|Vigor Motorsports – John Deere Gator RSX850i|
|March 12th through the 16th the Vigor Motorsports Off-Road Race Team participated in the Best in the Desert General Tire Mint 400 off road race; the second of the six race series. This historic event billed as “The Great American Off-Road Race” was held in Las Vegas, NV. The event kicked off Wednesday with a parade of 100 race cars including both Vigor Motorsports John Deere Gators driving down the Las Vegas strip. The next day Vigor Motorsports displayed both Gators on Fremont Street at the meet and greet where fans could take a close up look at the cars and meet the drivers. Then on Friday both cars were again out on display in downtown Las Vegas for Technical Inspection and Contingency Registration. On Saturday the event moved out into the desert for two races split by class. The UTV classes run the first race starting at 6:00am.
The first car off the line for Vigor Motorsports was the John Deere Gator XUV DSR1 caring the badge of new sponsor Powder 1 driven by Matt Krimple and co driver J.D. Bongiovanni. Chris and his team at Powder 1 did an outstanding job in making the car shine with all-new powder coat and along with the numerous hours spent by team members and friends, the 1971 was ready to extend the three race win streak in the Pro UTV/DSR1 class. The race started well with Matt and J.D. moving through the dust, morning sun, and traffic towards the front of the field when it all came to a stop. A simple reminder that off-road racing is brutal on every component, a newly designed aftermarket component in the drive train failed leaving the team stranded and out of the race at mile 60. Thanks to the stellar support of the Best in the Desert crew, drivers and car were transported back to the highway.
The second of the two Vigor Motorsports John Deere Gators, the John Deere RSX 850i Gator left the start line with high expectations as well. Coming off a class win at the Best in the Desert Parker 250, the John Deere RSX 850i Gator driven by Scott Martinez and co-driver Joyce Humerickhouse were looking for a repeat win in the Pro UTV 850 class. The race started well with the RSX catching the class leader early. Unfortunately in very rough section at approximately mile 10 Scott hit a rock in the dust damaging the car. Then at mile 65 as a result of the earlier damage the car lost 4wd. To make matters worse a second rock strike at mile 130 did further damage to the car. Amazingly at mile 165 the team took the lead on course in class for a few miles before surrendering it back. With only 10 miles to go and the class win in hand based on elapsed time, Scott and new co-driver Mike Mercurio were forced to stop once again to make repairs, conceding the victory. This finish, like no other, demonstrates the durability of the John Deere RSX850i. The team was forced to stop eight times during the race to make repairs to the car caused by the treacherous terrain. Judging from the damage it’s hard to believe any UTV other than a John Deere Gator would have made the finish line never mind only 4 min 34 sec off the lead and 12th out of a total of over 50 UTVs entered.
Check out BITD.com for the official results and UTVUnderground.com for more details and pictures from the race. Thank you to all of our sponsors, Magnum Off-Road, Fox Shox, General Tire, KC Hilites, Monster Seal Tire Sealant, Method Wheels, PRP Seats, Powder 1, Team Clutch, Odyssey Battery, Piaggio, Big Gun Exhaust, Assault Industries, Alba Racing, Summers Brothers Axles and Competitive Metals without your products and the support of UTV Underground, Lenco Racing, Hayes Brakes, 1DayWraps.com, Los Valientes Tequila, Stotz Equipment and Baja Pits this effort would not have been possible. Vigor Motorsports is looking forward to the next race in the series the Best in the Desert Canidae Tap-It Silverstate 300.
In closing, let us extend a special thank you to Casey Folks, his staff and volunteers, at The Best in the Desert Racing Association for putting on a great race and an epic series and to the Martelli Brothers for revitalizing the Mint 400. Of course thank you to the contributing photographers, Rusty, Vincent Knakal, Ernesto Araiza, Jason Zindroski and Shilynn Milligan.
Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/UTVGuide