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#570941 - 06/28/14 04:32 AM My ATV Race Write-up from Bulcher (Round 5)
MikeyBoy_esq Offline
Gang Member

Registered: 07/01/03
Posts: 196
Loc: Conroe, TX
Last Saturday, I drove to Bulcher, Tx to compete in Round 5 of the 2014 TORN series (cross-country ATV races). I usually skip this race because its the farthest distance from my house. But I decided to race it this season. Below is my race write-up. For what its worth, I'm typing this with only 1 hand.


WHERE:
This XC race was held at Red River Riding Trails in Bulcher, Tx. This race is unique because the TORN series (from Texas) invites the OCCRA series (from Oklahoma) to join us. As a result, the turn out is typically larger than normal. You know what they say, the more the merrier.


TRACK CONDITIONS:
The weather was mostly sunny and hot (mid 90s degrees at race time). The ATV track length was approximately 4 miles long. The track layout included a shallow river crossing, lots of tight woods, an open pasture or two, some rocky areas and a handful of steep hill climbs and descents. The track had a few places where the rider could choose between two alternative routes that joined again further down the track, usually on the down hill sections.


UTILITY CLASS:
There were 10 quads in the Utility class, including a few racers from OCCRA. The line-up included 4 Polaris Scramblers, 3 Can Ams, 2 small Hondas (350cc or 250cc) plus my KFX700.


PRACTICE:
After making the 5 hour drive to Bulcher, I only had enough time for 1 practice lap. On my practice lap, somehow I got lost along with 3 other quads and we drove another mile before finding the course again. This was not a good sign of things to come.

During practice, I noticed 2 things about this technical course. First, the fairly steep downhill sections sometimes had alternative routes. I tried going down the most direct route on a steep, rocky downhill section near the 2 mile marker and (even though I was going slow) I started sliding down on the rocks straight towards a big tree at the bottom...just barely missed the tree, so I decided to take the slightly longer route during the race to avoid a possible wreck. Second, I noticed some of the narrow trails had steep embankments on both sides (kinda like you are riding in a dry creek)...I was careful not to get the side walls of your front tires too close to the edge or else it might catch the edge and send you flying over the bars.


THE START:
When we lined up, the starting line was approximately 75 feet to the first right hand turn around a small dirt mound. The starting area was a deep, soft sand bar along a river. Being one of the only 2wd quads in the ute class, I obviously had a slight disadvantage on the start. I was lined up near the far left side near the two small Hondas. The quads that got to the line earlier were lucky enough to take the far right side, which included moist sand next to the river (better traction than the deep, loose sand that the rest of us had). At this point, I wish I got there sooner.

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. I made the first turn with 5 big utes on my immediate right (scramblers and Can Ams)...as we settled into a line, I was in 6th place out of 10.


LAPS 1 & 2:
As we entered the woods, I tried to keep up with the pack, but it wasn't long before they ran off and left me. I wasn't surprised b/c I wasn't very familiar with this track yet and tight woods is not where I usually shine. I pressed on anyway. Near the end of lap 1 or beginning of lap 2, I came across a young lady on a sport quad that was going slow. She did not appear to know I was behind her so I yelled a few times. She never looked back or tried to move over, even when she had a chance to do so. Another sport quad was on my tail and he started honking a horn (I'm guessing it was an Oklahoma racer). Anyway, she made it difficult to get around her (rode in middle of course at all times, never looked back or moved over)... this continued at least a few miles...very frustrating. Finally the trail got wide (she was in the middle) and I squeezed between her and the trees. I later heard from others that she held them up too. I don't understand why some folks do that...especially if they are not in the same class as me.

LAP 3:
Finally, I caught a break on lap 3 when I came across a half dozen quads blocking the trail ahead of me. It appeared that one of the Polaris Scramblers got side ways on a trail and he was blocking another Scrambler and a few sport quads. The sport quad ahead of me made a trail around the blockage and I followed. That put me in 4th position in my class, and suddenly I found my 2nd wind. I pressed on and finished lap 3 riding hard.


LAP 4:
As I began lap 4, I slowed down to cross a 1 foot deep river crossing b/c I didn't want to get muddy water on my goggles. Just as I made it half-way across, I felt a sudden splash of water on my immediate left side. To my dismay, I discovered it was one of the small Hondas and he was about to pass me. I was not about to let that happen, so I gunned it and stayed ahead of him as we entered the woods. At the 2 mile marker, I took the slightly longer way down the steep hill. As I got close to the bottom, I noticed the Honda flying down the steep route and he jumped right in front of me as we headed up a steep hill climb. I couldn't believe the little Honda took the more dangerous route down the hill and passed me. As I followed him to the top, I could hear his little Honda engine slowing down/running out of power and I wanted to pass him...unfortunately, it got a bit rough near the top so I didn't feel safe passing him there. That pass left me in 5th position and a bit embarrassed too! A bit further down the trail, I approached another downhill where there were alternate routes. Again, as I descended I discovered the other small Honda taking another route and he barely got passed me when we reached the bottom. I couldn't believe it...I just got passed by the 2 smallest quads in my class and I was now in 6th place again. Grrrr.

