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#569617 - 05/12/14 05:13 AM My ATV race write-up from T Tops Ranch (Round 4)
MikeyBoy_esq Offline
Gang Member

Registered: 07/01/03
Posts: 196
Loc: Conroe, TX
_________________________
2007 Kaw. KFX700
TORN #611

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#569622 - 05/12/14 05:22 AM Re: My ATV race write-up from T Tops Ranch (Round 4) [Re: MikeyBoy_esq]
MikeyBoy_esq Offline
Gang Member

Registered: 07/01/03
Posts: 196
Loc: Conroe, TX
Originally Posted By: MikeyBoy_esq
Yesterday, I drove to Crafton, Texas to compete in Round 4 of the 2014 TORN series (cross-country ATV races). Coming off a last place finish in Round 3 (thanks to a blown rear tire), I was eager to get back on the track and try to bounce back strong. Below is my race write-up.


WHERE:
Crafton, TX…again! Just last month, we raced at the property adjacent to this track (in fact, we used the same parking lot/camp area). While the terrain was very similar, the track layout was very different between Round 3 and Round 4. I enjoyed this Round 4 track so much more than Round 3. The round 4 track was longer and followed the natural terrain which included some technical down hills and dry creek beds, whereas round 3 track was less technical and had several man-made jumps. I'm not a MX'er, so hitting several man-made jumps is just not my thing. Also, this Round 4 track seemed wider and faster to me (which I like).


TRACK CONDITIONS:
The weather was sunny and hot (91 degrees at race time). This track received a 1/2 inch of rain a few days prior to the race, but you could not tell by the time Saturday afternoon rolled around as it was bone dry and VERY DUSTY. The only exception was the muddy areas between the starting line and scoring schute (they went a little crazy with the water truck before the race started).

The ATV track length was a tad over 5 miles long according to my quad's odometer. The track layout included a few man-made jumps and one man-made whoops section plus plenty of wide, fast trails that zig-zagged in and out of the trees and across a few dry creek beds. The track had several sections where the rider could choose between two alternative routes that joined again further down the track.


UTILITY CLASS:
There were 7 quads in the Utility class. The line-up included 3 Polaris Scramblers (defending Ute Champ Chris R. at the helm of his Scrambler 1000, Chris H. on his Scrambler 850 and Robert "the rookie" on his Scrambler 850). We also had 3 Canned-hams on the line, including Keith on his Gade 1000, Leon on a Gade 800 or 1000 (this was Leon's first appearance since taking 2nd place in Round 1 on an Artic Cat - YES, I said he finished 2nd on an Artic Cat...that is quite an accomplishment!) and Brady on his Outty 800 or 1000 (I was later told that Brady has competed in GNCC races). Rounding out the utility class line-up was little ol' me and my Green Monster (KFX700).


PRACTICE:
After making the 5 hour drive to Crafton, I quickly unloaded my KFX and made 4 practice laps. On my first lap, I noticed 2 things. First, the fairly steep downhill sections were causing my CVT transmission (with high stall clutch spring) to "free fall," meaning I would lose engine breaking once my engine RPMs dropped down to idle. The only way I could regain engine breaking is to blip the throttle and get the RPMs up high enough for the CVT to re-engage. Even though I've owned this quad for over 3 years and have become quite familiar with the CVT, it still leaves me with an uneasy feeling to roll down a steep hill and suddenly lose engine breaking. Second, I noticed that some alternative routes on the track were hard to find unless you took time to really look for them. In fact, I didn't see one alternative route until the 3rd practice lap because the marker (L and R arrows) was mounted high in a tree just past the 4 mile marker. More on this alternative route later.


THE START:
When we lined up, the starting line was approximately 40 feet to the first right hand turn around a small tree. The starting line was watered down just prior the start and was sloppy/muddy. Being the only 2wd quad in the ute class, I lost a bit of confidence once I saw the muddy starting line. I was lined up in the middle of the starting line with 3 big utes on my left and 3 on my right.

Finally, the green flag went up and off we went. To reduce tire spin, I hit 3/4 throttle and then increased it the rest of the way as I left the line. Much to my surprise, this approach seemed to work as I stayed about even with the Scrambler 1000 on my immediate right (Chris R) and the Gade 1000 on my immediately left (Keith) as we pulled away from the starting line. In just a few seconds, I approached the first turn. I quickly glanced left and right and it appeared that we all made it to the first turn at the same time. All I could do was turn sharp and pray that no one would run me over. As we all tried to squeeze around the tree, Brady (on my far right side) won the holeshot and darted around the tree first and somehow I was able to pull in immediately behind him in 2nd position, with the rest of the class close on my tail. As we wound our way towards the scoring schute area, I realized this part of the track was very wet/muddy, and I tried desparately to avoid the sloppy mud coming off the back of Brady's Outty (he seemed to hit every mud hole along the way and throw it all onto me! Grrrr). It was a struggle to keep my head down/protect my goggles and still see well enough to stay on his tail.


