It’s not often that I get the chance to race a stock RZR, but that was exactly what happened at the last round (round 10) of UTV Rally Raid. Round 9, the previous race, of the same series took place a few weeks prior to round 10. While in a commanding lead, our purpose built center-seat RZR XP900 suffered a blown head gasket and brake issues on all four corners. Difficulties getting replacement parts in soon enough caused me to accelerate the debut of our 2014 race RZR, a RZR XP 1000.
Taking a bone stock RZR into a field full of purpose built race cars is a daunting task, at best. I was looking forward to the challenge for an entire week, after making the decision to start prepping a brand new vehicle with only 78 miles on it. After installing the basic requirement to pass tech inspection (fire extinguisher, safety lights, five point harnesses) I installed the only two performance upgrades, a set of 14” HiPer beadlock wheels and a set of 27” GBC Dirt Commanders. Other than the wheels and tires, the only performance modification to this vehicle was a set of PRP ratcheting 5-point harnesses. Everything else was as it rolled off of the showroom floor.
Not only would I be racing a stock vehicle, but I would be doing so in a complete mud fest. There isn’t much I hate more than racing in the mud. However, as much as I wanted to just load the shiny new car back into the box van, I had put too much effort into getting this vehicle onto the track to turn back prior to the race starting.
Starting on row 5, there would be 8 people in front of me when I finally rounded the first corner. Simply keeping the vehicle on the track and off of the trees was a huge task in the deep mud and water. However, the new XP1K handled the Stoney Lonesome race course very well thanks to the excellent suspension and the traction provided by the GBC Dirt Commanders, even with the added weight of lap after lap of mud piling on to the machine. I was able to lead the entirety of the race, from the first wave of the starting flag to the final drop of the checkered flag. It was a great first showing for the new XP1K, and especially for a stock RZR.
Finishing out the UTV Rally Raid series with another win was a great primer for 2014. The Octane Race Team raced four races in UTV Rally Raid this year. We won two of them and got the fastest lap in one of the other races. In the two DNF races, we broke while in a commanding lead. I’m completely satisfied with those results and plan on building on those numbers next year. I’m looking forward to competing for the championship again in UTV Rally Raid in 2014.
I would like to take one last opportunity in 2013 to say that our success this year would not have been possible without these great companies standing behind us with product and knowledge support. It takes a team to be successful and each of these contributors deserves a piece of the success in 2013.
So, if you have a stock RZR, there’s no reason you can’t come out to UTV Rally Raid and be competitive. Below are the only performance modifications I made to the new XP1000.
Polaris, GBC Motorsports, HiPer Technology, Octane Media, ATVScene.com, Blue Torch Fab, Yoshimura, King Shocks, DirtyDawg Performance, SXSPerformance.com, Benchmark Performance, K&N Engineering, and MPFab.com.