Here’s a quick race report from Justin Fleming #58 of Team RT Pro on our experience at the series finale of UTVRR 2011!
This was my 2nd time at the UTV rally raid series. I had finished 2nd in the Ironman unlimited class my first race. I went into this race hoping to better that finish by coming out with 1st place this time. Prior to the weekend of the next race we didn’t know if we were going to make it because of my crash at the prior Rally Raid in which I dropped into a ditch and bent my frame slightly and bent my right side stock a-arms. Luckily Racer-Tech pulled through for me and got me a set of arms in time for the race. I got the a-arms on and found the right side knuckle had also bent but we couldn’t get the parts in time so we just aligned it as well as possible and raced.
Saturday we got to the race and I got to meet up with Tony who was going to be my passenger for the race. I believe it really took some guts to climb into the seat with me being as he had never met me and had only heard my voice one time on the phone the rest of our communication had been through email and text messages but he had the guts to go for it. The weather was really good which was making me feel confident about the race but when we drew our start positions we drew out on the 5th row which didn’t seem great to me because I was thinking we would have to work our way through a lot of the field but once the race got underway we got into the woods and was running a good pace. About 3 miles in I came into a corner a little too tight and caught the inside of the turn and rolled my UTV at this point I’m upside down thinking I’ve ruined my race 3 miles in but, luckily we rolled and landed back on all 4 wheels facing the right direction of the track. As soon as I realized we were back on all 4 wheels again I gunned it, and did a quick steering check everything seemed good so I got back into the race. Not long after the roll we had caught back up to more of the drivers that had started in front of us. We started working our way threw drivers, which we had been doing for 4 laps, then made our pit-stop. We got in and out of the pit pretty smooth then got back into the race. Everything went really smooth as we raced into the dark. We made a second pit-stop on the beginning of the 9th lap which also went smoothly at this time we knew we were in the lead but had no clue by how far while we were in the pit two machines passed us and were moving a good pace I stayed in the pits a little longer to top my fuel off. I was thinking these guys were in my class so I took off trying to catch up Because I knew they would be a good bit ahead so I went into the woods really hanging it out and made a few small mistakes then Tony was telling me just calm down n that we had it so I took his advise and settled back into my pace and on the 11th lap I got back around them, & on the last lap I got a little excited again and started hanging it out and we got what I feel was a fast lap. We had about a half a mile from the finish line and came up on 2 guys that were really moving on so I started really hanging it out and trying to get around but didn’t get any chances to pass so as we passed the finish I was thinking we was in 3rd so we went back to the trailer thinking we had got 3rd and we discovered we had broken a sway bar link and flat rear tire. Got to love tire-balls! I hadn’t even realized it. But a little later we were informed that we had won by a whole lap and were about to lap 2 people we had caught just before the finish line. So we came out of the race very happy with the win.
I’m really glad to be part of team Racer-Tech and I’m hoping to have a great season next year in Rally Raid and GNCC series. I was out of GNCC most of last season due to breakdowns of a machine that had been raced for 3 years but we purchases a new xp900 and with the help of Race-Tech and other sponsors we should be able to have a winning machine by the start of the season. I’m looking forward to working closely with Racer-Tech in there development of my GNCC setup. This will be the first time in GNCC that I will have a perfect machine. My goals are to put the Racer-Tech xp900 on top step of the podium and hopefully bring home a championship. I’m looking forward to this coming season. Lastly I want to thank all my sponsors Tower-Works, Rugged Race Radios, ATR Performance, Lincoln Electric Welders, and Racer-Tech.
Justin Fleming #58
Congratulations Justin on your dominating performance at Rally Raid we look forward to good year! Glad to have you on the team!