The Official UnderDog
We arrived at Harlan Thursday afternoon and went up to the main pits and set up our pit area and then went thru tech. We worked on rigs for a while since our Team Black Bear Racing had 2 rigs racing. One in Class A #156 and one in Class C KOH Qualifier #449.
Friday we arrived at 10am in the pits and went over the rigs again then went out to pre run. We knew we were the underdogs so had our own strategy, go easy learn all the trails walk the hard lines and make sure we knew what we were getting into.
So we hit the trails with no issues got to "Your Turn" dropped into the trail with no issues but that was a serious drop and a very rocking long trail, went back up the next trail came to "under estimated" dropped in hit a HUGE tree on the right wheel slammed hard right started to slide and then came to a stop, but I could not turn left at all. So I put jeep into 2wd drive to take pressure of steering and we limped it down trail and to gravel road.. still could not turn left without using all my might.. ( CRAP ) well we made it back to pit area and found we broke front driveshaft messed up suspension bushings and still no steering.. I thought crap I may be out, but we fixed driveshaft and worked on steering and after a long time we figured we must have blew an o-ring in the steering box. Well our Class A rig brought a spare box so we pulled mine out and I tore apart his spare box, then drilled and tapped it in pits so I could hook up my hyrdo assist lines, put it all back together and we were back in the race
Race DAY: .
We talked some more strategy and decided to lower the tire pressure do a nut and bolt check and do our best, and to make it farther than we did pre running
We also asked to start last, so we would not be in the way and get beeped to move over right from the start and we knew we would have at least 30 mins before the very fast guys would catch us.
Well race time came we suited up, got in line and ended up starting side by side with Blue Torch Fab guys.(wow they were fast off the line)
See video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c04bucelYIw
We went down White Tail trail with no issues, down trail 10 (where we saw a rig on its side off the trail and he gave us thumbs up so we kept going) to trail 11 and got to "Your turn" (where we saw another rig broke on side) we dropped in and went down with no issues then back up the access road to "Under Estimated" as we get ready to drop in my co driver yells STOP!! I ask why and he says he sees 2 helmets standing in trail, so we jump out and we see the Essentially Off Road buggy on its side facing up hill the wrong direction. So we run down and they are fine after they told us the flipped 2 1/2 times. We end up helping them roll it over another 1 1/2 time to get it facing down hill, then I dropped in so I could use my winch to a snatch block off tree to right them up so we can get by. Took us about 30 to 45 mins to get this done(maybe not the best idea starting last ).
After we got them righted they said they were broke so they waved us by which lets us get to bottom for 1st Checkpoint (yes we made it farther than the pre run). We followed the trails thru 12, 11, 13, back to 12 which was checkpoint 2. Then down 12 to "Lower Rock garden" and as we turned in we saw a rig broke on left another flipped on the right side and I thought to myself how the hell did he flip in here.. but we stayed on our plan and steadily made it thru the rock to "Little Jagger" where we slid along the rock and started to go rear over front but I hit the gas and we drove out of it and kept going. Then headed to the "waterfall/rail bed" when we got there we started to go up and saw the Blue Torch Fab buggy on its side so we hooked our winch to them and pulled them away from the tree but could not get them righted so we turned into water fall hooked up our winch and got up it. Then we headed up the rest of rail bed and onto "coyote campground" which is where we found a broke front axle shaft.( DAMN) also at this point the suspension bushing were toast, falling apart and we said screw it lets keep going well we made it to the middle of "intimidator trail" and with no front axle just could not make it.. so we backed down and back out to the gravel access road and headed back to the pits..
when we got back to pits we did not think suspension would hold up, it was banging, pooping, front axles gone and my spares were all stock stuff so after we got back I jumped under the rig to look how bad suspension was and decided if we fixed axle I did not think suspension would have lasted even half a lap so we called it quicks.. shoot only took us almost 4 hrs to go 3/4 of the race..
Hell my co driver counted 7 rigs we passed (either broke or rolled)so we are very happy with what we did with a 100% trail rig, pretty much full bodied Jeep Cherokee.
Of course if I can do a few upgrades I will be back next year to run it again..
So Thanks to ECORS for putting on a great event, and thanks to all the volunteers, sponsors, etc.. that helped it happen.
A HUGE thanks to my wife for letting me test my Jeep to its limits and my co-driver for sweating his butt off pulling cable, navigating, etc, The guys that helped in the pits, John, Keith, Randal, Derek, Brett..
It was a Blast, and the best Birthday I ever had.
Hope to see all the guys we met soon and cannot wait to do it again next year.