The second round of the 2011 VORRA series was held on April 17, 2011 at Prairie City SVRA near Folsom, CA. After sweeping the first round in our Monster Energy Kawasaki Teryx, we were all set to hit the second round with all we had.
Race weekend showed up and we had ten UTVs competing. VORRA had made some extensive changes to the short course track which made it almost 50% longer and they also threw in a few jumps that were a challenge.
Practice and qualifying went well on Saturday. We took it pretty easy and did our best to find the right lines through the course so we could hit it hard on race day.
We ended up on the first row for the start of the first moto. This is a great spot for us since the power of our Muzzys 999cc v-twin can typically get us the holeshot. When the green flag dropped to start the race, I hit the throttle hard and the engine stumbled for just a moment and then came to life. But not before three other UTVs bolted in front of me. This was not part of my game plan.
I was able to get past one RZR pretty easy with just two more to go. It would not be easy since they were both experienced racers with fast cars. My game plan took a back seat as the adrenaline kicked in as I chased down my prey. All was going well when I hit the first jump on a long straightaway. This was my chance to gain to ground. I hit it hard through a rough section and setup for a jump that I was able to fly well over at speed during practice. I hit the gas a bit harder trying to take advantage of the straight track. The first part of the jump seemed just fine. Then I hit the ground right were there was a second bump and then things went wrong. The car was at full compression and sprung up harder in the rear. Now nose down and starting to get slightly out of shape I hit again on the right front tire first. I think it must have caught an edge and all of a sudden I had not more control of the vehicle.
I am a pretty cautious driver and don’t really like to jump that much. Only rolled a few times in my life, but I knew right away this wasn’t good. Now sideways but flying forward, time seemed to drag where it was accelerated just a moment before. OK, here we go. Hold on and just ride it out. I tumbled over and over and over. The announcer and people watching the race told me I rolled 4 or 5 times, and it felt like it. I remember thinking “when is this going to stop?” I finally came to rest off the track on the driver’s side. Car was still running, so I shut it off. I knew I was off the track so I figured I might as well get my harnesses off and get out of the car in case something decides that it wants to burst into flames.
Surprisingly, I felt OK. One of the VORRA track officials was right there assessing me pretty quick. He was immediately concerned that I was alright. Especially after what he just saw.
I surveyed the damage to my Teryx and at first glance, it did not look that bad. The roof was dented up as expected, and there was a little sway in the bars above my head, but the car look good for how violent the roll felt. Up front, the upper ball-joint stud had snapped, probably on impact.
We got the car flipped back over and waited for a tow back to the pits. They did not have any sort of a tow truck, so I was going to get dragged back. Not good. I decided to have the drag me backwards to try and minimize the stress on the damaged front arm. It was good thinking, but by the time I got back to the pits, the lower ball joint had also broke and the axles had busted out of the CV. Ugh.
After surveying the damage to the car and my body, I am truly thankful. The cage design from Roggy Enterprises did what it was supposed to do and held up well. I was probably doing 50+ MPH when I hit the jump and things could have gone a lot worse.
And I am very thankful that I had good safety equipment on the car and protecting me. My Simpson Devil Ray helmet is made of carbon fiber. It is not only strong, but also super light. I did not hit any bars in the cage, but I do know that a heavier helmet would have stressed my neck and back even more than I experienced. My Simpson 5-point harnesses held me firmly snugged into my Beard suspension seat and the Simpson window net kept my arms in the vehicle.
Looking back at the videos of my crash, I am lucky I rolled the way I did. Hitting one end of the car hard or something solid is much more destructive on the vehicle and your body.
Do yourself a favor and take a look at your UTV. Think about my crash and imagine yourself doing the same or worse.
Crowley Off-Road Racing Sponsors: Monster Energy Kawasaki Team Green, Muzzys Performance Products, Pit Bull Tires, Simpson, Beard Seats, Funco, Fox Racing Shox, OMF, Tire Balls, Rigid Industries, Billet King, Factory UTV, UMP, MSD, Axia Alloys, Roggy Enterprises, Rugged Race Products, Wicked Bilt, Dalton Industries and Royal Purple
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