Vegas to Reno, August 17h 2012
2012 Vegas to Reno Story:
I would be teaming up with James Woodford on the Q11 and were 3rd off the line for this year’s race. I was more anxious than usual this year because of the large amount of money and time it had taken to get the Franken-Raptor to this point and I was pretty sure we were finally ready to contend for the win in the pro class. KMS had the engine running strong, Kelly lowered the compression and now it was making a mere 71 wheel horsepower. :) We successfully stress tested it in the 117 degree Phoenix heat and we had the Hiper Pro fill run flat system installed and ready to go.
I waited at Pit 1 for my turn to ride, the first quad through was Josh Row’s Yamaha who had started first, 30 seconds behind him was the Q45 team and then we came through about 1 minute later. When I left the Pit the Q1 team of Danny and David were right behind me, they had started 5th so they had already made up some ground.
My section was very silty but also very fast. The quad ran great in the deep silt and sand. Then I hit the lake bed but I was in the dust of some motorcycles and was only able to hit 83mph on my Garmin heart rate thingie.
It was unbelievably dusty which made passing all the slow motorcycles very hard. I am not sure why every expert bike still starts ahead of the pro quads, it is very annoying and a little dangerous, as the Q8 team of Matt Hancock found out. He was flying up on a bike in the same section I just rode when the bike swerved in front of him causing Matt to have to ride off the course to avoid contact. This sent Matt into a berm where he flew off the quad. The quad and Matt tumbled several times but Matt was ok. This ended their day because the quad was too bent up to keep racing.
I got to pit 2 where I was supposed to hand it over to James again but I had beaten the chase truck so I kept going, still 3rd on the course. The next section was also very high speed but the dust kept me from passing a few bikes. I got to Pit 3 still 3rd on the course and about 3 minutes behind 1st.
We headed to Pit 4 and waited for what seemed like forever. Other teams in the pits where also worried that their riders hadn’t come through yet, everyone was suspecting something had happened. Then we saw the first quad coming through and it was the Q10 team, everyone in the pits was confused by this since they hadn’t been in the top 3 physically at any previous pit. A few minutes later James arrived on the Q11 and the front light bar was damaged. We straightened it out and I took off, 2nd quad on the course.
Here is James story about what happened: He was still 3rd quad on course when he noticed people coming at him the other direction. It turns out a large group of riders had missed a turn and they were no longer on the race course. So everyone turned around, there were 2 motorcycles, the Q45 team and James riding slowly in the dust. Then the two bikes came together and tipped over in front of everyone. The Q45 locked em up and James didn’t see everyone stopped until it was too late and he rear ended the Q45 at a slow speed. Then he saw Josh Row flying up behind him and Josh went off the course to avoid the pile up which caused him to wreck pretty badly but he was ok. So that is how Q10 was the first quad to pit 4, they avoided all the chaos.
So I left pit 4, 2nd quad on course and I was right behind a motorcycle, the quad was vibrating quite a bit more than before, I was worried something in the front end was bent or broken because at the time I didn’t know if James had rolled or just hit something. A few miles after Pit 4 the bike and I both missed another turn due to bad course markings, it only cost a few seconds but it was scary to see a bike coming back at me. We crossed a dry lake bed and I opened up the Raptor and flew past the bike, my wrist watch GPS log shows 87 mph here it was a little scary due to all the vibrations.
I arrived at pit 5 and asked the pit crew to check the front suspension, my truck wasn’t there but James’ dad was there to help. Then I noticed water coming from the hose on the water pump, thankfully the hose clamp was the problem and we fixed it. Then Brett Greenholz’s dad pointed out that our pivot bolt was broken. That would explain why I felt the rear end walking around a bit. We had no spares or good tools at this pit so we borrowed a hammer and slammed the pivot bolt back in place and I got on my way and hoped for the best.
While we were pitting a few teams got past us, I think we were back to 3rd or 4th now. I rode a little more carefully and made it to pit 6 ok where my team was waiting to swap in a new pivot bolt. We also swapped air filters and tightened the chain. The pivot bolt swap took longer than expected; the old one was really jammed in there. This put us off the pace of the leaders but I think we were still 4th on course.
We held this position for a few more pits, until we were dropped back to 5th place while changing rear tires. The tires were going bald due to all the speed on this course. I jumped on at pit 12 in 5th place. A few miles in I hit a large g-out which jarred the gas tank loose. It was moving all over the place if I stood up but if I kept my butt on the seat it held the tank down, unfortunately this one was of the few rough sections on the course, full of sand whoops and while I was sitting down Josh Row passed me. I was glad to see his wreck didn’t end their day but I was bummed to get passed. I got on the radio and told my truck to get to pit 13 with the tools and parts; they were planning to skip that pit because it was unlikely the truck would beat the racer to pit 13 from pit 12. After I got passed the course smoothed out and I caught back up thanks to the big power the raptor makes and I road in Row’s dust all the way to the next pit.
I got to the next pit and started tearing the plastics off while I waited for the chase truck. When they got there we installed new hardware to hold the gas tank down and we removed the bent up light rack so it could get straightened in case we needed it later since we were falling so far behind and night riding was looking like a possibility. The quad was starting to run rough below 2000 rpm and while leaving this pit we had to push start it.
The next section was fast and fun, on a high speed rode I noticed the tread of an ATV tire laying in the road, I’d never seen that before so it stuck out. Then at least 10 miles later I caught up to a Honda 700 running on a left rear rim with no tire. It was Travis Dillon riding on the Pirrunas racing Honda 700. I was flying up behind him when he got stuck in a eroded section of the wash, I nearly rear ended him but pitched it sideways and locked em up to avoid hitting him. He looked back and calmly said, oh hey Trent. That made me laugh and I said hi and kept on going. I couldn’t stop to help because there was no way we’d be push starting the FrankenRaptor in that sand and I knew it wouldn’t restart on its own. I made it to pit 13 and got a splash of gas from a volunteer from race dezert named Lance, thanks Lance!!
Pit 13 to 14 was really crazy and fun, I wish I had the helmet cam for this one. It was a high speed road with big up and down roller coaster hills, every hill you just knew your death would be on the other side via a drop off or erosion but it was all fairly smooth. Coming into pit 14 I caught another pro quad and I was right behind him when I turned it over to James who would take it to the finish from there.
James rode strong to the finish and we barely beat him in the chase truck coming from pit 14. We ended up finishing with a disappointing 6th place, at 11 hours and 49 minutes. The winning quad was Q1, Dave Scott and Danny Prather; they only beat the Q10 team by 20 seconds!! Their winning time was 10 hours and 30 minutes. The raptor needs a few more things to make it bullet proof but I am happy with the progress, now I just need a tire and fuel sponsor!! :)
Gigantic thanks to Jolea, Adam, Nic, my dad, Jeff and Kelly at KMS, we couldn’t have done it without them. Thanks to James and his family for teaming up with me and to all my sponsors on www.kendallrace.com