The race weekend started Friday January 17th. Friday morning was full of prep work getting the new Elka stage 5 shocks on, Doug Roll with Roll Designs brought them to the track full of his custom valving and spring rates that are being specifically developed to my Polaris RZR Turbo S. First practice was approaching fast, as I got the shocks on and made final adjustments with a good once over, the Turbo S was ready for the track. I climbed into my new PRP Alpha Composite Seat and strapped in for the first time. I was a bit nervous going on the track with no test time on the car. I can’t begin to explain how excited, and at the same time scared I was.
Building a car from literally bare chassis to a full race car, going on to the track not knowing how the car was going to jump, or handle around the corners. Coming from a 64” Polaris XP Turbo to the new 72” Turbo S was a whole new feeling I got to experience. The Stability improvements in the chassis design from Polaris were undoubtedly a significant improvement. The car stayed planted at any speed with the sway bar set up I had, it felt as if there was no body roll at all. After going around the track I felt I needed to get the RPM’s down a bit, came back into the pits threw some weight into the clutches and went back out. The Turbo S seemed to come alive with the small clutch adjustments I had made.
With the two MX practices done we moved on to the unclassified practice, this is where we do a few laps on the entire course that we were going to be racing on Sunday. I ran into a couple more clutching issues and lost some practice time. I hurried back to the trailer and made a few more minor adjustments. These unfortunately were all things that could of been avoided with testing before the race, but there were a few things I wasn’t able to get my hands on until Friday morning. Saturday was more of a nut and bolt kind of day, there wasn’t much scheduled for the Pro Production class, so I took this time to check clutching again and run the car through the desert a little to get some more seat time in the car. Sunday morning rolled around, the race was scheduled to start at 2. We lined up based off of last years points, this was supposed to be a qualifying position race which had unexpectedly changed. I lined up on the last row right next to RJ Anderson. The flag dropped and the lines in front of us took off. We were up… this was it! Hoping I would get a good start, but there were very little places to pass out on the course. RJ Anderson and Corbin Leaverton had a slight lead into the first corner on me, RJ went wide leaving me a small gap, and I was able to squeeze under him and get into the number 2 position. Upon entering the Lucas Oil track my car suddenly lost power and threw a check engine light on the dash! Unsure of what it was, I was forced to quickly turn the car off and restart it. With the car springing back to full power, I stuck my foot back in it, and it was short lived…. This kept happening for the first lap! Unable to stop I kept pushing, losing position after position, trying to stay out of the way best I could. I ended up in last place limping the car along the track. Suddenly it stopped going into a derated power mode and was able to start moving back up into the pack. Upon completion of the first lap… I came into the pits, as I kept hearing something off with the car. I had my team check over the car quick, and got back out on the track still in last place. I had a good second lap when suddenly… I heard the exhaust note change, and thought “this sounds all too familiar”. To no surprise, the exhaust pipe had broke off due to me changing the angle of how the pipe dumps the exhaust gases. Which had put more stress on the hanger causing it to brake. At this point I had to keep going to make it back around into the pits. I entered the pits, the head pipe had came off and whipped all over. The now obliterated flex pipe lodged itself between the fender and shock, causing the plastic crossover on the shock to catch fire, and the fender to be melted off. We quickly put the fire out and asked around the pits if anyone had some tie wire. Someone ended up having some to my surprise, I wrapped it around the pipe to hold it in place and took off. Back in the race now, my only goal was to finish the race to gain points. As I went around the track, there were other racers on the track with problems left and right. This track was super rough! It was hard on all makes and models of SXS’s.
I finished my 5 laps in 13th out of 21 total cars. Not a horrible way to start the season, but not one I wanted. Next race is scheduled for February 28th in Taft California, at Honolulu Hills Raceway. We’re looking to get a podium finish at this race! With the changes being made to the current set up, it will put us in a good spot to have success.