Wakeland Racing "Pure Series #4 Race Report"

Friday May 18th 7:00am
Wakeland Racing loaded up and set out to California City for the 4th race of the Ave Racing PURE Series. Lou Peralta and his AVE Racing crew put together a course that had everything from technical rocky sections, fast straight aways, and even an impressive hill climb. Joshua Wakeland owner/driver of the Wakeland Racing Yamaha YXZ1000 and his co-driver Merritt Townsend of Mtech Shock Services arrived in California City around 11:00am ready to set out for their first lap of pre-running. They took it easy checking out the course, taking notes, and giving the car an easy shake down. Everything went well, and it took a little over an hour to complete one lap. After a quick break to grab a water and look over the car they both set out for lap two of their pre-run. Using the notes from the first lap they stepped it up to about 75% race speed. All was well, at this point they were both ready to take on Saturdays 200-mile race.

Saturday May 19th 11:40am
Josh and Merritt suited up and got in the car to head to the starting line to stage for the 12:00 noon start. After the random drawing on Friday night they drew an unfortunate 11th place starting position out of 13 cars in class. This didn’t get them down they just knew they had their work cut out for them. With each car leaving the line in 30 second intervals they were getting closer to taking the green flag. The time was now the green flag dropped and off they went with one thing in mind, Get to the front. Knowing the race wasn’t going to be won on the first lap Josh and Merritt drove a conservative but steady first lap. Navigating through the dust and few cars that had issues early on they were already starting to work their way up. Coming across start finish after lap 1 they had worked their way up to a solid 3rd place. At this point Josh was able to step up their pace now that they had fresh air and really start to make a move toward the #1 spot. Lap 2 was not only their fastest lap, but it was the overall fastest lap of the race. After lap 3 they came in for a fuel stop where our pit crew did an amazing job getting them in and out with 12 gallons of fuel, water for josh and Merritt, and a quick visual on the car in little to no time. Our pit captain radioed to the car that they had moved into the #1 spot as well as put a nice 3-1/2-minute gap on second place. Josh and Merritt even kept up their steady pace and lap times working their way through the dust of the lap traffic picking them off one by one. The more people they could get between them and second place the better it was for them. Lap 6 the home stretch, clean air and not a car in sight. Mile after mile they were getting closer to the checkered flag. 12 miles from the finish Josh and Merritt approached a slower race vehicle and saw a chance to make the pass and bam flat tire. They could not believe this happened not this close to the finish. Josh pulled over to the side of the course as Merritt un buckled, grabbed the impact and jumped out of the car. Josh knew they had a lead on the second-place car, but he still jumped out to help get the tire changed even quicker. Merritt grabbed the spare while Josh jacked up the car. The car kept slipping off the jack, so Merritt held the car steady on the jack while Josh grabbed the impact and winged the lug nuts off the flat tire. As the new tire was going on the car and the jack was lowering down they looked up and noticed the second-place car was passing by. Things went in to double time! Merritt yelled for Josh to get back in the car and strap in as he threw the flat tire back in the tray. No time to put the jack back on the car or the impact back in the bag so Merritt just tossed them on the floor of his side and jumped in the car. The now first place car was only a little way ahead and there was still a chance for them to catch up. For the next few turns while Josh was doing his best to make up the gap to first, Merritt was re situating himself back in the car trying to plug in his parker pumper and intercom. The next few turns Josh and Merritt had no radio communication, so they resorted back to hand signals. 2 miles later everything was back to normal, radios communication was good, Josh was driving the hell out of the car and they were on the hunt. They were closing in on the finish line only 6 miles from the end and tragedy struck once more. Josh radioed to Merritt that he lost all steering, stripped the teeth in the steering box. Josh and Merritt were not going to give up that easy. Josh was fighting to keep the car going straight with every three rotations of the wheel it would barely grab a tooth. They both could not believe how this race was ending. Josh and Merritt came up to the next long straight and new that they had to keep as big of a gap as they could on 3rd place so Josh got the car to track straight and put his foot to the floor. Merritt looked down at the GPS and they were clipping along at a decent 76.4mph with little to no steering. Driving the car with only gas and brake as well as keeping it in the two track Josh did his best to get the car to the end. Merritt radioed in to main pit to update them on the current steering issue, no one could believe it! At this time Josh and Merritt made it back to pit row and only had 2 turns left to cross the finish line. Still trying to keep the car on the track Josh was able to avoid clipping the tire barriers, pit signs and even the inflatable start/finish arch. They did it! Josh and Merritt managed to cross the finish line and take the checkered flag. Even with their last 12 miles of issues, frustrations, and complications they were able to still pull off a 1st in the Pro 1000 class, 2nd overall, and set the time for fastest lap by 14 seconds. Wakeland Racing could not have done this without the support of our friends, family, and sponsors. Our fox shocks kept the car smooth and consistent through the constant abuse of the course. Raceline wheels held strong with all the rocks and even driving on the flat tire for a little ways. Rugged radios provided perfect communication between Merritt and Josh the whole race with out issues. PRP seats and harness’s keeping them safe in the car. As well as all our other sponsors that help us out,

Vision HVAC
Ryno Power
SSS Offroad
Temecula Motorsports
Mtech Services
Eibach Springs