Motorsports: ‘Beaters’ are catching on with racing crowd at ERX

Monty Normand of Alexandria went airborne in his Ford Ranger with another pickup right on his tale. (Photo by Trent Maurer)

by Bruce Strand, Sports editor

Beater-X auto races continue to gain in popularity at Elk River’s ERX Motor Park in their second season at the facility built for motorcycle and snowmobile races.

Four Thursday evening sessions this year have drawn 550, 700, 850 and 900 fans, reports Katie Shatusky, media representative for the track. About 30 to 40 vehicle are showing up for each event including UTV’s.

Two remaining race dates are Aug. 25 and Sept. 15.

Andrew Carlson won the UTV's feature on July 28. (Photo by Trent Maurer)

“Summer at ERX Motor Park has been an exciting one,” said Shatusky. “We are four races into our six race series and our attendance numbers in both our racers and fans is growing.  We love seeing all of the families come out to enjoy a night filled with entertainment, laughs and racing.”

ERX strives for fun, safe family entertainment, she added.

Beater-X races have a curvy, hilly track. The cars, picks and UTV’s soar over the rises in the track just like snowmobiles and motorcycles.

“Actually the jumps are set up pretty nicely,” said Monty Normand of Alexandria, who races pickups, “so there’s not a huge impact on you, with the nice downslope on the back side.”

Normand says he is primarily a snowmobile racer, especially on frozen lakes, but couldn’t resist when he heard about the Beater-X races, and bought a beat-up 6-cylinder Ford Ranger pickup and fixed it up.

“What I truly enjoy is how laid back and fun the whole thing is,” Normand said. “Everybody helps everybody. The racers help each other and the folks at ERX bend overbackwards to make it a good time.”

Track owners Chris Carlson and Todd Plaisted started Beater-X racing with three sessions last summer, needing another event besides motocross to attract fans in the summer. Each race night drew more than the last one and they knew they were on to something.

In the most recent races, on July 28, the feature winners were Brad Richardson in Compact 1 followed by James Miller and Dylan Jansen; Tyler Jerde in Compact 2 followed by Wayne Nelson and Mike Hensley; Andrew Carlson in Trucks, followed by Jeff Hinkemeyer and Keith Simonet; and Carlson in UTV Stock followed by Jake Wessling. Kyle LaCoe won a Compact 1 consolation race.