Quality racing is alive and well in Plaster City with race promoter DRIVE, the host of the 3/21/09 Race-Dezert 250 race event. Yes, you read that right! We put on an off-road race! When Doug and Jon of DRIVE approached us in 2008 and pitched the idea of race-dezert.com coming on board as a title sponsor of one of their races in a new series we were a tad skeptical. But the pure drive, energy, and refreshing ideas made it an easy sell and we became believers of DRIVE. With our first race under our dezert hood, we still feel jazzed about what just happened.
Friday contingency started at about 4pm in the desert just a few feet away from the main pit and start/finish line. The weather did its job by providing a slight breeze through the otherwise grueling hot Imperial Valley desert. We set up a RDC booth alongside some of the other vendors and fired up the charcoal barbecue for free hot dogs, chips and drinks for everybody. We met lots of people on our website that we hadn’t met in person before so we can put faces with the names but watch out because now we know what you look like! And we might say, thank goodness for avatars! We had a great time meeting all of you!
To challenge the young upcoming racers, DRIVE held a TrophyKart race that evening. TrophyKarts are limited to children from about 5 to 16 years of age. They raced 5 laps of 1.5 miles each. TrophyKarts have been originally designed for short course racing and their belt drive system wears out almost as quickly as a tire in Nascar, hence the rather short TK race. There was a strong sportsman vibe and everyone gladly agreed to keep having TK races at future DRIVE events.
Saturday morning the race was scheduled to start at 8am but the ambulance DNF’ed before the race even began! The chartered ambulance for the day broke down in route to the event and instead of starting the race without it, Drive was forced to delay the start till 9:40AM. DRIVE handled the situation quickly and communicated well on their 2-way radio channel to inform everyone of the situation as it developed.
After the race start delay there were no more hiccups and the event was flawless for the remainder of the day.
The biggest class was 1400 with 5 starters and 3 finishers. Noah Quantrell took the win. He had battled an overheating transmission that they had to cool down by spraying water over the radiators. Whatever they did seemed to help and they will be back for more down the road. Cameron Reeves had a flawless day securing him 2nd place. The über built T-100 of Dan Unsicker snapped rear wheel studs early in the race and the team scrambled to make emergency repairs on the course. Of course the broken wheel studs let the wheel go, destroying the rear caliber = no rear brakes for most of the race. They also, much like our governor, will be back.
A refreshing comeback for racing in Plaster City was the use of Tucker Trench. This historic part of the course hasn’t been used since the days of Fud and every racer we spoke with after the race loved it. “It’s scenic and makes you think you are racing somewhere in Baja” claimed Joe Patteli class 8 racer, finisher and winner of the RDC250. “The last time we raced here in Plaster City was in 1985 and we rolled our truck then…the same truck we raced today with better luck on our side”.
To pull off such a flawless day of racing takes lots of manpower and DRIVE had help from no less than 40 volunteers alongside the course manning road crossings and checkpoints. Elite Auto of El Cajon supplied “Check-Point Care-Packages” consisting of water, snacks and sandwiches. RDC added our own priceless collectible, soon to be historic, RDC250 themed event t-shirts to all racers and volunteers.
So what’s next? For DRIVE it will be the night race on May 16th. For RDC it will be a handful of events the following days. Don’t miss next years RDC250 at a desert near you.