Justin Lambert Takes 1st Overall at 2016 BITD Parker 250

Justin Lambert Takes 1st Overall at 2016 BITD Parker 250
Race Report by team driver Justin Lambert:

2016 is already here, and without much of an offseason, we haven’t had much time to relax. The Parker 250 is the first race of the “Best In The Desert” season, and included some changes over last year. A major change that took place is that the UTV field is now split, with production turbo charged UTVs running separate in points than the production naturally aspirated UTVs. It was somewhat of a battle at the end of the 2015 season to get the class split, and I think it is only fair to the NA UTVs that they be scored separately from the faster turbo race cars. After all, it’s not impressive to brag about beating a bunch of slower cars when you are racing a turbo charged car. Now what would be impressive is to take a naturally aspirated UTV and beat all the turbo charged UTVs. Since we stayed with our NA car for 2016, that was our specific goal, to OVERALL the entire UTV field!

It had rained in Parker a couple days before the race, and the ground was still wet. A dust free course was anticipated which is definitely a relief for those starting at the rear pack. We had the number one starting position in the NA class since we had the most points of all the NA cars in 2015. The turbo class started in front of the NA class, so there were 15 or more turbo cars off the line in front of our Cognito Polaris RZR 4 XP1000 that we coined ‘HellRaiserXP1K’. We didn’t get a full 3 laps for 250 miles in this race like the earlier motorcycle/quad racers did, we only got 2 laps for a total of about 154 miles; which was a sprint compared to our preferred long races.

With the ground still wet, and no dust in the air to start with, the course was fast! There was a wash that is a good ten miles long with a lot of coarse sand and small rock that is brutal on the helmet face shield and front of the car when following closely on the rear of a competitor. At one point in the wash, we were on the rear bumper of a turbo car who was on the bumper of another turbo car. We ran that 3 car train for about 3 or 4 miles with the guy in front not moving over and the guy in the middle on cruise control. Mitchel and I were getting irritated and had enough. I was going in for a tap when the turbo car in front of us let us pass. Then we followed the front car for another 2 miles and assumed they just didn’t know anyone was there the last 5 miles so we gave them a tap and they moved right over. We got up on the pipe and checked out, the goal is to get around them, not follow them around. We did just that and had gotten past a half dozen turbo cars by midway pit 30 miles in, some of which were pulled over with issues.

Even though the moisture on the track was holding up pretty good there were still some rough sections that took me back to Baja, super rough. We came out onto the Parker River Run section which is a mile long pavement stretch 70 miles into the loop, hit 82 mph and the car was running great. 81 miles in was the end of the loop where main pit was located, and we pulled into main pit in 4th physically and left 3rd physically as Sims was still in pit with a repair. 5 miles into the second loop we went by Schueler in the Jagged X car who was pulled over with mechanical issues, and then past Fisher who was also pulled over. We came thru midway pit first on course, and several minutes ahead of the next car. The next car in the NA class was behind us ten minutes so we let up a little for the last 25 miles and brought home both the OVERALL win and the NA class ‘PRO Production UTV’ win!

Thank you to the Cognito team, this sport is not just a driver effort, as everyone is important from co-driver to race support and prep support.
Special thanks to our sponsors;
Polaris, Cognito, Mystik Lubricants, ITP Tires, Method Race Wheels, Sparks Performance Products, Fox Racing Shocks


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