THEN, IT HAPPENED...
I followed close behind both Hondas as we went through a gate and entered a short pasture area not far from the famous Red Bull Barn. The trail takes you through a few zig-zags before making a hard left near the fence line and entering the tight woods again. The open fields is where my KFX700 shines and I knew this was my best chance to pass the Hondas. I had reached 40mph in this short pasture earlier in the race and knew I could do that again. I closed in as we all made the sweeping right hand turn and headed towards the fence line. As we exited that turn, I made my move. I steered right and quickly passed one and decided to pass the other too...but that was a mistake as I stayed on the throttle a bit too long. As I passed the 2nd one, I slammed on my breaks and began sliding towards the 4 strand barbed wire fence. I knew there was no way I could stop in time and remember thinking I'm gonna be swiss cheese if I hit that fence (and I *knew* I was gonna hit the fence). I steered hard to the left hoping I could somehow avoid hitting the fence and go into the woods. That is when everything got crazy. It happened so fast. I recall my quad rolling over to the right side just as I got close to the barbed wire fence... I recall putting out my right hand to stop my fall... I recall rolling with the quad and was suddenly on the ground. Just like that, I heard 2 voices screaming to me and asking if I was ok. It was the Honda boys (Randy and Cole I believe...both from Oklahoma). The told me to take it easy and sip water from my camel back. I did. They asked if I was ok. I said I think so. I tried to get off the ground and immediately knew something was wrong with my right arm...it hurt like Hell, especially in the wrist area. I came my feet and the first thought in my mind was it was a MIRACLE that I made it without being cut to shreds by the 4 strand barbed wire fence. In fact, I was standing on the other side of the fence (I somehow went through it) and my green KFX was laying on its side against the fence. I fully expected body be ripped up and bloody. Somehow, I was not... THANK YOU GOD! I did find a HUGE BRUISE on my left arm where the barbed wire caught me and a small cut on my right arm, but otherwise didn't seem cut up at all. The next day, I discovered 3 sets of holes in myt (under jersey) soft chest protector where the barbed wire pierced it. I also noticed the mouth piece on my helmet was knocked off somehow. I am soooo grateful I was wearing all of my riding gear!

The Honda boys were very helpful and got my quad back on 4 wheels and got me back through the fence. I thanked them for their help and told them to return to their race while I rested a bit. Before they left, Randy said I looked really cool as I rolled my quad. I said, "thanks... I guess." LOL

As I sat on my KFX, I stared at the barbed wire fence that I just hit. The top wire still hung in its original position, but the bottom 3 wires were mashed down a bit...very obvious I indeed went through the fence, not over it. Again, I felt so very lucky just to be alive. As I sat there waiting for help, my right arm/wrist was hurting worse and worse, and I knew I couldn't continue the race. Finally, a sweeper named Dave arrived on a dirt bike and he drove me and my KFX back to my truck where the TORN medics looked at my arm and wrapped it. They told me I needed to get my arm X-ray'd at a hospital to find out if it was broken or just badly sprained, the nearest of which was probably a 1/2 hour drive or more. Some guys that I didn't know (including a guy from Oklahoma named Lance) loaded my KFX into the back of my truck. I took a few Advil that I had in my truck, bought some ice at the first town I came to and drove 5 hours to the ER room in my hometown. They did X-rays, told me it was broken, put my arm in a temporary cast and referred me to an Orthopedic Surgeon soon.

UPDATE: I saw the Surgeon on Thursday. It turns out I broke both bones in my right arm (near the wrist) and will have surgery this Tuesday so he can install a plate in 1 bone (Radius) and possibly add wires/pins to the other bone (Ulna). Please say a prayer for me!


RACE RESULTS: Having completed only 3 full laps, I think I finished 8th place out of 10. Unfortunately, my racing career is in jeopardy. Not b/c of my injury per se (doc says I'll be good as new in 2 months), but rather because my wife and family are pressuring me to quit XC racing so I wont get hurt again. They don't seem to care that I'm currently in 2nd place for utility class season points. But seriously, this is my first wreck in 7 seasons of XC racing (4 seasons in ATVCCS and 3 seasons in TORN). I love XC racing and the great people I've met, so the thought of quitting pains me greatly. But I also don't want to worry my family and/or possibly hurt myself even worse. I don't heal as fast as I used to. I'll think it over, but its possible that this is my last race write-up ever. If so, I'm gonna miss my TORN family... great bunch of guys and gals!

As always, I have to say a big THANK YOU to TORN for putting on another FUN event! It was great fun until I hit the barbed wire fence.

PIC:
_________________________
2007 Kaw. KFX700
TORN #611

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#571010 - 07/01/14 06:20 PM Re: My ATV Race Write-up from Bulcher (Round 5) [Re: MikeyBoy_esq]
bddKTM521 Offline
TON Member

Registered: 12/02/03
Posts: 53
Loc: Haslet, Tx
Mike I pray that you heal quickly, but 2 months for regular people is one thing, for us to race again is much longer. Every time I have been injured I hear it all from the wives, family and friends, your too old, racing is dangerous, grow up, think about everyone else.......everyone else's happiness but yours. After 4 concussions, 5 dislocated joints, 9 broken bones and 2 broken neck bone injuries, 4 surgeries, and not to mention dozens of scrapes, cuts, gashes, stitches and bruises, I still want to be out there too. I haven't finished a full season since midway thru my ATVCCS days because of injuries.

One hospital visit in seven years....don't quit now your on a good roll compared to most of us. Rehab and rebuild and remember what went wrong this time, and just get back out there, your a XC racer, not a couch potato.
_________________________
Donny Rutherford
KTM #521 O/40 Exp. TORN Series
Action Motorsports
Northwest Roofing
WHEN IT DOUBT....GAS IT!

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#571011 - 07/01/14 06:43 PM Re: My ATV Race Write-up from Bulcher (Round 5) [Re: bddKTM521]
honda91 Offline
TON Member

Registered: 10/21/09
Posts: 98
Get well soon Mike. Glad you are Ok.

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#571712 - 08/11/14 07:44 PM Re: My ATV Race Write-up from Bulcher (Round 5) [Re: honda91]
HellBndr23 Offline
New Boot

Registered: 09/09/12
Posts: 27
Glad to hear your doing ok Mike. Hang in there!

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