Double Down in the Desert – Points Race Tightens
Editor: Eric Bewley Photo: Mareyna Fuller
GOLDENDALE, WA – The top four teams arrived at the Starvation Ridge race track ready to do battle. At stake is the coveted Zukiworld Challenge 2010 points series championship and victory for two rounds of racing action. It had been a year since the returning teams had seen this track and because it had changed so much during their absence there was really no advantage for veteran teams over the newer entries. Coming into this race, the Greg Fuller with Suzuki Underground was leading the points, with Joe Cooper and Dave Capell with Zukiworld Order was in second, and Kris and Steve Anderson with the Fuzzymutt sponsored Trouble Racing entry rounding out the top three. Because there was going to be two rounds of racing at this event, showing up and getting a good result was even more important.
Saturday’s race was fast and rough. Track preparation created a course that was even more challenging than last year but because all of the teams had brought their ‘a game’ the lap times were even faster. Minutes before the race started the Liberty Overland sponsored entry found what appeared to be a loose front wheel bearing. In a mad scramble, the front end was inspected and a repair was employed so that they could start the race. An on track failure revealed that the inner bearing race assembly had spun in the hub housing and had worked its way loose resulting in the separation of the hub, wheel, brakes, and tire from the spindle and vehicle. All other teams had no catastrophic failures and were able to race to the finish line. The finish was close but Suzuki Underground edged out Zukiworld order for first and Trouble racing took the final spot on the podium.
Sunday’s race was a different animal all together. Maybe it was the seemingly insignificant act of running the track in the opposite direction or the alignment of the Sun and Moon but all of the teams had some sort of difficulty leading to an unclaimed checkered flag. Realizing the significance of the points system, the Liberty Overland team employed several band-aid fixes to their Suzuki and performed, what is affectionately called in Nascar, a “Start and Park”, while the other teams headed with break-neck speed towards victory. At about 45 minutes into the race, the Suzuki Underground radio crackled to life with Greg informing his pit crew that something was wrong with the rear end and it was not driving well at all. He was able to limp it back to the pits and inspection of the rear showed that he had broken an axle. With no spares, the team was now out of the action and had secured a third place. Next to have an interesting moment was Trouble Racing. First, they had gotten a little to far off course and got themselves stuck. Normally this would not be a big problem but the safety crews that would normally attend to this were busy assisting a much more urgent accident and were not able to respond for quite awhile. Once they had got the Trouble Racing Suzuki back on track, Steve was off to the races and put in some fast sections until a broken shock mount caused a spring to eject and ended their day handing them the second place finish. Now all that the Zukiworld Order team needed to do was finish the race and they would secure a win for the weekend and would take a large lead in the points championship but on the white flag lap, Dave stopped in the pits as they normally would and not realizing the points implications but knowing they had won the day’s race, turned off their car and celebrated the day’s victory. While this move was smart in saving the car while gaining a victory, it caused a seven point spread to vanish. Now team Zukiworld Order and Suzuki Underground go into the last race of the season tied for first place. But don’t count out Trouble Racing either for if ZWO and Suzuki Underground have problems, they could snatch a series victory. August’s race will be an exciting one. Don’t miss it!
The Next Race Is Scheduled For:
Starvation Ridge Race Track
1140 Niva rd Centerville, WA. 98613