This past race was the Veterans Day Dash held on Nov 2 out in our local Superstition Mountains. The race was scheduled for four 22-mile laps. The hosting club (Full Throttle) setup a real nice high-speed course that incorporated some fun challenging rocky areas behind the mountain.
After a long week of work, we were ambitious to get out to the desert Friday night and set camp for the race the following morning. After hooking the trailer, we were eastbound and arrived at the pit site about two hours later. Unloaded the trailer, cooked some spaghetti, enjoyed the crisp cool air, admired the abundant night stars and went to sleep.
The morning of race day, we woke up bright and early to get the coffee going (we setup a coffee urn at our pit for all who want to try some local Windansea Coffee) and setup our gear on pit road. After watching the bikes take off, we headed over to tech and registration. We passed tech without any issues and signed up for the race. A little after noon they opened up the bomb run testing (the first section of the course where we do the land rush starts) and we did a few passes to figure out the best line to the first corner. After the bomb run testing, we went back to our pit to look the race machine over and make a few minor adjustments. For this race we opted to run with just the driver as the extra weight from the co-driver would harm our overall top speed and bottom us out harder in the whoops. Before the race could officially start, we had to have a drivers meeting. After the drivers meeting, we all got in our UTVs and headed to the starting line. On the start we again had three lines of UTVs ready for a great day of racing. The banner went up and about 2 minutes later the banner dropped and the first line was off in a hurry. After the sweep riders returned, the second line pulled up to the start and again the banner went up and after about 2 minutes the banner again dropped and the second line was off. Now it was our turn to get the race started.
Of the 26 entries, our line had 4 UTV’s competing in the Sportsman class on this day. We lined up far right to get the inside line to the corner and noting the wind was blowing right to left, we’d be clear of the dust on the bomb run. To our left was a RZR900 4-seater, a XP1K 4-seater and a XP turbo 4 seater. Our banner went up, the engines turned off and we waited what feels like an eternity for the banner to drop. As soon as the banner started falling, we cranked out RZR800S and we were off. We were in the lead for about 50 yards and then the two newer higher powered XP1k’s started pulling away. The 900 was door to door with us and it was a battle for the first turn, we had the inside edge and took the first turn before them. Going along the first few miles of race course the 4 seaters showed their wheelbase advantage over the whoops and slowly started edging us. About a quarter of the way into the first lap we passed one of the XP1k racers stopped on the side of the course and we knew we were slowly gaining ground back up on the field. First lap was about getting the feel for the course and where we could go fast the next few laps. Lap 1 we finished in 55 minutes. Our pit crew topped of our fuel and gave water to the driver and after a brief stop we were off for lap 2. Lap 2 we were cooking along much faster, after about 8 miles into lap 2 we came up on the 900 in our class going the wrong way on the course (found out they broke an axle, not once but twice) and we were physically 2nd in class. Lap 2 was feeling good and we improved out lap time by a whole 14 minutes, lap time was 41 minutes. Again, our pit crew went to work fueling the UTV and giving water to the driver. We went out for lap 3. The car felt good and we had the course down and were confident this lap would be as fast if not faster than the laps prior. It was a holiday weekend for the public so there were lots of recreational riders and spectators that would sometimes come on course or intersect the racing path without regard for racers so there were times we had no choice by to slow down. Headed into lap 3 we came upon the first place Sportsman UTV stopped on the side of the course and we were leading our class. After holding the lead for about 20 minutes we were overtaken by the XP1k Turbo car and when we crossed the finish and got the checkers, we finished 2nd in class and 17 of 26 overall for the day. Again, a testament to the support we have from our sponsors and the hard work our crew puts in to prep our 2009 Polaris RZR800S to finish races and beat newer machines race after race. Congrats to Michael Sandoval on the Overall win and Eric Welter for winning our sportsman class.