FOX Athletes WIN-WIN-WIN-WIN in 2017

FOX Athletes WIN-WIN-WIN-WIN in 2017

Coming off of a 70% win-rate in the 2016 off-road race season, FOX athletes continue their success in the 2017 season

The 2017 Best in the Desert season kicked off in Parker, Arizona for the annual Parker 425. The 2017 installment is the first since BITD leader Casey Folks’ passing. Hearts were heavy, but the BITD crew picked up right where we left off and the race went off without a hitch.

Justin Lofton, 2016’s Mint 400 top qualifier and overall winner, railed his way into the 2nd position in qualifying, only to be out-paced by Jesse Jones’ 4-wheel-drive truck, which had a clear advantage in the deep Parker sand. Lofton chased down Jones off the start of the race and was able to take the lead for the better part of 2 laps until suffering a chassis failure that would take him out of the race.

Capitalizing on Lofton’s misfortune, 2016 Baja 1000 3-peat winner Rob MacCachren took over the lead and looked as if he had it all wrapped up until also suffering a mechanical failure, allowing 2016 Vegas to Reno winner Andy McMillin to get by and take the win.

The podium was swept by FOX-equipped Trick Trucks with McMillin’s overall win, MacCachren finishing 2nd and Steve Olliges coming in 3rd in the FOX/Team Ford #27 TT.

On the heels of the Parker 425, FOX rock racing athletes were anxious to kick off the Ultra4 season at the infamously brutal King of the Hammers race in Johnson Valley, CA.

Tuesday’s Power Hour qualifying session saw 2016 KOH Champ Erik Miller earn the fastest time in his brand-new Pro Chassis, which he just finished building the week before the race.

Wednesday featured the increasingly popular UTV class race, featuring many 4400 racers like Miller and the Campbell family. Early in the race, Bailey Campbell proved that she’s a force to be reckoned with as she jumped to an early lead. Her lead came to an end when a broken axle put her down on time and allowed several competitors to pass, including her dad, Shannon, and brother, Wayland. Shannon steadily increased his lead, crossing the finish line first, 15 minutes ahead of Wayland for a 1-2 FOX finish.

Wednesday’s Power Hour qualifying session ended with Jason Scherer edging out Erik Miller’s Tuesday qualifying time by 1.22 seconds, earning Scherer his 3rd consecutive and 4th career KOH eee position for Friday’s Ultra4 race.

Thursday’s main event was the Smittybilt Every Man Challenge race. Once again, FOX athletes came out on top with Brad Lovell claiming his second consecutive overall and Legends class win, Marty Mann taking the 4500 class win, and Ben Varozza coming out on top in the stock class.

After winning all the 4-wheel races through Thursday, the focus was set on the extremely competitive Ultra4 King of the Hammers race on Friday morning. From the drop of the green flag, the battle was on as racers started side-by-side in front of a packed Hammertown. Jason Scherer lead the way into the desert, but the lead constantly changed hands throughout the day with epic passes in the desert whoops and technical rock sections. Scherer commented on this year’s race being the first time the top racers all had to battle it out their hardest for the entire race.

Wayland and Shannon Campbell challenged eachother until the very last rock section, where Shannon sustained a flat tire that allowed Wayland to get ahead and cross the line first. The flat failed to slow Shannon, however, as he managed to finish right on his son’s heels without a front tire, taking the win on corrected time by just 28 seconds. When asked on the podium how he felt about that, Shannon remarked that he didn’t care as much about the win as much as how impressed he was by Wayland’s driving skills.

Shannon’s win made him the first KOH competitor to win the race 3 times and marked yet another all FOX podium and Top 4, with Wayland Campbell timing in 2nd, Jason Scherer crossing the line in 3rd and Erik Miller finishing 4th.

The Top 4 sweep also was the last piece of the puzzle for a clean sweep of the entire KOH week, with FOX athletes winning every 4-wheel vehicle race and event at the 2017 King of the Hammers.

With KOH in the books, all eyes shifted to the Mint 400 and Justin Lofton as he set out to be the first 3-peat overall winner, this time in a brand new Jimco Trick Truck, nicknamed Fury, featuring an all-new Roush-Yates powerplant.

Unfortunately, Lofton suffered a case of the “new car blues” at time trials, breaking a driveshaft just yards from the finish. Driveline issues would continue to plague the new #41 TT, ultimately forcing Lofton to retire from the race on Saturday.

After a long morning of battling and consistent lead changes in the limited class race, Broc Heger emerged victorious in the 1000 Class with the top 6 cars all on FOX. Dodge Poelman took the win in the NA Pro UTV class.

Also notable was Jay Leno piloting the Camburg Toyota TRD Pro 7200 truck with Jerry Zaiden to a solid finish.

The morning race set the stage for the stacked field of unlimited vehicles in the afternoon race. Andy McMillin, Rob MacCachren & Bryce Menzies would be the first FOX trucks off the line after qualifying 3rd through 5th respectively. McMillin started the race with 2 Mint 400 overall wins to his name and Menzies with one, but the real story surrounded MacCachren, one of the winningest drivers in off-road racing, whom had yet to earn a Mint 400 overall title in his career.

The Trick Truck class featured a solid number of competitors that all have a real chance of winning at any given race, but MacCachren was especially eager to win his first Mint after just missing the top spot in Parker. As the off-road war waged on, countless vehicles retired from the race with mechanical failures. Bryce Menzies, suffering from chronic knee issues, was forced to get out of the truck and hand over the wheel to his co-driver, Pete Mortensen, after the brutally deteriorating course took its toll.

As the sun set, racers charged into night in an all-out sprint to the finish. 2016 BITD Champion Jason Voss crossed the finish line first as MacCachren’s team counted down until his #11 Trick Truck took the checkered flag. MacCachren, along with FOX’s own Off-Road Race Manager Wayne Israelsen in the right seat, finished within 2 minutes of Voss, enough to earn MacCachren his first career Mint 400 Overall win by just over 1 minute on corrected time. Andy McMillin rounded out the podium in 3rd, 4 minutes behind the winner.

With the Mint 400 overall win checked off his list, MacCachren continued his hot streak in Baja, ironing out the infamous San Felipe whoops to yet another overall win. On top of being his 2nd consecutive Baja win, the victory marks two wins along with 2nd place to start the 2017 desert season. Rob will look to continue his success into the 2017 LOORRS short course season, kicking off in Chandler, Arizona in just 2 weeks