Score International Imperial Valley 250 – Johnny Angal #1921 – Polaris RZR XP Turbo
Let’s see where do we start? … We just raced the new Polaris RZR Turbo car at the Vegas to Reno Race and finished in 5th place. We had some problems with our aftermarket axle shafts we had made as we had measured them wrong. We also had some problems with the car running hot during extreme racing conditions, in extreme heat, mainly caused by our choice of light bar and bumper placement. So preparing for this race we had some problems to address. Lots of testing and for the most part we didn’t change too much.
We have to load up and head out at 5am on Thursday for the race that is on Saturday as we want to pre-run the race course. We also have to have our chassis inspected by the Score International Race Officials.
Pre-running goes great and we load the race RZR back up and head back to town. It was around 110 degrees out and I’m starting to feel it. Yah, and all you retards that say ‘but hey you’re from Arizona you’re used to it?’ Not really… I have air conditioning in my cars, trucks, house, garages, office, yah you get the point now right? Running across the desert for hours with a full face helmet on sweating your ass off kind of sucks.
We head over to tech inspection and everything goes well. We don’t pass tech because our rear chase lights are not wired to come on with our battery switch. Eric or as we call him, Boner, pulls the dash apart and rewires it to work as they want it and we pass.
Friday rolls around and we want to do a little more work on the car so we head back out to the pits on the race course to work on it. Did I mention it’s really, really, freaking hot outside? We get everything done we want and head back to the hotel around 2PM to clean up for dinner. Tomorrow is race day and we need to be at the starting line around 5am. Thinking about it, did you know it was 88 degrees at 5am? Yah, I know silly. Its brutal enough in an off road race car without having to deal with summer heat that is going to be around 110 during the day without wearing a race fire suit and a full face helmet.
So race day is upon us and we are at the starting line. We put our helmets on and turn on our PCI Race AIR that blows air into our helmets during the race to keep us cool and keeps our helmets pressurized so they don’t fill up with dust. Yep, you guessed it, when Boner rewired the lights he did something wrong with the wiring and now we have no Race Air. As we pull up to the starting line with our heads already starting to sweat I beg and plead with Boner as he fiddles behind the dash looking for a loose wire. We are 2 to 3 minutes from starting the race as he unbuckles his harnesses, unhooks his air hose, unhooks his radio communication wires and flips upside down with his helmet still on. He slides his helmeted head under the dash, yes an amazing feat only bettered by a person that can dislocate their arms and legs and get in a suit case. So as we are now 1 minute from the start line he can’t find it. He flips back over, gets buckled back in just in time for the green flag to drop and we are off! The Turbo car is fast, its amazing fast. If you don’t have one don’t drive one because if you do, like me you never want to go back. The car is hauling ass as we slip and slide thru the dirt and off the jumps. It brings a huge smile to my face and I instantly am overcome by the Turbo Endorphins that rush thru my veins we pass three cars in the first 10 or so miles. The car is running cool and fast. As I passed the last car I was going a little too fast. The front tires hit a lip a little hard and when I got back in the gas something just was not right. The car was shaking and growling as I feared the worst. We pulled over and Boner jumped out to look over everything. We couldn’t see any problems so he jumped back in and I took off with that same feeling of ‘I’m screwed, something isn’t right.’ We came up to a road crossing and pulled off the course to start looking the car over. We discovered we had broken BOTH rear axles and that was a first. I had never broke both at the same time. We radioed for our pit crew but couldn’t reach them so we called the “Weather Man”. Weather Man aka Bob, is a guy who on race day will set up 2way radio antennas with the most powerful and bad ass radios money can buy. He takes those radios and his team of guys to the highest mountain peaks around the race course and will brave freezing cold, sleet, hail, snow, heat and sit on those mountain peaks for days relaying information to injured racers, race teams, ambulances, rescue helicopters etc. all to help us racers out during a race. I can’t imagine how many lives this guy has saved over the years. Anyway, he relayed information to our pits telling them we needed two rear axles and telling them somebody would stop by our pit pick them up and bring them out to us. We waited for what seemed like forever and a day but finally another racer in a RZR #1980 Webster, I think, pulled up and handed us our axles. Thank you so much for the help! We got the axles installed and fixed our PCI race air wiring during that downtime as well. We jumped back in the car and we were racing again! We knew we would not be winning this race but we were back in the game, charging hard and loving every minute of it.
Around race mile 55 in a sand wash we see some commotion in front of us with a guy waving us down. We stop and it’s our buddy Cory Sappington. He says ‘Will you call for help? This guy is hurt bad! Get us a helicopter out here!” So I jump out and Boner gets on the radio to call Weather Man yet again. He tells him we have a rider down who is injured bad and needs medical assistance at race mile 55. You see, what had happen was, a guy on a motorcycle had crashed hard and Cory was the first one on the scene. So he stopped to check on the guy, realizing the guy was in bad shape he flagged us down as well as a couple more UTV racers that stopped to help. If it wasn’t for Weather Man I am telling you we would have been there for hours trying to get help. But when we called him he was all over it contacting medical and race ops to get us help when we needed it. Thank you so much for all you do Weather Man!
