SXS racers line up side by side in Imperial Sand Dunes of Glamis for an incredible day of racing for the inaugural Red Bull Sand Scramble. They would battle it out wheel to wheel around a 2.8-mile course through the towering Southern California Sand Dunes. But there are no last place trophies here, and only one would be left victorious. James Hill of IMG Motorsports and Junior Red Bull driver Mitch Guthrie Jr. would go head to head all day long, and on the final event, Mitch would be left victorious. We have long been missing this style of racing in recent years: simple rules, two classes, and wheel-to-wheel racing.
The Red Bull Scramble series is a part of SXS sanctioned racing for both amateur and professional racers alike. The overarching theme is to boast unique terrain across the country, having already had a Rock Scramble in Tennesse and a Mountain Scramble in Ohio earlier this year. The Red Bull Sand Scramble would become the premier event of the national SXS Scramble Series.
An already familiar landscape for many of those who raced this past weekend was reaped with the benefits of trying new lines around the pylons. Glamis would prove to be challenging for those who hadn’t experienced sand dunes. The racing was broken up into two classes Professionals and Sportsman – that is it. This “run what you brought” mentality is a refreshing rule instead of the nuanced rules we have been seeing in other racing organizations. In recent years we have seen many organizations have been creating even more differentiated classes for UTV racing, Pro Turbo, Pro N/A, Unlimited, Rally, Sportsman, Pro Stock, Pro RS1, and more. Confining it to two classes is refreshing and allows for the most competitive type of racing, leaving no room for those to sandbag in other classes.
Four heat races consisting of four laps on a 2.8-mile course started the day, and the top six finishers automatically qualified for the main event. Eight more racers from last chance qualifiers were added to the main event lineup, which featured a field of 32 SXS’s from both classes in a six-lap final.
Team Hytiva driver, Shawn Saxton, hands down, was one of the fastest drivers of the day but experienced mechanical heartbreak with a win just in sight. After nearly lapping drivers on the LCQ (last chance qualifier), he would start the second row at the main event and pass 32 cars on the first lap. A win was in his sights with a huge lead in front of second and third, but he blew a belt on one of the final laps, putting him out of the race.
With a total race time of 19:57:466, Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team member Mitch Guthrie Jr. won the SXS Pro category just merely beating IMG Motorsports driver James Hill of which they had been battling it out all-day long. But in the end, Mitch was victorious and took home a brand-new Polaris RZR XP Turbo. Jaxon Steele won the Sportsman class with a total time of 22:23:773, earning him a new set of BFGoodrich Tires and $500.
“That was the fastest I have ever driven in the Glamis Dunes,” said Guthrie Jr. “It feels amazing to win the first Red Bull Sand Scramble. I have competed in the other Red Bull Scramble events, but to win this one in front of my family and friends and the Duner’s where I grew up means so much to me.”
The Red Bull Sand Scramble was the third and final stop for the Scramble series of the year. The event brought not only high energy racing to the dunes of Glamis but also the event brought the off-road community in droves to spectate from a distance. It went off without a hitch, and we are beyond excited to see more of this racing continue next year with the first installment of the Red Bull Ice Scramble. SXS racing with studded tires battling wheel to wheel? Yes, please. This is an event we won’t want to miss. Until then, we will be counting down the days.
SXS PRO CLASS
1. Mitch Guthrie Jr. – 19:57:466
2. James Hill – 20:01:141
3. Corbin Leaverton – 20:19:131
SXS SPORTSMAN CLASS
1. Jaxon Steele – 22:23:773
2. Dan Winecki – 22:25:857
3. Tyler Hurlock – 22:41:699