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Racing the 2011 PPIHC in a RZR-X – Video


Well a lot of time, effort and resources were spent over the last couple of months, all of which culminated on June 26th, 2011.

I headed for Colorado Springs with a set of Hoosier tires, my race gear and some tool boxes. The newly finished RZR-X drove through the night from Lake Havasu City and met me just in time for tech inspection on Tuesday June 21st. This was the first time I had seen the RZR-X completed with it’s new cage, doors and top and boy did it look good!

MCX-USA, Makin’ Trax Suspension and myself spent the next three test days on the mountain doing our best to dial everything in. Each day we seemed to make big improvements in the tire set up, tuning and suspension. We even spent the afternoons out at PPIR testing different CVT belt sizes and addressing the cooling system. Even though we never had an overheat issue on any of the practice days or even when hot-lapping the RZR-X for 15 minutes straight, we still wanted to try and cover all of our bases. We cut out all the excess plastic in front of the radiator, hard wired the fan, added an electric fan to the oil cooler and hard wired it as well. Bases covered, ready for race day or at least we thought.

After reviewing our practice times and being just seconds off some of the fastest Super Stock cars, we couldn’t wait for race day and we were excited about our chances!

Race day rolls around and while there was no moisture in sight, it was super windy and hot. It wasn’t just warm it was down right hot! It was creeping up to triple digits at the bottom of the mountain and just about as warm at the start line. I was hoping to run somewhere before noon, but with all the wrecks and stoppages I didn’t get to go off until mid-afternoon.

Between the heat and the adrenaline I was ready to go! I finally got the green flag and I was off to the races. I smoked the bottom section and managed to shave off 14 seconds off my best practice time. While there was some good blue-groove in sections the dirt was still super loose! It was a handful to keep the RZR-X on the road and moving fast in a straight line. There was even one hairpin that I pushed straight through! Luckily there was room for error and I managed to salvage the turn without loosing too much time. I made it through the dirt section successfully and proceeded to run a solid line through the W’s.

Everything seemed to be going really well and there were no signs of slowing down. Well, that was just before the last turn approaching Devil’s Playground. Just as I come out of the turn the engine flutters and falls on it’s face. I pumped the gas, as if that was going to help and suddenly it picked back up for a few hundred yards. I thought maybe it was just a glitch until it finally stalled down to a complete stop. I couldn’t believe it. I just sat there in shock for several minutes trying to start it with no avail. I was just sick! Things were going so well and I was so close to the finish line. I had my fastest section ahead of me and I could taste the 11’s!

I couldn’t stand the thought of being towed down the mountain so after about an hour I decided to try and start it up. And wallah! It fired right back up like nothing had happened. I was dumbfounded.

I got back down to the bottom and after talking it over with everyone we found some melted split loom on top of the motor. This is when we realized that the motor got hot enough to vaporize the fuel lines and lock the motor up. Since it was uncommonly hot on the mountain and we never were able to make a full run up the mountain until race day, we didn’t show any signs of this beforehand. So unfortunately I had to learn this lesson the hard way.

Even with everything that happened we still made a huge impression on the mountain! Everyday the RZR-X was getting complements and drawing crowds. Most of the people on the practice days were astonished with my practice times and the race officials even moved me from the motorcycles/quad group up to the cars! Fan Fest was also a huge hit and if the RZR-X had one picture taken, it probably had a thousand.

Since I did make it so far up the mountain it gave me a good idea what my time would have been. So from the start line to basically where the RZR vapor locked was 8:45! My practice time from that very section to the finish line was a 3:05 and that was from a standing stop. I honestly believe with those two numbers that I would have run an 11:50 or better!

All and all I knew that we did everything we could and we honestly didn’t leave anything on the table. I guess that’s why they call it racing, otherwise it would probably just be known as winning. I’m also lucky that I didn’t have a diver error or wreck. After seeing all the busted up vehicles and the flight-for-life helicopter carry people out, I realized I had a lot to be grateful for!

Well that’s enough talk for now! Watch the embedded video below or I recommend visiting YouTube through the link so you can watch the run in a larger window and in 1080p!

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