From the Sahara Desert in Morroco to the high desert of Southern California, the Teryx Girls, Sara Price and Erica Sacks, are on a mission to showcase their skills as off-road racers in their factory-sponsored Kawasaki Teryx. Sara and Erica are friends and accomplices in taking on some of off-road’s most extreme challenges. Price is a professional motocross racer who has transferred her skills to UTV racing. Sacks is an accomplished gymnast and experienced off-road racer & navigator. Together, the two babes make up the most well known female duo in UTV off-road racing, and maybe all of off-road. The girls do enlist the help of a few men, but for the most part tackle the job of build and prep themselves. In December, the Teryx Girls were nominated for Female Motorsport Team Horsepower and Heels Women of the Year Awards. They are the total package!
In March 2015, the Teryx Girls competed in the toughest all-female sporting event on the planet known worldwide as The Rallye Ache des Gazelles and made history as the first U.S. team to compete in the Side-by-side class. The rally was not your typical off-road racing event. It was a 9-day navigation challenge where teams of two women were limited to a manual compass and outdated hand drawn maps from the 1950’s to plot their own course on a mission for the shortest distance across the Sahara Desert.
During the Rallye Aiche des Gazelle, the girls had a rough start and slept the first two nights alone in the giant Sahara. That would not stop them from their goal of finishing this great adventure. The sun came up, and without hesitation the Teryx girls were back on track the rest of the 9-day race, finishing 7th In Class and 1st in First Participation!
After tackling the various terrain in the Sahara Desert in Morocco, Africa, the girls set new goals for 2016. They will kick the year off competing in the 2016 King of the Hammers, one of the toughest single day off-road races in the world! Hammers is a rough and rugged 120-mile race held in Johnson Valley, CA. Tens of thousands of racers, teams and fans from around the world flock to a single dry lake bed in Johnson Valley which during the event is referred to as Hammer Town U.S.A.. The week long event is like Woodstock for off-road. The girls will enthusiastically take on the Hammers event in the UTV class which will force them to navigate through sandy dry lake-beds, rough open desert terrain and technical jagged rock canyons filled with rock climbing obstacles the size of their Kawasaki UTV and bigger.
This vicious King Of The Hammers event will be another challenge to feature the strength and durability of the Kawasaki Teryx. Kawasaki as well as a host of other quality sponsors would help the girls prepare for the event by outfitting a brand new 2016 Kawasaki Teryx. The girls are honored to be one of the only factory sponsored UTV race teams in the world currently. The build of the Teryx was a big undertaking, but they learned a lot during the Rallye Aicha des Gazelles Teryx build process.
To prepare the new 2016 Kawasaki Teryx, the first stop was IMG Motorsports located in Lake Elsinore, CA. Here they begin the build for the ultimate rock crawling machine with James Hill and John Pacheco, owners of IMG Motorsports and racers themselves taking on the challenge of fabrication and set-up. From the cage, front bumper, and the customized mounts, attention to detail was important and IMG did not skip any corners.
“When the Teryx Girls came to us and said they were doing King Of The Hammers this year instead of the Rallye Aicha des Gazelle in Africa, we once again thought they were crazy. But we knew with Sara as driver and Erica as co-driver that they could do well. Their ability to work together as a team is probably the biggest reason I think they will be competitive, its one of, if not the most important thing in a race like Hammers.” stated James Hill, co-owner of IMG Motorsports. James also offered some insight towards the build, “For the cage we decided to go with a bolt-on build that offered plenty of room for the girls to access anything they might need. We wanted the Teryx to have a menacing look with extra bracing to protect them in case of a roll over.In a sea of RZRs, its cool to see a Teryx out there competing.”
Building a machine to race at Hammers is different then most off-road races. The machine needs to be nimble capable, durable and you have to be able to quickly get in & out of the machine. While you need to be conscious of suspension set up and you want the machine to be able to run at a good clip across the open desert sections, it needs to be able to also climb its way through some of the most challenging off-road terrain that any UTV would ever see. Building the cage was crucial and obviously the most important phase for this and any off-road vehicle as safety should always be the most important. But from there you have to outfit your machine to be able to compete at Hammers and survive the harsh Johnson Valley desert.
Number 1 on the list of accessories was the 4500LB Super ATV winch, a necessity in the field of rock crawling. Heading to Hammers without a winch is like heading to war without a weapon. You have to not only have a winch but you have to know how to use it as well. The second must have accessory was a Factory UTV UHMW skid plate system. You can take on a rock racing event without skid protection but there is a good chance you are going to regret it at obstacle number one and you will certainly kick yourself after the race should you survive because the bottom of your machine will look like it drove over a land-mine. Trust us when we say, don’t go rock crawling without a Factory UTV skid plate!
Wheels & Tires are important on any race vehicle. At King Of The Hammers you need wheels that can take a pounding from all angles and your tires have to be dang near bullet proof. A pinch flat in the canyon can cost you a race, so picking a durable set up is paramount. The girls went with 14” Raceline Mamba beadlock wheels and 30″ Arisun tires. The new Arisun tires resemble something off of a light truck and the combination promises to be reliable. The team began testing the new Coyote ENT Inner Wheel/Tire Liners and have quickly turned into believers. The liners allow them to run low tire pressure assuring full traction without the worry of tire failure.
