Challenge at the Yerington 300
Editor: Eric Bewley
Bewley, G. Mikkelson
- The Season Opener for the Zukiworld Challenge was held in
conjunction with the Vorra desert racing association. The
Yerington 300 a long-standing favorite race for Vorra members
served as the backdrop for the beginning race. Kris with #Z37
Trouble Racing, David with #Z01 Zukiworld Order, and yours truly with #Z41
Liberty Overland entries began the race on a beautiful Sunday Morning.
Wait, let's back up a minute. We just have to say how awesome it was that
the town of Yerington is so welcoming. There was talk on the Vorra forum
about a parade and we had done of couple of those with them previously to
mixed results but this town really gets out and they line the streets to
see all the race trucks. It's a real parade with escort and all the
fanfare that you'd expect. This set the stage for a fun and friendly
weekend not soon to be forgotten.
|The entry field was up this year to a total of 58 race
vehicles & teams. There were many teams we had recognized from
previous races but a lot of new, to us, faces and some really cool
race trucks. We all got to and through tech and then hung out for the
driver's meeting after which was this cool parade I was talking about
earlier. If I'd known, I'd brought some candy to throw!
Then it was off to the pits to prepare for the next
day and the race that lay ahead.
||ZW: Tell us about your
race. You had pre-run parts of the course, did that seem to provide an
Z37: For what I
was able to run (51 miles), the Yerington Race was a very mixed track.
There was some really fast sections, and at speeds at 55+
our Tracker was awesome, the suspension and balance was just right.
ZW: You have the largest HP in the
class, can you tell me how the Aerio engine swap is working for you?
I've heard that the flat out speed is fantastic!
Z37: We even
made it to 75, which Kris informed me was 10% slow. On the rougher
portions of the track we needed more compression on the front end.
When pulling hard on motor, we tended to overheat, which was almost
solved by going to low range.
ZW: You ended the day early with a
race and another DNF with suspension issues. This time it was
one of our limiting straps tearing slightly and allow a rear spring to
fall out, kind of ironic since we replaced the old straps when we
noticed they were starting to tear. Once again it was the
unexpected that took us out of the race, hopefully we will get it
sorted out so we can start turning the car in for the 500 in
September. Loosing a rear spring (along with the overheating issue),
meant we could not crawl over the ridge to complete one lap.
put on a great race and it was nice to have the tour through town to
start things off. Hopefully we will get a few more Zuki's out
for next year.
drew first in the starting order. How do you like that?
Z41: In general,
I don't care to start first or even early in the pack. It seems to be
a pretty good advantage to be able to see the pace of the competitors
and then adjust strategy on the fly. I had a new co-pilot this race,
Matt and he did an excellent job of keeping me on the track. Specially
on the first lap where you really don't know where things are.
ZW: So, how did your
started off well and I was able to run at a pace that was reasonable
for the car and that would put us there at the end to push for the
win. But as things go, we started to have a few problems along the way
that got us behind the clock and the other teams.
ZW: Tell us about
Z41: It was just
a lot of little things that added up. The first thing that started to
go was the bolts holding our center mount loosened which is not a big
thing unless they actually come out and then there's some serious
damage. But I could feel it happening and so I nursed it in the last 5
miles or so of the first lap and we addressed it in the pit.
Unfortunately, the repair was lengthy and we went down probably a half
lap from that. After that we lost most of the exhaust from in front of
the collector back, oxygen sensor included, which made for a unpleasant
rest of the race. Another interesting note, when the recently-bared
heater wire from the oxy sensor grounds out, it blows the ECU
ZW: You didn't
finish. What happened?
Z41: Well, the
rear suspension link came loose again a little earlier than the last
lap, this made me slow up to keep the rig together vs. doing a field
repair. When we got back into the pit everybody jumped on it to get me
going but in running the times, we just couldn't make it around before
the clock ran out. With a heavy heart, I called it.
ZW: First off, congratulations on a
convincing win. How did the race come together for your team?
and I started last of three off the line. I like this position
because I can keep tabs on the competition from behind them. We
started off at a nominal pace, warming up to the car and the
course. Within a few miles we started to catch the dust of The
Z37 car. We paced along in there dust for a few miles before
they had to pull off due to a cooling system problem. We
continued on pushing the car a little harder now in an effort to get
Z41 in sight. A short time later a spectator tried to wave us down but
we couldn't tell why and didn't want to lose any time so we forged
ZW: One down one to go.
5 miles or so we could see the Z41 but we could not catch them.
The course was very rough with lots of opportunities for damage along
the sides. We continued to push and were finally able to get through
the dust and up to the Z41 for a pass after 35 minutes. After this we
had clear air and were able to keep the pace a little more
easily. We drove through the pits and headed out for our second
lap. Our plan was to do one long lap and one short lap before
stopping for fuel. Our second lap was clean with no problems but
when we came back to the pits for fuel, we were informed that we had
lost both our spare tires.
ZW: Loosing both spares stinks. I guess
that spectator wanted to tell you something important. What happened
quickly pulled one from my wife's XL7 and loaded it on the race truck.
Heading out for lap three we made a stop by the spectator and found
that he had picked up one of the spares and was going to bring it to
the pit. We loaded it up and continued on, keeping our eye out
for the second spare. Things went pretty smooth for a while
until lap four when we came head to head with a competitor going
backwards on the course down a tight, one lane mountain pass. It
seemed he had lost the alternator and decided going backwards on the
course to his pit was the best decision. When we met, he hit the
brakes and turned into the embankment, rolling onto his lid and almost
off the cliff edge right in front of us blocking the road. His
truck was twice the size of ours and we tried to push it out of the
way but could not move it. Very shortly, Don German, who placed
second overall at the race, came up behind us and was not interested
in waiting around. He and I managed to switch places on the single
lane road with me hanging dangerously close to the cliff. His
truck was large and heavy with much horsepower and he was able to ram
the overturned truck far enough to the side for us to squeeze
ZW: Trucks going the wrong way, bumper
trucks pushing rigs aside. Wow it was rough out there. How did the
race finish up for your team?
rest of the race was trouble free with lots of excitement as Trophy
Trucks and Class One cars passed us. The roar of their engines
and the sheer size and horsepower is nothing short of amazing as they
power around you in the toughest terrain. Being sure to keep out of
their way we finished the race without incident. Our total
elapsed time, 9 hrs, 58min, with an average speed of just under
30MPH. Not bad for 85 horsepower!
We never did find the second
David Capell and the Zukiworld Order Race Team Seem
Unstoppable. Winning all of the long course events handily and most of
the short course events too. Is there any of the teams that can
challenge this well organized team?
The next race is at the Central Oregon Off-Road
Race Park in Redmond, Oregon June 29th.