The 2014 Best In The Desert (BITD) season wrapped up with a final drag race at the Henderson 250. Like years past, the Henderson 250 would play host to deciding the Pro UTV season Championship. Brandon Schueler in the #1919 Jagged X Polaris RZR would enter the race with a 10 point lead over the #1934 Polaris RZR of Coastal Racing. Scott Kiger and Mark Holz have split driving time almost 50/50 this entire season, Henderson would see Kiger behind the wheel and Holz riding shotgun.
BITD made a late decision last week to move UTVs to the second race of the day allowing bikes & quads to race alone in the early morning. This put UTVs in with other 4 wheel buggies and trucks allowing the UTVs to showcase where they stand amongst these other class and allow the UTVs to race a little later in the morning. The change of pace was welcomed and over 20 UTVs would once again take the green flag.
Henderson tends to be a fast race, this year it seemed even quicker since BITD graded a good majority of the course. When speaking to Casey Folks about this he said it was done for safety reasons as well as environmental purposes. While many would argue it makes the course too easy to compete on, his defense is that he had no injuries and a very high finishing rate. I know many could argue both sides of the coin but Folks is convincing when you hear him give you the reasons for it being done. Nevertheless his hard work and effort is appreciated. No one can knock how hard Casey works for the sport and for the racers. He doesn’t toot his own horn and he remains consistent in all that he does. The UTV class appreciates that.
With a still moist race course from rains during the week, the dust was kept to a minimum meaning racers were able to race hard and push their machines to the limits. Craig Scanlon in the #1931 Jagged X Polars RZR would be the first UTV off into the desert after getting the holeshot off the start. He would enjoy clean air until his teammate in the #1919 would catch and pass him for the lead. Soon behind him was the #1934 of Coastal Racing. The 3 of them would run nose to tail for majority of the race, rotating positions and racing as clean as it gets. Schueler had to finish within one position of Kiger to maintain his points lead and clinch the championship. Kiger knew that and did all he could to put time and space between he and the #1919. Scanlon was racing for a podium in both the race and in the championship. He would need some help to make the championship podium from the Murray’s in the #1917 Can-Am. They would need to finish way back or DNF to allow Scanlon enough points to retain that position. For now, the Henderson race was much bigger than just a race, it was for the championship.
As racers made their way through the second and final lap, Kiger in the 1934, Schueler in the 1919 and Scanlon in the 1931 would run within seconds of each other putting almost a 12 minute gap between them and the next closest UTV. The pace these 3 would run to the finish was possibly the fastest ran all year. Kiger tried all he could to shake Schueler and put a gap between the 2 but it just wouldn’t happen. In the end Kiger would win the 2014 Henderson 250 in his 1934 Coastal Racing Polaris RZR which Schueler in the 1919 Jagged X Polaris RZR finishing second and Scanlon in the 1931 Jagged X Polaris RZR finishing 3rd.
While Kiger and Holz had every reason to celebrate this win you couldn’t help but tell their were still slightly disappointed that they would fall short of the season championship. No one can argue that the 1934 isn’t one of, if not the fastest RZRs in the sport of UTV off-road racing. In addition, they put in a phenomenal team effort this season. We whole heartedly congratulate them on their season and their Henderson 250 win. With rumors swirling around Kiger taking next season off from desert racing, I asked him and Holz what the deal is. The response was that they would try to do a few races as time allows but it looks like Scott has some big things going on in his professional life that he needs to take time off for. We hope to see both Kiger and Holz back next year and no matter what wish them all the best.
For Schueler it would be his 6th Pro UTV BITD Championship. It solidifies him and his co-driver Blake Van De Loo as the most successful team ever in UTV desert racing. Jagged X once again proves to the entire sport just why they are the premier team in UTV racing. They do get amazing factory support and they have some solid sponsors but at the end of the day it comes down to the team and the drivers when competing for a Championship. It takes prep, speed, consistency and a lot of hard work and dedication and thats exactly what Jagged X posses. Our hats are off to this first class program and to Brandon and Blake. Just the fact they won Back to Back championships in this ever evolving class is a feat in itself, but to be mounting their 6th championship plaque on the wall is just spectacular.
