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My RACE WRITE-UP from Edgewood Tx (TORN series rd 1)

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My RACE WRITE-UP from Edgewood Tx (TORN series rd 1)

Old 06-09-2015, 09:49 PM
MikeyBoyesq's Avatar
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Thumbs up My RACE WRITE-UP from Edgewood Tx (TORN series rd 1)

Last Sunday, I drove to Edgewood, Texas to compete in Round 1 of the 2015 TORN (cross-country) series. This race was very exciting for me because it was my first time to race since I broke my arm last summer while racing my KFX730. Since that time, I sold the KFX and bought a 2012 RZR 900xp with the plan of racing it in the TORN series. Below is my race write-up.

Edgewood, TX…it’s a tiny town about 60 miles east of Dallas. This track was laid out over a picturesque property, complete with grazing cows, rolling green pastures and a small lake. The property had diverse terrain to conquer, including dusty pasture areas, twisty wooded trails and a hand full of deep (but dry) creek crossings that reminded me of a roller coaster ride. Most of the wooded trails were very tight, which forced the drivers to stay on their A game and avoid the trees.

The weather was hot (~95 degrees) and the track was dusty in the pasture areas. This was my first UTV race and the heat was all the more noticeable because I was wearing a fire proof racing suit (I'm pretty sure they used these fire suits to torture people in the middle ages ).

The UTV track length was a little over 3 miles long, and the layout included plenty of zig zag trails through rolling pastures, a few small (man-made) jumps and lots and lots of tight wooded trails.

There were 10 side by sides in the UTV Novice class. The line-up included a little bit of everything, including 6 Polaris RZR's (both 900cc and 1000cc), 3 Can Am's and 1 Artic Cat.

After making the 4 hour drive to Edgewood, my son and I arrived at the track at 9am and made 4 practice laps. On my first lap, I noticed 2 things. First, there were a few small (man-made) jumps added to the trails and pastures. Because I'm not a big fan jumping the RZR, I just rolled over them and hoped they would not slow me down too much during the race. Second, I noticed how tight and twisty the wooded trails are. This being my first UTV race, I felt as if I was driving a GREYHOUND BUS through a congested mall parking during the Christmas holidays. To say the least, driving my RZR at racing speeds down these tight wooded trails really tested my nerves.

On one of my practice laps, I hit a small tree that stopped my RZR cold in its tracks. Luckily, I wasn't moving fast at the time and it didn't appear to do any damage. That incident was just a reminder that the trees are not forgiving. Before I made any practice laps, I was warned about one spot on the edge of the pasture area (before you reach the small lake) where the trail went between a few large trees and some folks had to stop and back up to make the turn during practice. That happened to me on 2 of my 4 practice laps, so I was a bit concerned if I could make this turn during the race without backing up.

When we lined up, the UTV Novice class was the third class to start and we had approximately 50 feet to the first left-hand turn. I was lined up in the middle of the pack of 10 UTVs. Unlike the ATV starts, the UTVs have a dead engine start and I didn't have any time to practice my starts. I was a little nervous about my chances of winning the holeshot against the 1000cc UTVs in my class.

Amongst the excitement of the 2 classes starting just in front of our class, one of the racers in my class (white RZR) who was parked immediately to my left suddenly started up and raced towards the first turn. The crazy thing was the he left the line at the same time as the class in front of us left the line (our class was supposed to leave next). No one else in our class left the line. It was very strange. The officials tried to wave him down, but he didn't see them and kept racing into the woods with the other class. That was weird.

Finally, the green flag went up and the 9 remaining UTVs in my class took off. I turned the key, hit the gas pedal and hoped the engine actually started (was too loud to hear my engine running amongst the other UTVs sitting next to me). My engine bucked a little (probably b/c I hit the gas a tad too early) and then it roared to life as I pulled off the line hard. One of the Can Ams to my left and I reached the first turn about the same time and then we both made the hard left turn around the first corner. Maybe it was beginner's luck, but I almost won the holeshot! I quickly ducked in line just behind the Can Am as we entered the first section of woods and nipping at my heels was a red RZR 1000.

