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Nitro RX ERX SxS features decorated, diverse field

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Credit: Stadium Super Trucks

The Side-by-Side (SxS) class might just be a support class to Nitro Rallycross‘ Group E division, but its first round of the 2022/23 season this weekend at ERX Motor Park will see a grid laden with achievements across a multitude of disciplines.

Many return from the 2021 season’s SxS rounds such as Nitro RX founder Travis Pastrana and former Global Rallycross Championship runner-up Brian Deegan; both have enjoyed great success on both four and two wheels as multi-time X Games motocross medalists. Deegan finished runner-up to Tanner Foust at the second ERX SxS race in 2021.

Championship Off-Road Pro 4 and Pro Turbo SxS driver Scottie Lawrence joined Deegan and Foust on that podium and will return for the 2022 weekend. When COR visited ERX in July, Lawrence finished seventh and tenth in the two Pro 4 races but did not take part in the Pro Turbo SxS events after wrecking his UTV at Crandon.

Terry Madden comes over from Ultra4 Racing, where he drives a UTV. In February, he was co-driver to Deegan as they won the King of the Hammers’ UTV Grudge Match in Johnson Valley, California.

Robin Shute will race in Nitro Rallycross for the first time, though he is not unfamiliar with the discipline as he has tested rallycross cars in the past. Shute is the defending winner of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, and previously won in 2019 and 2021; he is the first British driver to claim the legendary hillclimb.

Thirteen-year-old Ben Maier is a protégé of Pastrana, a fellow Maryland native, and owns a Polaris RZR SxS. While much of his racing has come in karting and Spec Miata, he was able to gain off-road vehicle experience by running much of the 2022 Stadium Super Trucks season, scoring a podium in Nashville Race #1.

Besides Pastrana and Deegan, Letícia Bufoni continues the “X Games-ification” of Nitro Rallycross as the six-time X Games street skateboarding gold medalist makes her competitive racing début. 2010 X Games Moto Best Trick silver winner Robbie Maddison also returns after competing in 2021.

A social media post by ERX on Friday mentions that Hailie Deegan, Cleetus McFarland, Hubert Rowland, and Blake “Bilko” Williams will also take part, though none have confirmed their entries. McFarland, an SST driver like Maier, is currently overseeing the damage to his property from Hurricane Ian, while Deegan is competing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Talladega on Saturday.

Two SxS races will take place on Saturday and Sunday.

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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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