After the medics arrived we jumped back in the car and got back in the race. Maybe going just a bit slower realizing that could have been us. We raced on into the beating broken dessert woops, sand, silt, cliffs, hills, etc. This course had it all, maybe a little too much but we charged on.
So around race mile 75 is where our remote Pit Crew are stationed in case we need to do any repairs to the car. The car is running great so we call and tell them we are at race mile 70 and we will not be stopping. Well low and fucking behold they say “Um… well Team RZR Jagged X stopped by our Pit and dropped off a battery with us. They asked if you could drop it off to them as they are broken down in the desert and 8 miles up the race course.” I know this is a long race report, but this is ludicrous “Oh yah, yah, the team I am racing against for season points championship wants me to take the time to stop and pick up a battery and take it to their race car so they can continue to race against me in this race?” What are you deranged, wacky, and nutty? So they want me to stop and help them beat me? Yah, think about that for a second… What would you do? Stop or race past them and give them the finger? Oh damn what should I do? I stop to get the battery and pass up the two cold bottles of water my brother is trying to hand me so I don’t lose any more time just so I can instead haul one of my fiercest competitors ace in the hole! Boner tells me “Damn this battery is heavy!” I tell him toss it out the window, he laughs and we charge on. As we come up on them (Jagged X) Branden’s co driver Blake starts to walk out to us and I floor the car and fly past them giving him the finger! I love it! He looks bewildered as all get up! Then I slam on the brakes and Boner hands them the battery. By now you are thinking this race report is over right? LOL. Not by a long shot, go grab another beer and I will wait for you to get back.
Ok so we are only about ten miles from finishing our first lap of two. The car is running great and the course is a little smoother so we are hauling ass! We get to the infield that has some huge jumps and whoop sections. I hit the first jump easy and I think to myself that was weak! So yes, you guessed it, I fly around the next corner and hit the next jump going even faster! I think ‘ah not bad, not bad.” I was trying to stop the little devil in my head saying ‘Don’t be a pussy Johnny, let’s get some air time! There are people watching!” I listen to him and I floor the car! The turbo winds up and we hit the lip of the jump and its straight up. We go sailing thru the air, my car is like an eagle flying thru the air. Then just as we start coming down all the parts and tools and junk that are littered in the car starts floating off the floor. Boner and I are experiencing near weightlessness as if we are in outer space. The front of the car starts nosing down to the ground I hear Boner start mumbling and cussing and I think to myself this is not go to turn out well. Maybe I should just call Weather Man right now on the radio and ask for help and rescue crews! About that same time the front bumper of our car starts penetrating the compacted earth. I hear Boner cussing and I’m praying ‘Dear Lord etc. etc.’ this is going to hurt! As the car goes deeper into the dirt and then slides across the finish line on the front bumper with our rear tires up in the air! Yep, Boner is still taking shit as some miraculous force comes into play and the back of our car starts dropping back to the ground like it’s supposed to be. I think ‘Holy shit! Hhhhoooollllllllllllyyyyy shit, wow!” Boner starts saying “Holy shit, I smashed into this and that and this happened!” So I floor the car and take back off knowing full well I had just done a really stupid thing. It was one of those ‘hey buddy hold my beer and watch this’ moments but I hadn’t even been drinking! Anyway our pit was just about a mile up the road and we had to stop and get fuel for the second lap. As I pulled in my guys all had puzzled looks on their faces. We come to a stop and they ask what the hell happened to the front of the car? Now you have to understand Boner and I can’t see the front of the car so I just kind of shrugged it off. Boner was still mumbling and cussing as the guys tell me “You aren’t going anywhere! The whole front of the car is smashed and the radiator is smashed and leaking!” So I get out of the car and take a look. Holy shit everything is smashed, bent, tweaked and radiator fluid is pouring on the ground. The cooling fan is broken and one of the guys says something dumb like “this race is over”. I tell him get the Sawzall out and cut all that shit off, put in a new radiator and fan to finish the race. So we do just that. We cut everything off, fix the cooling system the best we can and I tell Boner he car drive the second lap with Craig as his co-driver because really I am thinking there is no way in hell this car is going to make it around for another 96 mile lap. Well, Boner and Craig made it to the finish line and still in 4th place. Not a bad finish for the day we had!
Happy Racing hope you enjoyed the recap!
I would like to extend a thank you to all of the people that support us:
Polaris RZR, ITP Tires and Wheels, Lone Star Racing, Fox Shox, Rigid Industries, Method Race Wheels, PCI Race Radios, Wolf Designs.