The Mystik Lubricants Terracross Championship rolled into Southern California and brought UTV Supercross style racing to the San Diego County Fair. Racers from all over the United States, and a bunch from right here in Southern California came out to participate in one of the largest, most anticipated UTV races ever held! The racing was full of chaos, excitement and hard nosed door-2-door competition. Everything was filmed for television to be aired on on CBS sports at a later date, but it was all about the spec Polaris RZR XP1000 class at Terracross and thats where the best racing took place for 2 days strait.
Terracross is one part MX and one part enduro. The format is consists of practice, seeding, qualifying and then finals or mains. All seeding and qualifying is held on Saturday with Sunday hosting the LCQ’s and Mains. In front of a packed house both days, just under 26 spec Terracross XP1000’s competed in front of packed stands at the San Diego County Fair which attracts 10s of thousands of people each and every day. The machines as mentioned are spec XP1K’s provided by series sponsor Polaris. Machines are outfitted with doors, roofs, beadlock wheels and tires. The only difference between machines are the graphics adn some cars run Pro Armor doors, some factory Polaris doors, some run Walker Evans Racing wheels, others run Method Race Wheels but all are on GBC Motorsports Kanati Mongrel Tires and all sport 5-point harnesses. One interesting feature on the machines were the new Factory windshield intrusion bars. This could be an inside look of what to expect from the factory at Polaris this year. The Polaris doors were also different providing a full door vs. just a half door. Racers are allowed to adjust their ride height and tire pressure but are prevented from adjusting or adding anything else to their machines.
With a qualifying format the pressure is on racers to perform. Only 16 cars make each main leaving 10 racers to sit the sidelines and miss the big filmed for TV main! Racers are encouraged to “put on a show” both for fans and for TV and thats exactly what they did! The other exciting part about Terracross is the lineup of drivers. Of course the reigning 2013 champ and Polaris poster boy RJ Anderson is back this year as is last years UTVUnderground.com driver Chad Ragland. Colten Moore, Dana Creech, Darryl Rath, BC Vaught, and Brian Bush are a few of the other returning racers from 2013. Ragland moved out of the factory UTVUnderground.com #23 race car into a new #33 CageWrx / UTVUnderground machine making room for WORCS star Mitch Guthrie Jr.! “Mitchie” took over the #23 UTVUnderground / Walker Evans Racing RZR this year for us and we couldn’t be more excited about having him on our team with support from Super ATV, Holz Racing Products, GBC and Utendorfer Design. What also makes this year exciting is the addition of Supercross racing legend Jeremy McGrath! Showtime McGrath will be piloting the #2 Loctite RZR this year and not only does that add another level of competition for racers it also adds a lot of excitement to the series as a whole. As a UTV guy, I am honored to have McGrath competing in a UTV and I know I share that sentiment with many others in our sport.
Joe Duncan, the head of Terracross, went one step further in making sure the opening round of Terracross went off this year. Besides locking down one of the coolest venues to ever host a UTV race, he also brought out off-road icons Walker Evans and Larry Ragland to come participate. Walker Evans who jumped behind the wheel of his very own Walker Evans Racing Polaris RZR brought the same style of driving to Terracross that has earned him 21 off-road racing championships, including 5 Baja 1000 wins! The 75 year old put on a clinic racing his young prodigy RJ Anderson head to head both days at Terracross. Day 1 saw RJ lead Walker into the big arena over / under gap jump but before they could even complete a lap the racing legend through a pass that would overtake RJ and give him the lead for the next 5 laps! He would finish that exhibition race in the lead with RJ making comment to us that he was trying everything he could to run Walker down! Larry Ragland is no slouch either! Lightning Larry Ragland is also a 5 time overall Baja 1000 winner and has more wins in off-road racing then we care to count. Larry jumped behind the wheel of his own CageWRX / UTVUnderground Terracross RZR and ran with the pack all day on Saturday. It was so cool to see Larry and son Chad out there in those orange UTVUnderground RZR’s, it truly is a highlight for us here at UTVUnderground.com and an even bigger highlight for our sport as a whole. It really shows where this sport is going when such iconic veterans of our sport are truly embracing UTV culture and competition!
The racing caused pure carnage both days for many racers. One driver went end over end just in a practice run and racing claimed numerous drivers due to roll overs, mechanicals and collisions. One such collision would take the reigning 2013 champion and UTVUG race team driver RJ Anderson out on lap one of the first main. After dominating all the qualifiers RJ would lead the pack out of the gate but then one anxious driver would drive strait into RJ on a hair pin turn leaving RJ with a destroyed steering rack. Unfortunately for the driver, RJ was able to pin it down the strait and return the favor by parking his RZR strait into a k-rail sending the crowd into a frenzy! From there it was all about the #23 UTVUnderground.com RZR and teammate to RJ Anderson, Mitch Guthrie Jr., who would work his way through the pack and take over the lead in an exciting first main. Guthrie would begin to lay down some of the weekends fastest laps with newcomer Mickey Thomas hot on his tail. Thomas in his #44 RZR tried everything he could to reel the young gun in but he just couldn’t get close to the #23 who would cross the finish line and take home the first big main win of the season!
