An Exceptional Conclusion to the 2019 Season
As we had hoped, the turnout at the Dirt Riot series finale was phenomenal. Many of the top performing individuals from the Eastern region made the trek as well as several of our fellow competitors from the Southwest region. The track, prepared by Ray Mandel as well as the rest of the crew at RAM Offroad Park, was incredible as always. Characterized by large jumps, quick turns, and massive chutes, races at this track never disappoint and are sure to challenge even the most experienced drivers.
For the weeks leading up to the race, particularly after the grueling race in St. Johns, AZ, we worked diligently to overhaul the car and eliminate any potential points of failure. As it turned out, this inspection found faulty OEM control arms (ball-joint wallowing from soft steel composition) as well as improper sealing at the beads of the OEM wheels. We were quick to remedy this setbacks with a fresh set of 300M SuperATV ball joints as well as upper and lower HD SuperATV control arms. The tires were stripped from each wheel for bead cleaning and replaced with a different set of Maxxis Bighorns.
Regardless of this preparation, any race will pinpoint the slightest abnormality and work to exacerbate the most minuscule of issues. Several difficulties we encountered during the event included,
- Crushing of brake lines by our 14″ wheels
- Stretching of shift cable resulting in sloppy low-high gear transition
At any of the events we attend, ‘pre-running’ of the course seems to keep us busy all the way through the evening. In St. Johns, we were tackling broken axle issues. At RAM, we discovered insufficient clearance between the brake lines and the wheel resulting in flattening of the cable braid. Luckily this issue was caught early on and was fixed by rerouting underneath the control arm prior to the race. Another nuance that we discovered amidst the race was a ‘slop’ in the cable for our gear shift. To preserve our belt, we used low gear at the rock garden sections of the course- to our surprise, however, the shift gate and cable actuation fell at different points and made the shifting transition very awkward and slow. How did we work around this? We drove fast- hitting the jumps we were confident in hitting and missing those that we simply could not (suspension re-valve is absolutely on the horizon!)
All things considered, the Nationals at RAM Offroad Park was an incredible success for team Draco Motorsports. We procured a fourth place finish out of fifteen Pro-UTV racers (twenty one UTV’s competed overall).
A Final Note
Particularly at a course like this, communication is absolutely critical for safe and effective racing. As a co-driver, I am sort of like a verbal HUD (heads-up-display); obstacle avoidance/maneuvering, racer separation (lap times, relative pace), gauge monitoring, and jumping speeds are all responsibilities I uphold over the duration of any given race. None of this would be possible without our Rugged Radios intercom/radio setup. The clarity and quality of these units is genuinely superb and, as I expect, will last our team many seasons. Any time we have the chance, we unconditionally recommend these products for all the reasons stated above. Give them a call for your next off-road racing vehicle, UTV, or jeep project.
Driver of the #428 Draco Motorsports Polaris RZR. Co-Driver for the #804 Can-Am X3 during King of the Hammers. Ultra4!!