Sometimes A Little Slower Pace is Refreshing…
Bilek Racing BITD Silver State 300 Story and Photos by Charlene Bower
The Bilek Racing Best in the Desert Silver State 300 race was an exciting adventure for all 199 entrants! I decided to try something different…Instead of having my head buried in my laptop for the weekend, I was going to use my truck as a chase vehicle and help pit. I signed up for Kevin Yoders team, and got my truck tattooed with a 4434 Yoder Racing sticker to identify my allianc. My truck didn't get all the cool tools and extra tires, instead it was to be used as communication central…putting me to work at what I am good at. With myself and two others that had never experienced a desert race in their life in my truck, we headed out into the desert for a simple day at the office.
Luckily Yoder never had any big issues and I was of no help anyways...but I did get some great pictures and video at some of the pit stops. The action shots are not as exciting as when I wondering off into the desert, but much safer than playing with the rattlesnakes as I hike around. I kind of enjoyed being with one vehicle pitting…I sat on the tailgate of the truck, had a soda and snacks, leaned up against some tires waiting for him to come in, 2 minutes of rushing around, then loaded everything into the truck and hustled to the next pit in the air conditioning to do the same again.
I finally found my calling around pit 4 when the race became apparently close in the Ultra4 class. I had the tools to continuously track the entire race from the truck, but more importantly and specifically I knew how to work adjusted time. I started the timing process and although I didn't know exactly where Loren Healy started, I watched him go from 3rd at pit 4, to neck-to-neck at pit 5 to overcoming the win by a huge lead at pit 6. Healy's comment at the finish line made me laugh after experiencing the wait at the King of the Hammers finish line for the final results, "I didn't want any question with adjusted time this race, I wanted to win and win now!" Loren Healy, in his Jimmy's 4x4 rig, was the first Ultra4 to take the checker flag and finished 31st in the overall.
Kevin Sacalas proved that winning the 2009 BITD Vegas to Reno, the long way, was not a one time success, but the first in a line of many. He came across the finish line in second place with one wheel drive, and missing his front drive line that he threw out at his pit crew way back at pit three without even stopping. The piece that was attached to the transfer case was logged between the oil pan and the skid plate, but by pit 4 it had broken loose so they could zip tie it up.
Kevin Yoder's PitBull Tires buggy had a great day! The only time that was spent in the pits was to take off the sway bars that were getting looser and looser at every stop. It was better to just take them off then continue to limp it along. Limping may be an understatement though when his GPS clocked his top speed at 105mph. He maintained his consistent pace and finished 3rd in the class and 47th overall.
Dave Schnieder wasn't even a pick to make it to the starting line, muchless take 4th at the finishline. When I drove through Carson City on Thursday night to Vegas, most of his big component parts were still strewn out over the floor of the shop. To see him at the finish line put a smile on mine and his face knowing where he had been only a day before. His consistency keeps him in the lead of the overall BITD Ultra4 class.
Ben Napier jumped off an airplane from his home in Australia, finished the sale on a new/used pickup truck and headed to the desert. With the help of Randy Slawson and the Hooligan Crew he managed to work his way through the big bolders, the whoops and all of the silty dust to finish 5th.
For almost 200 miles of the race, the Watson Brothers in the Offroad Design rig lead the Ultra4 class. And then it happened…one thing after another…soon they got passed on time, and then got passed physically. They ended up finishing 6th overall. At the trailer loading up they were talking about the car performance excelling with the King Shocks dialed in and that they once again needed more horsepower. Brandon piped up and said "If we do that we will need drivers that have more horsepower talent!"
The rest of the Ultra4 cars came in one by one as 12 of the 16 finished. What an amazing feat! There are stories of massive roll overs, aggressively taking on large non-moving rock gardens, core component part changes, electrical failures, limping for miles and of course like every Ultra4 race, there are hours of stories from each team of their triumph to finish.
The Ultra4 cars got bumped up to starting mid-pack which also gave us the ability to see the Trick Trucks and the class one cars zoom by us at least once. Their power and aggressiveness is spectacular!
Brothers Thomas and Brian Flores finished first in the 1500 class and took the overall win. Sam Berri finished 2nd in the class and 3rd overall, with the 1400 Trick Truck Jason Voss taking the class win and 2nd in the overall. Jerry Zaiden in the #75 Camburg truck took 8th in the 1400 class. In 7200 truck class, the Torchmate truck finished a very successful 5th and 32nd overall.
Shannon and Nick Campbell did great with their new class one car. At the end of the day, they finished 8th in their class and 17th overall. Nick told me after the race that they needed an onboard camera for that one…I asked "Why? Did you roll?"...he said "No, but we did just about everything else and was laughing about it most of the time!" The Campbell's have once again built an amazing piece of technology on wheels, I look forward to seeing it refined into a podium car!
A weekend in the desert is never a bad weekend, and this was yet another one to add to the books. Congratulations to all that finished! And Cheers to all that fought to the bitter end, and loaded it onto the trailer.
I am proud to say that the two that rode in my truck and experienced desert racing for the first time are now hooked! No, I didn't kill them...or leave them in the middle of the desert ;-) One has the bug so bad he went back and is already negotiating to get a car and get to racing! Yes, I'm serious, I have seen the quote! I love it!
More Information and Complete Finishing List: http://www.bitd.com/content/blogcategory/18/29/
Side Note: What have you done to help spread the word and get people racing, wheeling and protecting our land?
I had dinner with the Hooligan Crew a few weeks back, and they told a story about one of their friends that is a core extreme sport enthusiast that hadn't ever heard of the King of the Hammers. He ended up getting sweet talked by them to come out and help, and is now one of the cheer leaders of the sport. Can you sweet talk someone new into helping you?
While we were at dinner, the boys asked the poor poor waitress if she had ever heard of the King of the Hammers. Why not ask?
I had two key individuals in my truck for this race specifically to show them how a desert race works so they can successfully create an awesome event. Not only do I feel confident that the desert race "business" was learned, but I also think we have a new racer on our hands! When have you taken the time to explain what you do?
Grab your neighbor, friend or co-worker and take them out wheeling. Spread the dirt! This is a great sport and we need more responsible people to understand what we love so we can grow our numbers! As we continue to grow our responsible numbers, together we can continue to fight the land closures!