We support all racers, those with and without UTVUnderground.com logos, but of course we are lucky enough to have our very own UTVUnderground.com machine and so to see that RZR win was huge for us for many reasons. #1 we work very hard to help grow this sport, and have done so now for over 5 years. Joe Duncan at Terracross and the staff at Polaris gave us an opportunity to run our own machine and with help from some amazing sponsors and of course with the talents of Mitch Guthrie Jr. behind the wheel we are using this #23 to hopefully help put even more eyeballs on our site. This site is not just for us, this site is for EVERYONE who loves this sport so the more people who see and read and watch what we do here, the MORE we can do to further promote and grow the UTV industry. This machine is not only a means to have fun, its a tool to hopefully attract more people to UTVUnderground.com and which in turn will help us turn more people into UTV enthusiasts.
After another set of LCQs the stage was set for the second and last main of the weekend. Unfortunately for Guthrie in our #23, he would suffer a broken rear axle which would take him out of making this final race preventing any hopes of a back to back weekend. However, with no one being able to even get close enough to take out the 2013 champ, RJ Anderson was able to lead flag to flag and win his first race of the 2014 season! RJ would hole-shot once again and never look back. The only time racers would get within striking distance was with a couple full course cautions and race re-starts, but even then the smooth, hard driving Anderson would check out and put time between he and the rest of the pack. The only thing that felt similar between the first and second main was the carnage and that same #44 putting pressure on from the second place position. Mickey Thomas was someone we had never heard of before this weekend. After speaking to Mickey Thomas Sr. we found out that Jr. has been competing at the GORS series down south. I’ll tell you what, we got our eye on this fast kid from the south. We plan to track him down and fill everyone in on just who he is, and we hope to get some UTVUnderground.com logos on that car sooner than later!
In between the Terracross Championship Pro class races was a fun Pro-Am National qualifier round of racing which allowed racers from outside the series to bring in their own UTVs to compete. Names such as Nick Nelson, Nic Grunland, Jake Shaw, James Hill, John Pacheco, Will Rodgers, and Tommy Scranton would come out to test their skills and machines on the track in hopes of earning their own invite to the big class at a later round this season. The racers from WORCS and Lucas Oil put on what looked more like a demo derby than a race at times! They did not disappoint when it came to putting on a show and we were stoked that Terracross allowed this race to happen despite the cars absolutely causing mayhem to the track and to their own machines! We would love to see this class carry through to later rounds, so thank you to Terracross and to the racers who came out on such short notice to battle!
In addition to all the fun racing action UTVUnderground.com along with Walker Evans Racing, GBC, Pro Armor and a few other series sponsors set up to show off cars, assist racers and sell products. We brought out the UTVUnderground / Race-Dezert / Mint 400 trailer, sold and giveaway a bunch of shirts, hats, DVDs, and stickers and just had a blast interacting with everyone in our own backyard. If you didn’t get a chance to pick up some of our awesome new gear in person then no worries, we will soon have it up in our store which is already full of other cool swag so go check it out and support the cause by purchasing some of your very own UTVUG gear!!
We had a ton of fun this last weekend. Thank you to EVERYONE who represented us out there in Del Mar, especially those who did so by purchasing gear and sporting it throughout the race weekend. It was awesome seeing all those red and black shirts and hats running around. I can’t tell you how cool that was for me and our team. Also, HUGE thank you to you racers and teams. You guys are why we do this, you guys and girls killed it out there and helped show those in attendance just how far our little golf carts have come. BIG thank you to Joe Duncan and his dedicated staff at the Mystik Terracross Championship. You guys put on a hell of show, laid out a fantastic course and really put on one of the most exciting and un weekends of UTV racing we have ever been a part of. Lastly I want to extend a huge thank you to the hard working staff at UTVUnderground.com. As you can see by the images, Rusty Baptist and Ernesto Araiza are 2 of the best photogs in our sport. They worked their butts off for 2 days strait to make sure you guys have some BANGER images to share, so grab them and blow them up! And stay tuned cause you know we got a sick video coming from our boy Aaron, curtesy of Mad Media. One more shout out goes to Ty who held us down in the UTVUnderground.com trailer all weekend slanging that quality merch.
Photos By: Rusty Baptist & Ernesto Araiza // UTVUnderground.com