The Best In The Desert, BlueWater Desert Challenge is an intense two day event that forces drivers to push hard on a challenging course that varies from deep sand to rocky hard pack. As the laps click off, the course gets even rougher. Trophylite hosted a great BBQ and party Saturday night with a margarita bar from Azunia Tequila but aside from that, it was all business for the Trophylite teams. Decked out in special pink KC Hilites stickers to acknowledge breast cancer awareness month the entire field was in for some incredible action.
It takes a savvy driver to take a victory in the series, to win back to back in a Trophylite field loaded with savvy drivers is remarkable. You might not have heard of Logan Holladay but you might have seen him. He is a motorcycle stunt double in popular movies and several TV shows. His racing credentials are extensive. His father raced off-road in the 1970’s and passed the need for speed to Logan who started riding at age 2 and racing at age 5. Among many accomplishments he won the Baja 1000 in 2011 as a rider for the Honda factory team.
His first Trophylite race was at Vegas to Reno but after passing a bunch of trucks in the first 100 miles the transmission failed taking him out. He was anxious to give it another shot and his results speak for themselves.
Logan and his girlfriend Tyler Eubanks, who navigated flawlessly in her very first time racing, did not have an easy run on Saturday. They ripped a brake line off and lost the brakes. “Logan loves to go fast and live on the edge,” says Tyler, “I was calling out the corners coming up so he could downshift to slow the truck. There were quite a few times I had to say too hot, too hot! but Logan pulled it off flawlessly to take the win. We had some close calls but it takes a lot to scare me.”
They were under a lot more pressure to repeat on Sunday but they stayed focused and finished with another win. “Tyler was an amazing navigator,” says Logan, “She was a big help taking the win on Saturday. We made it through the race without brakes but the worst part was trying to get stopped at the finish line. I knew if we could win with no brakes on Saturday we had a great chance of winning again on Sunday. Ben Abatti pushed us all weekend but we did it. Trophylite has an affordable program; you can actually win some good prize money. The Trophylite rental program is a great way to go racing. We will be at the Henderson race to try to do it again.”
Ben Abatti III was a close second, he was on Logan’s tail but did not have the speed to get past him. “We have been chasing some gremlins but have figured it out,” says Ben, “We had a bad relay that was failing intermittently. There is a new ECU available for the motor that gives more horsepower. We didn’t want to add it to the truck without knowing if the problems we had were really fixed. We will have the new ECU in Henderson! ” Ben and his crew’s hard work netted them second place overall.
Ben was third in the points chase coming into the weekend behind PJ Guglielmo in second and Perry Coan in first. Coan suffered a broken axle and a DNF. Guglielmo had a spectacular crash on Saturday but was able to finish both days. The points will be really close going into the final race in Henderson. “We are a little banged up but to tell you the truth, the crash was a lot smoother than I thought it would have been,” said PJ, “We were held in tight to our Mastercraft Safety seats so we didn’t move around a lot. We hit the ground three times going end over end and came to rest on my side. After I got a face full of sand I closed my eyes and just held on for the ride. I just put new Mastercraft Safety belts in and I’m glad I did. We got the truck patched up enough to finish both days but we need to do some real repairs before Henderson; we’ll be ready.”
Andrew Mcleod and Jason Pellanda drove a smart race to take third overall. “This was our first time racing at the BlueWater Desert Challenge; I loved it,” Said Andrew, “My co-rider Jacob Andrew never got a break on the technical course but our race was uneventful compared to some of the others; we had a lot of fun. We had no flats with our General Tire Grabbers, we are real happy with our results. I think we will be at the Henderson race and plan to run the full Trophylite season in 2014. We are really looking forward to that.”
Jeff Mortis, who normally co-drives with Chris Wacker had the sole driving duties this weekend as Chris was unable to make it to the race. “Looking at the results I think I will change my driving style a little,” says Jeff, “I missed fourth place by only 28 seconds! I’ll be more aggressive at Henderson. I drove my first race in a Trophylite there, I love that race. I will be doing my best to get on the podium.”
Mike McCarthy, his family and friends worked very hard for their finish on Sunday. “We got about fifty yards on Saturday when the torque convertor came apart,” said Mike, “We loaded up, drove back to my shop in Wickenburg and swapped it out with the one in our other truck. We started last on Sunday but worked our way up to third I think, we will have to see the results when they come out.”
Jeff Proctor started in 12th position out of 12 trucks on Saturday. His strategy was to push hard off the start and make up some positions early. “Our strategy did not work like we planned,” said Jeff, “We were pushing hard in the dust and missed a sharp 90 degree turn around mile 6. We rolled it several times, landing on the roof. Luckily Weatherman was there in his Jeep to roll us back over. We regrouped and made it to the finish in 9th place I think. The truck started to cut out with only 12 miles to go. When we rolled, some gas poured out the vent tube that we didn’t factor in when we calculated our range. We had just enough to make it to the finish.”
