October 13, 2020- Lake Havasu City, AZ
This was, by far, the most challenging race I have ever run. I had the opportunity to pre-run the course the weekend before the race and I knew it was going to be tough.
My team and I headed out to Lake Havasu on Thursday morning. We arrived that afternoon and went straight to the event location in the desert off Highway 95. I got my car unloaded and we headed to tech and registration. After we were done, I had the opportunity to walk the grounds and talk with so many great people in the industry. It was awesome to be out with people that share my passion! We rented a house for a few days, so when we were done at the event site, we loaded up and headed into town. There were a few minor things I wanted to do to my car, so after arriving at the house we unloaded again and made sure my car was good to go for my early morning race. I had dinner and then watched my pre-run Go Pro video again to make sure I remembered as much of the course as possible. I went to bed that night feeling pretty good about the race.
We got up early on Friday morning and headed back to the event site. We arrived there at 5:30 am and got ready to stage at 6:00 am. I checked my tire pressure, fueled, and put Go Pros on my car before heading to the line. There were 22 cars in the Production 1000 Short Course class. The short course was originally scheduled to be 5 laps on a 10.8 mile course, but was changed prior to the race. Instead, we ran 2 laps on the 30 mile desert course. My class lined up behind 24 turbo cars, 4 to a row. As the cars in the turbo class took off, I knew it was going to be dusty. The sun was just starting to rise and the cloud of dust was so thick it looked like a storm was rolling in.
I was in the first row of the Production 1000 class and rolled forward until it was our time to go. I got ready as the flagger gave us the 30 second warning. Then I watched the lights- red, red, red, red, red, GREEN! I hit the gas and took off from the line. I got the hole shot in my row and headed out into the desert. I quickly put some distance between myself and the cars in my row. I settled in and focused; it was going to be a long race. As I headed out on to the race course, the dust got worse as the miles went on. At mile 10 on lap 1, my brakes started to fade and I radioed to my pit crew. I had another 20 miles to go before I got to them, so I did what I could to save my brakes along the way. At one point the dust was so thick I couldn’t even see my steering wheel!
I slowed down when I had to because I knew there were drop-offs, rock walls, trees, and huge rocks right in the middle of the course to contend with. I clipped a few trees along the way, but was able to keep rolling. I loved racing through the washes and was really able to pick up my pace in those spots. Around mile 15 in lap 1, I had two racers come at me head on that were going the wrong way on the course, but I was able to avoid colliding with them. I hit all three check points in lap 1 and stayed on course. When I got close to the pits, I radioed to my crew that I was coming in so they could be ready for me. They filled me up with brake fluid and I headed out for lap 2.
The second lap was way better than the first. The course had cleared out a little and the air was much cleaner. I hit all three check points again in lap 2, and I was able to hold my position. I crossed the finish line with my car in one piece and I was stoked! My short course RS1 isn’t set up to run a desert course like this one, but I was able to keep it together and bring the car to the checkers!
After waiting a few days for the final results to shake out, I took the 4th place spot in my class. I am always shooting for a podium finish, but after running 60 miles with incredibly challenging conditions, 4th place felt like a victory to me!
I have been coaching a few of the youth racers, so after my race, I got ready to spot and radio for my buddy, Dallas Gonzales in the Youth 1000 class. I stayed on the radio with him throughout his entire race and he crossed the finish line in 1st place! I was stoked for him and was super proud of his accomplishment! It was a great way to end my time at the UTVWC!
We headed home on Friday evening so we could start prepping both of my RS1’s for WORCS racing this weekend in Blythe, CA. I am looking forward to it!
Thanks so much to all of these amazing companies and people that support my program: Benchmark Performance, Candle Motorsports, Method Race Wheels, GBC Motorsports, Crow Enterprizes, Elka Suspension, Super ATV, Roll Design, Energy Coil Racing, Factory UTV, Baja Designs, Gates G-Force, PRP Seats, Rugged Radios, Maxima Racing Oils, Bikeman Performance, Tireblocks, JAMAR Performance, Race Team Sites, Crown Performance Products, Got Sand Performance, Oceanside Driveline, Vision Canopy, HOK9, Perrault Motorsports, Dirt Rider Designs, and my parents who make this possible for me! Thanks to Matt Martelli, Josh Martelli, and their entire crew for putting on this awesome event and Harlen Foley for the amazing pictures! You can check out the Sims188 Racing team on Instagram @csims188, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/csims188/, or on my website at www.sims188racing.com.