This was my third rally raid event, and my first one this season because we missed the first one due to heavy flooding in my home town and being unable to get my trailer out, but we made it to Stoney Lonesome this time and we had our sights set on a win. we got to Stoney Lonesome and started to get settled in and get the pit ready and the weather was looking great. After getting all the pit set up we got lined up for the parade lap to check the track out. As we began the parade lap we were trying to note trouble spots and sections that would be good passing areas. The first thing I notice about the track was if it rained it was gonna get slick and fast. The track was a really good mix of fast wide open areas with long sweeping turns and tight single track areas, but there was a few spots that could end your race quick if you weren’t on your toes for it. At this time the weather was good so my only worry was about the dust, little did I know at the time, the dust would be the furthest of my worries.
Once we got back to the pit one of the other racers let me know something he noticed following me around on the parade lap. I had a bent right rear axle. We had just replaced the left rear axle due to breaking it at the GNCC race 2 weekends prior to this race. We didn’t have an extra axle on hand so after discussing it a bit we decided to just run with it and hope for the best. About one hour before time for the green flag we started to see some grey clouds coming in and I was thinking okay a little rain wont be bad it should knock the dust down.
I was starting on the 8th row so I knew if the rain got bad I would have a lot of roost to contend with. As the green flag dropped that became a reality the slight bit of rain had already turned all that light dust into nasty mud and I was already using my roll offs on my goggles within the first mile. But we settled into a good pace and began working our way up through the pack. On the 2nd lap the rain had really picked up and the track was pretty slick by this point. We had seen a few people over the hill, but I tried to keep a consistent pace and tried to keep from sliding over a hill or spinning out. About half way through lap three the roll offs on my goggles had binded up and wouldn’t roll through any more so they became covered and I couldn’t see anymore so I had to pull them off and run the rest of that lap with my head down trying to keep my eyes protected as best as possible until I could pit for new goggles. When ended lap three I came into the pit for new goggles, while I was there I got my fuel topped off as I was down to a quarter tank by this point anyway. The rain was coming down pretty heavy at this point which helped a little with the mud on my UTV. After getting new goggles and some fuel we set off again. The sun was going down and the lightning from the storm was really starting to show up and the rain was starting to feel like needles hitting you in the face. But other than that the next few laps went smoothly. So we just kept a good pace up and tried to keep from sliding off track. Even though I dislike mud I have always been strong racing in it, so we kept a decent pace. After about 4 laps it was time to stop to get fuel again, when I pitted my crew discovered I had a flat tire on the right rear but it was a slow leak so instead of changing it we just put some air in and set off again with a full tank of fuel and a fresh pair of goggles. I knew I had lost some time waiting to get air in the tire and by this time the rain had nearly stopped so I picked up the pace a little and was really pushing it especially in the fast sections and my New RT Pro Dual Rate Springs were really helping out a lot keeping it level through the fast turns.
But I maybe picked up the pace a little too much. I came into a corner a little to fast a few miles into the track and slid over the hill luckily it only slid over the hill about 10 feet and somehow didn’t roll so carefully I maneuvered around until I was facing up hill again and I locked it in 4wd and in low gear and it pulled back up and out onto the race track. Then I got back in high gear and got going again still running a good pace but trying to keep more focused. The next couple laps went smoothly again, but I got behind a couple of slower machines in the tight sections which slowed me down quite a bit and got my radiator full of mud and since the rain had stopped there was nothing keeping it washed out, but at this point it wasn’t causing any issues other than a temp light every now and then but it would go away quickly, so it pitted for my last time to get a splash of fuel and off we went again. About 2 miles in on this lap I got the engine temp light again, but this time it stayed on and as I went into the first tight section it went into limp mode slowing me down to a crawl so I gave it a little time to cool and it came out of limp mode so I got back up to pace. All went well as long as I was in a tight section getting on and off the gas a lot but soon as I would be in a wide open section long it would over heat again. So I had to really pour it on in the tight sections to make up for all the time lost in the fast sections. This went on for the next couple laps and at this point I was ready for the race to be over and was expecting a white flag or something every time through but nothing. Eventually after fighting with the limp mode and all I came through to the finish. I had no clue how I had done it and neither did anyone in my pit I was just ready to get out of the car and get some water. As we got to the awards ceremony I was thinking I had got second or third because of all the issues I had, but was very excited to find out that the efforts had paid off and received 1st place in outlaw class. I’m really happy to have gotten a win for team Racertech and I hope we can carry this momentum into our next race which will be in 2 weeks at the Big Buck GNCC I got my first GNCC overall podium finish at that race 3 years ago so I hope to repeat that and hopefully better it with a win. I wanna say thanks to all my sponsors that help with every win and have made everything possible. I can’t thank them enough. Thank you RT Pro,Towerworks, ATR Performance, Rugged Race Radios, Wyatt racing, and Lincoln Electric Welders.
Here’s a few more pictures and more coming soon!