As the UTVs continued to trickle in, Craig Scanlon would have a little more to cheer about than just a podium at the Henderson 250! the 1917 Can-Am of the Murray’s would have problems causing them to finish 13th. The 10 position difference would give enough points to Scanlon to allow him to clinch the 3rd spot in the Championship podium. This is a major accomplishment for a guy who just a couple years ago had never raced off-road. Scanlon has proved to many that he is the real deal behind the wheel. He can run with the best and has showed signs of being able to be a top UTV race winning contender. Its also hard to ignore the fact that this guy literally lives and breathes UTVs and RZRs. he helped spawn the Polaris RZR lineup and has been one of the most instrumental players in pushing RZR and our sport to the level its at. To see a guy like Scanlon not only working hard behind the scenes at Polaris but then also coming out to the desert to play and race amongst the very guys he works to provide vehicles too is pretty special. When you start to ask yourself why Polaris and RZR is doing so well in this industry, its easy to look at what Scanlon is doing and see where the inspiration comes from. You have a guy in a boardroom making decisions based off of what he is learning on the race course. So we congratulate and thank Craig Scanlon at the same time. He and the Jagged X team have a lot to be proud about!
Lastly, I want to congratulate both Matt Krimple and Scott Martinez for winning championships in their respective classes. Krimple is driver of the DSR1 John Deere Gator, Martinez is driver of the Pro 850 John Deere Gator. Both would win championships and while many, even us here at UTVUnderground.com haven’t given these guys much attention this year, they deserve some props for the efforts they too have put in this year. They raced each and every race, not all were trouble free, but nevertheless they put in the work and earned these championships so congrats to them. We are unclear as to where these John Deere’s are going for 2015 as its clear the 850 class has been dismantled and it isn’t anywhere near being able to compete with the 1000’s. We hope Can-Am, Polaris, Arcitc Cat etc. take notice of these guys and maybe reach out to offer a deal. If they can do this well in an underpowered Gator, imagine what they can do with some real HP! Nice work guys!
To wrap the year up I want to thank each and every racer and team who represented UTVUnderground.com this year. I say it a lot but its the truth when I tell you that nothing is more rewarding then seeing our logos on your cars. We love this sport and we love being out there with you guys and we truly appreciate all the support you give back to us here at UTVUG. Its an honor to cover these races for you guys. We also thank Polaris for their budget support the past couple of years to allow us to do video coverage for the Polaris racers. Huge thank you to BITD for always being first class and also supporting not only UTVUnderground.com but the UTV class in general. And I have to give a huge shout out to Rusty Baptist and our entire Mad Media posse for all the hard work and efforts this year in helping UTVUG cover the races to the fullest extent. No one in the entire sport of off-road works harder as a team to provide high quality story telling and images like Mad Media.
Well, see you all in a few weeks when 2015 kicks off, until then…..
Photos by: Vincent Knakal // UTVUnderground.com
1. #1934 Scott Kiger & Mark Holz | Coastal Racing / Polaris RZR
2. #1919 Brandon Schueler | Jagged X / Polaris RZR
3. #1931 Craig Scanlon | Jagged X / Polaris RZR
4. #1946 Kent Perkins & Christina Perkins | Perkins Dirt / Polaris RZR
5. #1952 Jonathoan McVay | Lone Star Racing / Polaris RZR
6. #1918 Justin Lambert | Cognito Motorsports / Polaris RZR
7. #1916 Ryan Poelman | Supercross.com / Polaris RZR
8. #1910 Dan Fisher | Lone Star Racing / Polaris RZR
9. #1957 Rodger D Lee | Ironworks / Polaris RZR
10. #1922 Bret Ferrell | Team South Motorsports / Polaris RZR
11. #1904 Cory Sappington | Dezert Toyz / Can-Am Maverick
12. #1924 Lacrecia Beurrier | DragonFire / Can-Am Maverick
13. #1917 Jason & Derek Murray | Murray Racing / Can-Am Maverick
14. #1933 Ryan Bergamini | Rossi Tire / Polaris RZR
15. #1929 Lanse Chournos | Rally On The Rocks / Arctic Cat Wildcat
16. #1971 Matt Krimple | Vigor Motorsports / John Deere Gator (1st Place DSR1)
17. #1981 Jeff Kary | Kary Environmental Services / CUSTOM (1st Place Sportsman)
18. #1998 Dan Sprague | Polaris RZR (Sportsman)
19. #1915 Robert Villarreal | Lone Star Racing / Polaris RZR
20. #1992 Daniel Silva | Silva Racing / Can-Am Maverick (Sportsman)
21. #1991 David Laurence | Lone Star Racing / CUSTOM (Sportsman)
22. #1928 Brian Geczi | Jersey Electric & Solar / Polaris RZR
23. #1902 Jeff Obering | Kolob air / Polaris RZR
See official results: CLICK HERE