocross community felt the same way about Chris Carlson, as the International Series of Champions (ISOC) honored him during the year-end banquet as the recipient of the CJ Ramstad Ambassador award. The award recognizes Chris for his unrelenting passion and involvement in the sport and his efforts to support and grow the sport through his team and ERX Motor Park.
While Andrew is walking away from professional snocross racing, he’s not finished with snowmobile racing. Next season he plans to race in select cross-country terrain events sanctioned by the sport’s premiere national tour, the United States X-Country (USXC) Series. Not surprisingly, Chris Carlson and ERX co-owner Todd Plaisted are in discussions with USXC President Brian Nelson about bringing a cross-country event to ERX next winter.
Not to be forgotten is the other Pro-Open rider in the Carlson Moto hauler, Ryan Springer, who will look to continue his promising professional snocross career with another Polaris team next winter. Ryan capped off his season with a pair of top-five finishes at Lake Geneva, positioning himself amongst the fastest in the sport.
As for the future of Carlson Moto, the team is already shifting gears and preparing for their third season of racing in The Off-Road Championship (TORC) truck racing series. Last summer, Andrew earned his first Pro-Lite win while competing at his hometown ERX track in Elk River, Minnesota. Now with an even more determined focus and commitment, Andrew and the Carlson Moto team are looking for more TORC podiums this summer.
The opening rounds of the TORC series are slated for May 13-14 at the Route 66 Raceway in Chicago, Illinois. You can follow the Carlson Moto Team throughout the season on their website www.carlsonmoto.com or on Facebook @CarlsonMoto or Twitter #CarlsonMoto