ZUKIWORLD Challenge Tackles The Master Pull USA 500
Six ZUKIWORLD Challenge Teams Race The Inaugural Master Pull USA 500
Editor: Eric Bewley Photo: G. Mikkelson., K. Anderson., E. Bewley
Reno, NV – The ZUKIWORLD Challenge 2011 season kicked off at the inaugural Master Pull USA 500 during an unseasonably cool July weekend. Six teams, ranging from experienced to brand new, and reigning from Washington, Idaho, Oregon, and California converged on this new Vorra sanctioned event and began their assault on this new to us and new to Vorra 500+ mile course located just to the east of Reno, Nevada.
2011 Season Team Standings
The day went too fast for some and too slow for others but in general all the teams had a very good time. David Capell’s team won the race in convincing fashion while Jason Hutchison’s team Zukspeed took second. The rest of the field did not take the checkered flag but did battle throughout the day to make distance and finish as well as they could.
My team, the Liberty Overland Motorsports entry, was the first to fall ill and I had to drop out of the race due to a bizarre and repeat bearing failure. I limped my purple #1837 race truck, referred to by some as “statutory grape”, into the second pit which was at mile 50 or so and had the dubious honor of being the first of the entire event to turn in my transponder and call it quits. Even though my day was cut quite short, I had an excellent time zipping through the desert and am excited to hit the next long course race.
Throughout the day, little tidbits of information would trickle down through the radios and cell phones as to the status of the teams. Trouble Racing, which surprised us all by adding a 2.0 liter Aerio engine to their race truck had transmission and clutch problems early on and began a long day of working through those problems until they finally turned their 5-speed transmission into a box of neutrals and had to retire.
Meanwhile the battle up front raged on between Greg Fuller’s Suzuki Underground sponsored entry and David Capell’s Zukiworld Order ride. Throughout the race they swapped the lead back and forth while little problems like flats, fuel cell pickups, and clutch cables would set each back a bit before they would regain and overtake the other. This was the case through most of the day until Greg’s Sidekick #1337 had a rear suspension failure that he just couldn’t fix in the middle of the desert.
Slower and possibly more steady was Jason Hutchison’s team Zukspeed entry. Recovering from an embarrassing start, he and his team mate trudged on throughout the day and pushed their #5150 entry all the way to the finish. He and his team were the only ‘long course rookies’ to earn their finisher’s pin from the Vorra officials.
The newest team to join the ZUKIWORLD Challenge was #276 the 4B Motorsports entry. Their fresh build can be seen in an build article here. As with many of us, their build went right up to the last minute and they did not have adequate testing time before the race which led to a premature suspension failure which knocked them out of the race at mile 96. Even with the disappointment of not finishing team principle Bud Bewley stated that he had an excellent time and is looking forward to October’s race.
Yes, affordable racing is alive and well. Every team reported back a fantastic and fun time and the fact that we didn’t have huge support crews and the latest cool hardware didn’t dampen that one bit. While bugs and jeeps get more and more expensive and harder to enter and be competitive in racing classes, the ZUKIWORLD Challenge class delivers on a promise to stay true to a theme of affordability for all.
Come join us for the season finally in Reno as we try our hand and Vorra’s short course race October 1st and 2nd. As a spectator, the short course will be much more accessible and you will get a chance to see all the ZUKIWORLD Challenge race teams battle it out fender to fender.