LAPS 1 through 3:
I'm guessing it was half way into the first lap when the Can Am ahead of me and I caught up to a slower racer from the class in front of us. He didn't pull over for us, so at that point it was just a game of playing follow the leader. Eventually, we both passed him in a pasture area of the course. I somehow managed to hang onto 2nd position during the first 3 laps by staying closely on the heels of the Can Am. Looking back, this was not a great surprise given that there were very few places for anyone to safely pass (unless the slower UTV intentionally pulled off the trail to let you by).

During the first 3 laps, I was feeling the pressure of a red RZR 1000 on my heals. At some point, the red RZR 1000 was gone and a blue RZR 1000 took its place. The blue one seemed to hang onto my heels even closer.

LAPS 4 - 5:
Near the first part of the 4th lap, we hit a small man-made jump just before entering the woods and this jump is wide enough for 2 UTVs to hit at the same time. I hit the right side at a slow pace and the blue RZR 1000 hit the left side at a faster pace. Suddenly, I heard a horn sound coming from my immediate left and looked over to see the blue RZR 1000 landing next to me and then pass me just before making the sharp left turn into the woods. Darn... I was afraid that may happen on one of the jumps. That put me in 3rd position.

Not long after that, we exited the woods and entered a dusty pasture area that extended down to a small lake. It was extremely hard to see at this point due to the thick dust coming the Can Am in front of me. At some point, I made a left turn in the pasture area and heard a horn from close behind me. I checked my left side mirror and right mirror, but couldn't see anyone through the dust. Suddenly, the Artic Cat appeared on my left side and passed me before making a right hand turn. Although disappointed that I was passed again, I was relieved that we didn't collide in all the dusty conditions. This left me in 4th position.

LAP 6:
Near the beginning of the last lap, the white RZR that mistakenly left the starting line early showed up in my rear view mirror soon after we went through the scoring schute. I don't know how aggressive the racers are in my class, so I had a gut feeling that I better let this guy pass me as soon as he caught up to my rear bumper. I did so and not long after that, I came around a turn in the woods and saw the white RZR "re-shape" the rear bumper of the Can Am. I spoke to the Can Am racer (named "Rut") after the race and he seemed to think the collision was his own fault b/c he suddenly slowed down when he went into the creek and that is when the white RZR made contact. Anyway, seeing that small collision made me glad I let him pass me when I did. The parts on my RZR are too expensive to play bumper cars. LOL

I finished 5th out of 10. Not a a bad result considering it was my first XC race in a UTV. I enjoyed the track, but wish there were more open wide, open areas for passing and getting upto decent speeds (just my preference). As compared to ATV racing, I found that racing the RZR had both pros and cons. On the plus side, racing the RZR was much less physically demanding and less jarring than racing my old KFX. In fact, I felt fine after this 1-hour race and could easily have done another hour (assuming my RZR was up for it). Another plus is that the UTV made me feel very safe (especially with roll cage, doors, safety nets, fire extinguisher, etc.). On the negative side, I was way more concerned in the RZR about hitting trees than passing/getting passed by other racers. I saw a fair amount of carnage (UTV sitting on its side, UTVs being towed back to the parking lot on 3 wheels, etc.). In fact, 2 of the UTVs in my class had a DNF. The constant thread of a tree ending my day (e.g., by taking out a wheel) weighed on my mind much more than trying to jockey for position. Another negative was the requirement of wearing the fire suit...which made the 95 degree temps feel much worse. Also, racing an ATV is so much more maneuverable and nimble compared to racing the RZR. But overall I had a fun time racing the RZR and look forward to the next UTV race. As always, I have to say a big THANK YOU to TORN for putting on another FUN event!

Hope you enjoyed my race write-up!
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