Dave Carlson suffered the same fate as PJ Guglielmo did. He landed in a big hole and went end over end and then barrel rolled. “It was way rougher on Sunday after the big trucks went through,” said Dave, “It was my first time wrecking and we really learned the value of good Mastercraft seats and Impact seat belts. The only damage was a bent track bar that bound up the rear suspension. We had a spare in the pits but with we aren’t in the points chase so we decided to call it a day. For my first Trophylite series race, we had a blast!”
The big news from the Azunia Tequila Trophylite R8 team was the addition of Andy Grider to the team. Grider is an accomplished two-wheeled and four-wheeled racer with Baja and Dakar experience. He had a rough debut when he went for a ride on Sunday. “I had a bad day yesterday with a rollover in the first five miles,” said Andy, “We got the truck back on it wheels and to the hot pit to check everything over before going back out for the last two laps of the day. Thanks to the team for their hard work and dedication. It takes a good group of people to have a successful team and we have that.” Jim Riley was pleased to be racing in Parker. “I love racing the BlueWater,” said Jim, “The two day format always gives you a chance to come back from a bad day. We had a fun weekend getting to know our newest team Member Andy Grider.”
The BlueWater Desert Challenge put the drivers and their Trophylites to the test. Their FOX shocks took everything the terrain could dish out and Maxima Racing Oils kept everything running smoothly. At Vegas to Reno the General Tire Competition Grabbers took the first two spots. At the BlueWater, it was the AT 2’s that took the top two spots. It seems to be a toss-up as to which General tire performs the best; both work well in a variety of terrain. Regardless of which tire the teams use, their Method Race Wheels have performed flawlessly the entire season.
Overall Weekend Results (9 out of 12 Finished): 1. Logan Holladay 2. Ben Abatti II / III 3. Andrew Mcleod 4. Edmundo Chantler 5. Chris Wacker 6. Jeff Proctor 7. P.J. Guglielmo 8. Mike Meachum 9. Jeff Mortis
The battle will resume once more December 6-8 in Henderson, Nevada. The points will be tight and the season will be on the line, it doesn’t get any more intense than that. Photography By Bink Designs www.binkdesigns.com
About Trophy Lite The General Tire Trophylite Race Series was created to provide an affordable alternative to the high cost of racing. Drivers are pitted against each other in identical vehicles that provide the thrill of competitive offroad racing without the million dollar price tag. All Trophylite race vehicles are precisely constructed to maintain parity and use the finest quality components available. Trophylite allows you to compete in a fun, fast, race proven vehicle right out of the box. With generous sponsorship from General Tire, KC Hilites, Mastercraft Safety, Method Race Wheels, Azunia Tequila, Maxima Racing Oils, Impact & FOX you can cash in on the $50,000 in prize money that is up for grabs during the 2013 season. Visit www.trophylite.com for more information.
About General Tire For more than 95 years General Tire has offered a complete quality line of ultra-high performance, passenger, light truck, off-road and commercial tires to meet all your needs. General Tire is a proud supporter of Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series, Best in the Desert Racing Series, Major League Fishing, Chili Bowl, Pro-Pulling, Late-Model Dirt Series, Drag Boat Series, American Sprint Car Series, FreestyleMx.com Tour, Zero One Odyssey, and Spec Tire of Trophylite and JeepSpeed. Team GT supports off-road and short course teams including Banning Motorsports, CJ Hutchins, Garrick Freitas, Harley Letner, Jerry Zaiden/Jason Campbell/Jerry Whelchel (Camburg), Jim Riley, Justin Lofton, Macrae Glass, Mike Childress, Randy Merritt, Ray Griffith, Rick L. Johnson, Sean Backus, Steve Alexander, Carey Hart/Josh Merrell/Ryan Beat/Rob Naughton (Hart & Huntington), Carl Renezeder, Casey Currie, Kyle Lucas, Robby Woods, Ryan “Fluffer” Hagy, Marc Burnett, and Johnny Campbell. General Tire is part of Continental Tire the Americas, LLC. (www.generaltire.com). CTA, based in Fort Mill, South Carolina, is a company of Germany-based Continental AG. With sales of approximately €20 billion in 2009 Continental is among the leading automotive suppliers worldwide. As a supplier of brake systems, systems and components for powertrains and chassis, instrumentation, infotainment solutions, vehicle electronics, tires and technical elastomers, Continental contributes enhanced driving safety and global climate protection. Continental is also a competent partner in networked automobile communication. Continental currently has close to 160,000 employees in 45 countries.
About Bink Designs Bink Designs is a premier graphic design company located in San Diego, CA. Since 2003, Bink Designs has been committed to providing cost-effective solutions for clients’ high-end graphic needs. Bink Designs will work with you to develop a strategy that matches your goals. Bink Designs offers a number of services, including: Identity, Print Design, Vinyl Graphics, Web Design, Photography & Apparel. For more information about Bink Designs, please visit www.binkdesigns.com