ZUKIWORLD Challenge – Eddieville 125
New Teams And Track Create Excitement In The Desert
Editor: Eric Bewley Photo: Mareyna Fuller, K. Anderson
Goldendale, WA – The season opener of the Zukiworld Challenge opened at the famous Eddieville motor cross track just south of Goldendale, Washington. What a difference a year makes as the field was much more competitive and all of the teams, including three new ones, not only completed the race but demonstrated a racing pace that was significantly faster than previously seen. A blustery and beautiful day for racing had the teams ready to go early in the morning for an exciting race on a developed, closed, and private racing course that is normally used for motorcycle racing but was tweaked, widened and stretched to accommodate four wheeled guests. The Zukiworld Challenge had three new teams this year join the series and recently renamed team of Liberty Overland Motor sport. Suzuki Underground, Trouble Racing, and the ZWO Team brought three completely different and extremely capable versions of desert racers to the fray.
Before the racing even started the Andersons with Trouble Racing sponsored by Fuzzymutt.net gave their team quite a challenge by wrecking their entry a week before the race in a testing session. Remarkably, they were able to get their racer back together and ready in what could be considered record time and with smiles on their faces showed up and joined the starting line in 4th position after the driver’s meeting and starting order draw.
Starting in 3rd position on the grid was the Zukiworld Order, or ZWO Team consisting of Joe Cooper and Dave Capell. This car is sponsored by Zukiworld and the whole concept of the team is to demonstrate that a couple of buddies can get together and build a car by bolting on a suspension kit, stripping out the unnecessary bits, and installing / building the safety gear.
In second on the grid was the Liberty Overland Motor sport team sponsored by Sky’s Off-Road Design, 99 West Customs, and DonkeyWorx. Renamed from last year this is our entry for we have to have fun too, right? We spent our off season, building a new front suspension and repairing things that went bad during the last race. Drawing the number one starting position was Suzuki Underground. Suzuki Underground, Kustom Kreations, No Limitz Auto and DW Galleries sponsor the team manned by Greg Fuller and Keith Black.
The teams were separated by a 30 second start spacing and were released to express their passion on the track. All of the teams had different strategy and approaches to the race but in the end the finishing order was: First Place – Suzuki Underground, Second Place – ZWO, Third Place – Trouble Racing, Fourth Place – Liberty Overland Motor Sport with first place receiving a cash payout.
ZW: Did you have a strategy before the start of the race? If so, did you follow it and did it pan out?
Trouble Racing: Our strategy was to to take the first few laps easy and outlast the competition, which was a fair idea based on the last race. This time everybody made it through without any breakage. As the only racer in 4 wheel drive we had a secondary plan of praying for rain, that didn’t pan out very well.
Liberty Overland: We wanted to just pace the competition and wait for teams to fall out. This seamed logical due to everyone’s problems last race but all the teams brought an “A” game and to win, I think you needed to push right from the beginning.
Suzuki Underground: My only strategy was to try and go as fast as I could and keep the car together. It panned out as far as I won!! and nothing major broke on the car.
ZW: Would you do anything different?
Trouble Racing: Next time I want to do a bit more pre-running so I can start the race wide open. My first lap was at 32 minutes, by the end I was running at 26 minutes. With two laps left I was 2:40 behind 3rd, with one lap left I was 1:50 and pulled it back to preserve my vehicle. Had I been pushing from the beginning I might have made 2nd. Or at least I would have made the other rig push harder to keep me out of it.
Suzuki Underground: I would make some changes to the car for sure, but that is what it’s all about right?
ZW: What was the biggest surprise for your team?
Suzuki Underground: How much suspension travel you really need and how little the motor makes up for the lack of travel
Trouble Racing: How much faster we could run in low range. The extra control from being able to use the closer ratios of 3rd and 4th instead of 1st and 2nd was impressive. I couldn’t push it quite as fast on the circle track, a small price to pay. The next biggest surprise is a tie between the fact that the Autozone ‘high performance’ rear shocks held up through the race and how much air you could accidentally get on some of those jumps on the back side.
ZW: What was the most interesting or fun moment of the race to you?
Liberty Overland: There was this point when Greg from the Suzuki Underground team passed me and hit a table top jump real hard right in front of me. His car pancaked real hard similar to the way that “hold my beer” Youtube Sidekick jump video did that we’ve all seen. That combined with the windmills, just reminded me of a video game. It was very surreal as I swear I was just playing that game a week before…
Trouble Racing: Racing around the windmills. When you come around a corner and the shadows of those giant pieces of machinery are streaking across the track, it’s like your in a game. It just really added to the ambiance.
Trouble Racing: Next was just being there, suiting up and getting in the rig and realizing that I was going off-road racing. The fact that everyone was working on their rigs as they were pulled off the trailer and it wasn’t just me was also rather amusing.
Suzuki Underground: I had a couple really, the first one was the very start of the race when I left the starting line the car bucked a lot harder over the whoops than I had expected. But the most fun had to be when I saw the big cloud of steam come from the leading car, and the jumps.
Season points were awarded to the finishers as follows and there will be three more rounds of racing so it’s anyone’s guess as to how the season will end up. Suzuki Underground – 18pts. ZWO – 17pts. Trouble Racing – 16pts. Liberty Overland – 15pts. Good times for all the teams and a great weekend of racing. Please join us for the next race which is on June 26th and 27th as we are going to have a double header and award two sets of points toward the Zukiworld Challenge points championship at the Starvation Ridge race track. If you’re thinking about building a race truck, please get a hold of us or post on our dedicated forum. We’d love to get you up to speed and out there enjoying this sport.