Jesi Stracham (22) of Charlotte, NC was paralyzed in a motorcycle/car accident Jan. 18 2015. She was on the back of a street bike when a car pulled out in front of them and the motorcycle driver could not stop in time. Through a very fortunate series of events, Jesi was selected to be the second person in the world to receive an experimental spinal implant called the Neuro-Spinal Scaffold. This could actually make her walk again someday.
Before her accident, Jesi was a pro women’s ATV racer in GNCC. She’s been racing GNCC since she was 7 years old. She was recently featured on the Today show with her boyfriend Jordan who was also recently paralyzed. Check out the feature HERE to learn about this couples incredible journey thus far.
Only two months after Jesi’s accident, Andy Prins, owner of Racer Tech was contacted to help build her a custom Polaris Ace to get her back out on the track again while she fights through her long recovery process. Racer Tech is known to go “all in” on any project they tackle and a cause like this deserves the best attention.
The Racer Tech crew quickly got started tearing in to a brand new Polaris Ace with only two months to build something completely new and completely custom and have it ready to race before the next GNCC round at Masontown, WV known as the Mountaineer Run. While some of the crew started with a custom roll cage with opening doors for Jesi to get in and out of easily, safely, and quickly if needed, the rest of the crew finalized the new Racer Tech Polaris Ace racing product line and installed the first set of everything on Jesi’s car. At the same time, the Racer Tech engineers obsessed over hand control designs for several weeks before settling on the unit seen here. This isn’t the first hand control ever done on a UTV or maybe even an Ace but there are several features that set it apart from the rest. The result is an incredibly natural feeling grip with independent front and rear brake control, 1/2 turn steering from lock to lock and a custom ratio twist throttle with room for grip mounted ignition and accessory controls.
Racer Tech also addressed a couple weaker points found while racing the Ace by building new, steel uprights to replace the cast aluminum ones and only adding 8 lbs/ over OEM. They also replaced the front a-arms with custom geometry, high clearance units and improved the steering system with new HD tie rods and a steering rack mounting brace.
Keeping tight in a seat is more difficult as a paraplegic. So Beard seats stepped up to build Jesi a custom seat with extra padding in the base while Racer Tech designed a custom seat lowering base which also offers adjustable recline to help Jesi stay secure. A Beard 5-point harness completes the package along with a custom leg strap to hold her feet in to the custom foot-holds in the floor
Connecting this little racer to the ground is a set of custom 12″ OMF wheels with adjustable offsets to allow the Racer Tech team and Jesi to make adjustments until they’ve found the ultimate track width. The OMF wheels are wrapped with GBC Motorsports Afterburn 25″ tires and filled with Tire Blocks provided and installed by Loud Performance Products.
The Racer Tech team and Jesi have many plans for continuous improvement of this platform after completing the first two races Jesi was able to attend before the GNCC summer break. The team is just getting started with this new platform and Jesi has the heart of a lion and racing in her blood. Expect to see more of Jesi Stracham and her Racer Tech family later this summer at the IATVHSS Heartland Challenge August 21 and then the remaining GNCC rounds in October.
Jesi Stracham’s Racer Tech Polaris Ace 570
Owner: Jesi Stracham
Chassis: 2015 Polaris Ace 570 EPS
Builder: Racer Tech
Race Series and Class: GNCC Polaris Ace Single Seat Pro
Hand Controls: Custom Racer Tech design uses spade style grips with Motion Pro Rev2 twist throttle and custom made cable, Beringer brake cylinders with remote reservoirs and front and rear control. Double 2:1 steering quickener system with relocated XP 1000 EPS unit. Ignition converted to motorcycle style grip-mounted Motion Pro start/stop switch
Cage: Racer Tech Chromoly RC1 race cage with custom opening, locking and removable doors. Grab handles added for Jesi and additional bracing was built in to chassis to make stronger since fixed doors weren’t optional. Racer Tech custom aluminum roof with integrated wing and tail light. Cage includes mounts to relocate OEM radiator, custom Twisted Stitch window nets built in
Suspension: Racer Tech Race Replacement Uprights with double shear tie rod mounts, Racer Tech Chromoly high clearance A-arms, Racer Tech HD Tie Rods and Custom Racer Tech Dual Rate Spring Kit. Chassis is modified with Racer Tech Weld-In Gusset Kit at all suspension points
Shocks: Oem shocks with custom Racer Tech Dual Rate Springs
Engine: Factory Pro-Star 570 with Custom Racer Tech Intake, K&N Filter, Dynojet Power Commander V w/ Autotune
Exhaust: Trinity Racing Stage 5
Wheels: OMF Performance Products 12″ adjustable offset beadlocks
Tires: GBC Motorsports Afterburn w/ Tire Blocks by Loud Performance Products
Paint/Wrap: Powdercoat by Magnum Powdercoating in Grand Rapids, MI. Custom wrap by SSI Decals
Seat: Custom Beard Seat with Racer Tech adjustable seat mount kit
Safety: Beard Harness, FireBottle 5lb fire suppression system and Racer Tech quick disconnect manual fire ext. mount, Custom Racer Tech leg retention system with footholds in floor board
Dash/Hood: Custom dash / hood for increased front corner visibilty
Bumpers: Racer Tech MX version front and rear bumpers with rigid mounts and Racer Tech Nerf Bars
Extras: Racer Tech Bed Delete Kit, Racer Tech number plates, Pure Polaris Skid Plate, Racer Tech head light and grill filler panels, Kartek break-away mirrors
Photos Courtesy of Racer Tech