LAP 1:
After we cleared the scoring schute area, we set out in an open field with a man-made whoops section, followed immediately by a small table top jump and then some zig-zag turns leading to a few more man-made jumps. I held off the rest of the class until we reached the last man-made jump, which had an immediately right hand turn afterward you come off the jump. As I made the turn, Chris R. and Leon passed me (like I was sitting still!). I followed them into the first woods section and tried to keep up, but the dust was thick and it was all I could do to stay on the course/not hit any trees.

About half-way into lap 1, I saw Leon pulled off the track and he was walking around his Gade (perhaps looking it over?). I slowed down and asked if he was ok, and Leon waived me on...I didn't see any damage to him or his quad, so I continued with my race.

Eventually, I started passing slower riders from classes that started ahead of the ute class. Most of them would quickly pull over and let me pass as soon as they saw me. At one point, I came upon a blue sport quad with a loud 2-stroke engine (perhaps a blaster?) and yelled to let him know I was right behind him. He didn't seem to hear me at first, so I got close to his bumper and continued to yell as loud as possible as we made our way though the twisty wooded trails. I soon realized that unlike the other riders I had passed, this bozo was purposely ignoring me and didn't make any effort to move over when it was safe to do so. I had no idea why he didn't just pull over a bit b/c I'm not in his class (which is obvious from my race number). Finally, I found a wide, straight section of trail and I blew past this slow poke. He had slowed me down for at least a 1/2 mile while I ate his dust and tried to get around him. So I was not a happy camper at this point.

I finished lap one in (15:17), meaning 15 minutes, 17 seconds...and well behind Chris R. and Brady. I knew I had my work cut out for me if I was going to catch up.


LAP 2:
I picked up the pace considerably on the 2nd lap and knocked almost 50 seconds off my time (completed lap 2 in 14:28).

As I approached the end of lap 2, I could see that Chris R. had passed Brady and Brady was right on Chris' tail. They were both approximately 15 seconds ahead of me at this point, so I pressed onward with the hope that I might catch them before the race was over.


LAP 3:
I kept pushing hard and lap 3 was my fastest lap yet (14:26). Near the 4 mile marker, I turned to the right and took the (hard to find) alternative route that I mentioned earlier. This route ran parallel to the main left route, but seemed to be much faster before joining together about 200 yards up the course. As I exited this route, I noticed that I came out right behind Chris and Brady! Wow...I got excited when I realized they had been taking the slower route rather than the alternative route on the right (again, it was hard to see this route unless you looked up in the tree at the L and R arrows). Knowing that I had this advantage, I felt confident that I could jump in front of these guys on the next lap if I could just hang with them until we reached the 4 mile marker.

As we finished the last mile of lap 3, I worked hard to close the gap between me and Brady (who was still in 2nd place at this point). By the time I reached the scoring schute, all three of us (Chris, Brady and myself) were practically bumper to bumper. I was pumped! Even though the race officials didn't wave the white flag, I suspected lap 4 would be our last lap due to the amount of time that passed thus far.


LAP 4:
Brady kept a close eye on me as we started lap 4 and I did my best to hang on his bumper. He made it difficult as he sprayed me with his muddy roost again (just past the scoring schute) and kicked up thick dust as we plowed down the wooded trails. I recall not being able to see him or anything through the thick dust and suddenly, the dust would be gone because he made a sharp turn...then I'd slam on the brakes to avoid a tree or large rock. By the time we completed the first half of lap 4, I had narrowly escaped death at least 2 or 3 times and realized it would not be wise to continue to BLINDLY race through the dust at this pace. I decided to drop back a little and avoid the risk of racing in heavy dust. As I let off my pace, I could feel the effects of the 90 plus temps on my body...the heat was finally getting to me and sipping water from my camel back didn't seem to help much. I pressed onward at a more reasonable pace with the hope that somehow I might be able to catch them when I reached the alternative route at the 4 mile marker.

Unfortunately for me, Chris R. and Brady waited until lap 4 to put down their fastest lap of the race with Chris running a 14:21 and Brady running a 14:25. When I finally exited the alternative route, I could see that Chris and Brady were still well ahead of me and there was not enough distance left in the race for me to catch them. I finished lap 4 in 14:42.


RACE RESULTS:
Chris R. (Scrambler 1000) took the win, Brady (Outty 800 or 1000) finished a close 2nd and I finished in 3rd place about 15 seconds or so behind Brady. About a minute or two later, Keith (Gade 1000) hit the checked flag, followed soon thereafter by Robert (Scrambler 850) and then Chris (Scrambler 850). Leon (Gade 800 or 1000) had a DNF, but I'm not sure why.

As I passed the finish line, I couldn't help but feel proud of my performance. Normally, I don't even see Chris R. after the first lap because he rides so much faster than me...but somehow, I managed to hang with both Chris (and Brady) at this race. When I stopped and congratulated Chris and Brady on their finishes, Chris disclosed that he got a flat on his rear tire early in the race (less than 1 mile into lap 1). Now it all made sense...the only reason I could keep up with Chris R.'s pace was that he was racing on 3 tires instead of 4. LOL

As always, I have to say a big THANK YOU to TORN for putting on another FUN event! I hope you enjoyed my write-up.





Edited by MikeyBoy_esq (05/12/14 05:23 AM)
_________________________
2007 Kaw. KFX700
TORN #611

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