After blowing a head gasket in the Baja 500, we spent the rest of the summer making sure our Polaris RZR was back in shape to take on the longest race in America. New motor, freshly rebuilt transmission, fresh axles and a new set of ITP Coyote Tires with TireBalls inside on Raceline Wheels was just the start. A little fabrication was needed after we nearly broke the front of the car off and the radiator mount was also broken. Those repairs were made and new dash was installed. We were ready! So we thought…
As usual, we were running behind on tech day. We arrived at tech just as all the vendors were packing up and registration was about to close. Trevor teched the car of us and I and the co drivers went inside to register. Eric and our friends from Just Money Motorsports left Havasu and went straight to the start line to get a camping spot. We finished up quickly in town and headed out to Beatty, Nevada for the start line. With nothing to really be done on the race car, we relaxed, packed pit boxes and the chase truck and enjoyed home made tacos from Joe.
Race day came and we were ready! We lined up at about 10AM Boy, was it hot! We sat in staging for approximately an hour and then, it was GO time!
We started 31st in the Pro Turbo class. There we some pretty fast guys behind us so we knew we had to get some time in after the start. We got the green flag and headed out!
Just about 3 miles into the race, we started overheating. It was the exact same place the car began to over heat last year. I called Eric and informed him of the issue and that we would be making an unplanned stop in pit 1. He agreed and went as fast as my hot RZR would allow us to go. Pit 1 was approximately 50 miles up the way. We actually passed a few cars on the way, saw a ton of wrecked cars and pulled into the pit hoping for a simple solution so we could go make up some time. The crew cracked the bolt and bled the head. And we headed back out. The car was slightly cooler, but not much when we were headed up a grade or in the silt. We also noticed that our clutch was not acting like it should. Again we radioed in and let the crew know our problems. We were asked to skip pit 2 and head for 3. So we pushed on. Only able to go about 60mph max or less in the silt. There was a LOT of silt! We received a pass alert and found a safe spot to slow down and move over and just as we thought the 7250 truck was going by, BAM! He hit us and spun the car around. I just knew there would be a ton of damage because it was a heavy truck. We pulled forward, everything felt tight. My co driver, John got out to check everything out and the truck also pulled over and the co driver got out and apologized to me and wanted to make sure we were ok. Thanks guys! That was great sportsmanship! We got back on the track and headed to pit 3 to meet up with the crew hoping for a fix. In the mean time, Eric had been on the phone with our tuner, Mark Queen about the clutch and he put him together Adam from Airdam who just happened to be a few pits ahead. He agreed to meet Eric half way between where he was and where the crew was. He used his own parts and our back up clutch and made a clutch that assured Eric would be a definite improvement. I really can’t thank him enough for going out of his way for us. He isn’t our usual clutch guy and he really did not have to help us but he did and we appreciate him so much!
We rolled into pit 3 and the crew went to work, changing out the clutch and fixing the passenger rear hub that was bent when the truck hit us. At one point during the pit stop, all of us individually thought ” I wonder if we should splash some fuel”. Not one of us voiced it out loud and we took off out the pit thinking that there should be plenty of fuel. We weren’t planning on stopping for fuel until pit 6. About 3 miles out of Pit 3, the car turned off. Thinking it was something electrical, John began taking the top off the fuel cell to check the pumps. As he reached inside, he looked up at me and pulled his hand out. His hand was dry. There was not a drop of fuel in the car! Apparently, the dragging clutch and deep silt and overheating had used a bunch of fuel! As soon as we called in out issue, I saw Chase 1 pull over off the highway. They were about a mile away from us. So, I started waking to get some fuel while John put the car back together. We got enough fuel to make it to the next pit and off we went again. The car was running great, the clutching change was amazing! Thanks again Adam! We pulled into the pit, the boys began to fuel the car and then Eric came over and asked me to turn off the motor.
“What’s wrong?” I asked. “I hear something” he said. We all got out and listened. Then we called Mark Queen on the phone and had him listen. Not ideal, we know. But there was definitely a noise coming from the motor. We pulled the clutches to ensure it wasn’t clutch noise we were hearing, but it wasn’t. We all gathered together and talked it over. It was a unanimous decision to put the car on the trailer. Eric didn’t want us out in the middle of no where with a blown motor. If we stopped now, we could fix the motor with not a lot of expense. If we blew the motor, whole other story. So, dejected, we put her on the trailer, loaded up and headed home. We had a ton of fun while it lasted! Thank you to my crew who gave it all they had! Joe took the race car with Kristin and Emily in her truck and headed back to the start line. Kristin agreed to put the RZR in her toy box and take her home as Joe was heading back to Kingman.
Eric, Trevor, Jason, Travis, Joeylin, Sidney, Mike and I headed to the remote pit to catch our team mates and friends, 3P Offroad and make sure they made it to the finish line as they were having a few issues themselves. We made it out to Pit 12. It was pretty deserted by that time. We all hung out and ate the rest of our snacks and then climbed back in the trucks to have a nap before they arrived. We got radio contact at about 4 am. They were coming in. On the tracker there a bunch of other cars heading our way also. One of them was Ashley Burton and Drew Schultz. We pitted the Texas boys and sent them on their way. We noticed a car just sitting out there a few miles away and could see on the tracker that it was Ashley. We decided to wait to see if we could help her. We missed her coming through but she stopped and the lights went out just outside the pit. We contacted the pit boss who gave us permission to help them the same as if they were in the pits. They were having overheating issues as well as a charging problem. They had just gone about 15 miles on a lithium starter battery! We gave them our spare Odyssey battery, a spare lithium battery and the cables off of our battery charger. Wished them the best and sent them on their way. We then headed towards home. We kept the tracker on and kept up with her and our Texas boys. 3P Offroad finished with no time to spare! They were the last official finishers! We are so proud of them for sticking it out! We saw that Ashley was still at about RM 475 and not moving. She wasn’t able to finish. She and Drew did an awesome job of trying! It isn’t easy doing what we do and even worse when you’re battling issues over the course of well over 24 hours.
The last official finisher of this years General Tire Vegas to Reno by Fox is the team of Josh Herzing and Phillip Luce. Despite battling mechanical problems throughout the day the UTV racers from Texas soldiered on to get it across the line. Congratulations to all our finishers! #bestinthedesert #bitd#vegastoreno #vtor #generaltire #fox #booyah