Nitro RX Calgary 2023 Recap
Nitro Rallycross broke with convention for its first trip to Calgary by hosting the first-ever ‘Nitro Stampede’, but it was Olsbergs MSE that once again took home the trophy, this time with Kevin Eriksson emerging victorious just as his brother Oliver had two weeks ago.
More than 20,000 people turned out to watch the series’ first-ever event in the Western Canadian city – the largest crowd to-date not just in Nitro RX, but in North American rallycross history.
However, unusually high temperatures necessitated a format change, bringing two days of head-to-head Battle Bracket races before a showpiece final and the dropping of championship points being awarded for this round.
Just like in Trois-Rivières, Fraser McConnell was the man to beat on Saturday, fending off the elder Eriksson brother after defeating Robin Larsson and Kris Meeke en route. Eriksson meanwhile had to defeat Oliver Eriksson and Andreas Bakkerud.
In Sunday’s bracket, Kevin Eriksson was once again a finalist, defeating Oliver again, and Conner Martell on his way there. Much like Saturday though, he would fall at the final hurdle – this time to Meeke who beat Xite Energy Racing team-mate Oliver Bennett and Travis Pastrana beforehand.
The bracket victory gave Meeke pole position for the ‘Super Final’, but Kevin Eriksson would quickly take revenge for his bracket loss, making the best start in the field to comfortably win by a massive 15.579s lead.
Meeke and Pastrana were left squabbling over second, with Meeke prevailing, while Martell – the remaining runner in the four-car final – retiring on the first lap after colliding with a track marker pole.
McConnell backed up his Saturday bracket win by triumphing in the consolation final, where beat Oliver Eriksson and Oliver Bennett, while the Dreyer & Reinbold Racing JC RX Cartel duo of Robin Larsson and Andreas Bakkerud took fourth and fifth respectively.