We have been having a stellar season in BITD, winning all 6 of the previous races in class (naturally aspirated class) and taking overall honors in 3 of those races beating all of the turbo UTV’s also. The season is 7 races, and as you can guess we had a season sweep on our minds. Already having enough points to win the class championship, we still wanted to make a statement and win this last race and sweep the season, not sure if that has ever been accomplished or not. No pressure….
We started this race in 2nd position behind the turbo car of Sappington, and the beginning of this course was so rocky and windy that we just kept our composure and ran a slow pace thru these obstacles to prevent getting a flat tire. Sappington was gone, and I was a little worried that the next UTV that started behind us, Jake Carver, was going to catch us since we were taking it so easy. They were in a different class and we were focusing on winning our class, so it didn’t really matter, we just needed to stay in front of the next naturally aspirated UTV on corrected time, let alone finish the course, to get another win and continue our winning streak.
There were several trucks and cars pulled over changing tires only 5 miles into this race. About 9 miles into the race, Sappington was pulled over changing a tire and that put us first UTV on the course. Finally, after about 20 miles of unforgiving rocks, the speeds increased as the course opened up, we could see Carver about a ¼ mile behind us and with that turbo power, figured it would be a short time before he would be on our tail. The course was super dusty, we were being held up by dust from race cars and trucks in front of us, so we figured everyone behind us was having the same visibility issues. There was not much wind blowing the dust away, it just seemed to hover over the ground like a fog, pretty scary as you are trying to move forward but hope no one is stuck in the silty road ahead that we have literally 15 feet of visibility in. Carver never caught us, and as the air cleared up from people having problems or stopping to pit, we just kept the wheels turning in our Polaris RZR and picked up positions all morning long. My co-driver Mitchell and I would get updates from Jim and Dale in the chase truck that the next NA UTV was 4 minutes behind us and we just kept charging. The next update 40 miles later we had a 5-minute lead, then at about 190 miles into the 255-mile race, we had a 9-minute lead, at this point we realized we were looking pretty good for another overall win, but first things first let’s get to the finish line.
The last 25 miles of the race was more treacherous than the first 25 miles, I felt like we were going so slow but we couldn’t risk getting to the finish, we played it smart and patient. Once we came to the finish line, it was a waiting game to see if we had pulled off the class win, and even the overall win, on corrected time. The next UTV rolled in and on corrected time we had won by 11 minutes overall and the celebration began! This would make our 4th overall win of the 7 race season, and we completed a winning sweep in class for the 2016 BITD season! Jason DiFuccia from Polaris was there to greet us on the podium, and present us with a special gift from Polaris, a custom 4 and a half foot long stainless steel SWORD with the COGNITO logo engraved on it along with ‘2016 BITD SWEEP’ and the names of the BITD races this season of which we won all of them in class. Special thanks to Polaris!! It takes great teamwork to accomplish a winning season like this, and it couldn’t be done without everyone on the team, the great prep work back at the shop, and sponsors that have our back. I always say, to be the best you have to run the best.
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