Unlike last years Rallye Aicha des Gazelles, the Teryx Girls will get to compete with full nav & coms. This time they will have the luxury of a Lowrance GPS, Bluetooth intercom communication system and radios courtesy of PCI Race Radios. PCI is synonymous with off-road racing and so when it came time for the girls to pick a company to work with they went strait to PCI. Quickly, PCI set the team up with their all new bluetooth intercom system which allows the driver and passenger to communicate even when out of the vehicle. This system is extremely useful for Erica as she runs ahead to coach Sara through the challenging King Of The Hammers rock sections. The team needs to be able to also communicate back to their pits and thats where the PCI supplied iCom 50w radio comes in. PCI pre-programs the unit with the teams frequency as well as all major off-road racing frequencies.
King Of The Hammers is classified as an endurance race, but anyone who has followed the UTV races at Hammers the past few years knows that you need to be fast if you plan to win. The girls wanted to get the most power they could so they had their ECU reflashed by Benchmark Performance to eliminate the speed limiter and even increase the speed capabilities while in reverse. A K&N air filter was installed to provide protection to the engine while still adding horse power.
Running our Teryx stock is fun and its capable but you really need to add a suspension kit if you plan to be not only competitive but to survive while climbing through the massive terrain challenges. The team looked no further than to the trusty people of HCR Racing who would provide the Teryx with an awesome long travel suspension, giving it more stability, suspension, and height needed to tackle the course. HCR is a huge supporter of the King Of The Hammers event and their suspension kits have been winning races since the early years of UTV racing. This suspension combined with the perfectly tuned King Shocks is sure to give the girls the confidence to blast hard through the desert while comfortable traversing the rock canyons.
For 2016, Kawasaki changed the width of the rear differential on the Teryx making it wider which thus shortened the rear axles when compared to earlier models. The team turned to Summers Brothers Racing to help them develop a set of custom axles. With a few measurements, the guys at Summers Brothers had the axels made and heat treated and ready to install.
Of course the girls are also running Kawasaki Genuine Parts & Accessories as well!
The last thing on the list was comfort so the girls installed a pair of PRP GT/S.E. suspension seats, 5.3 harnesses, and even added a pair of hand restraints. PRP Seats not only makes some of the sports most popular seats, they also improve safety and comfort.
The Teryx Girls started training for King of the Hammers a few weeks ago, their first comments to us were on just how gnarly the canyons were and how well their Kawasaki Teryx did climbing through them. Rock crawling over rocks of this magnitude is a first for these racers. Driver Sara Price learned quickly how to climb the difficult terrain. “I usually try to avoid rocks, but in this case you aim for the rocks for better clearance,” said Sara.
Navigator Erica Sacks has been training for this event both physically and mentally and has been navigating while pre-running alongside Sara. Being a navigator at King Of The Hammers is not an easy task, it is much harder than driving and you have to be fit. Erica will be getting out of the Teryx numerous times to move rocks for easier climbing, and get the winch tied up for the more difficult obstacles. “The last thing I want to do is puke in my helmet or slow the team down because I wasn’t prepared,” said Erica.
Throughout training for King Of The Hammers, the girls were introduced to the difficult Hammer trails such as Chocolate Thunder, Wrecking Ball, Sludge Hammer, and Claw Hammer. The Teryx Girls feel they are prepared for this adventure and look forward to pushing their Kawasaki Teryx to another limit and another life-changing experience.
Stay tuned as we will be checking back in with the Teryx Girls after their attempt at the grueling King of the Hammers and the UTV World Championship.
Model: 2016 Kawasaki Teryx 800 EPS
Builder: IMG Motorsports
Cage: IMG Motorsports
Front Bumper: IMG Motorsports
Winch: Super ATV 4500 LB
Seats: PRP Seats GT/S.E.
Harnesses: PRP Seats 5.3
Lighting: KC Hilites
Shocks: King Shocks
Wheels: Raceline 14 inch Mamba
Tires: 30 inch Arisun
Suspension: HCR Racing Long Travel
Axels: Summers Brothers Racing
Performance: K&N Filter
GPS: PCI Race Radios / Lowrance
Skid Plate: Factory UTV
Extras: Slime/ Coyote ENTS
The Teryx Girls Are Sponsored By:
Kawasaki, Kawasaki Genuine Parts, IMG Motorsports, BitTorrent, Super ATV, PRP Seats, K&N Filters, HCR Racing, F&L Racing Fuel, Summers Brothers Racing, Raceline Wheels, Arisun Tires, Slime, Alpinestars, Bell Helmets, KC Hilites, PCI Race Radios, 100% Goggles, Factory UTV, Coyote ENTS, Attain Media, UTVUnderground.com
One of the Teryx Girls’ title sponsors is BitTorrent, a revolutionary technology that’s reshaping the Internet and helping creators tell their stories. Stay tuned as the Teryx Girls will be sharing more about how they will be involved with BitTorrent.
Keep up with the Teryx Girls at www.Facebook.com/TeryxGirls
Words by Sara Price & Joey DiGiovanni
Studio Photos by: Attain Media
UTVUnderground.com wants to thank PCI Race Radios for sponsoring this years coverage of the 2016 King of The Hammers. Without the support of great companies like PCI we would not be able to bring you this awesome event coverage.