|Team Jagged X on their way to Cabo San Lucas|
Team Jagged X/Polaris RZR racing made the long trek from Phoenix, AZ to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico to race in the inaugural Baja Sur 500, the second event in the SCORE International Off-Road Series. This is the first time SCORE has held a race that started on the beach in Cabo and headed North to Loreto, covering over 424 miles of the most diverse terrain the Baja peninsula has to offer. Racers would experience a course that had everything from high-speed wide-open sand washes and curvy mountainous roads that ascended from sea-level to over 6,000 ft. to 40+ miles of racing along a beach watching waves crash into jagged rocks, and sections of silt beds that were so deep it would swallow the hood of any race car.
Twelve UTV’s would start the Baja Sur 500 and nine would actually make it to the finish line. Brandon Schueler, Driver of Record for the 1932 Polaris RZR UTV, would take the green flag in Cabo with Chad Hummer as navigator and co-driver. The 1932 of Jagged X started 10th out of 12 UTV’s in their class, which was the last group to leave the starting line of the nearly 90 total entrants in this inaugural event. “We got off to a fast start”, exclaimed Co-Driver Chad Hummer, “The first 90 miles of the race course was tight curvy roads that suited the smaller size of the UTV’s. We were able to carry more speed through the tighter turns and it allowed us to pass a lot of other racers with bigger/slower cars.” After a flawless first pit-stop at RM94, Brandon continued to pick off other competitors. “The BFG tires and Walker Evans shocks allowed us to push the car hard all afternoon, and by mile 230 we had passed every competitor in our class and were running in first place on the road.” Disaster struck at RM261 when the Jagged X RZR pulled into a remote area expecting to make a pit-stop to fuel the car and change drivers. Unfortunately, the 1932 Chase Truck had not yet made it and was fighting their own battle on the rugged Baja roads. “We had limited radio communication with our crew but we figured they were still 10 miles out, which could have taken an hour to get to us”, says Brandon. “The fuel tank was almost empty but we made a bold move to keep racing a few miles up the road and hope we can find someone who could loan us fuel.” This particular section of the course was deep with silt, the Polaris RZR was able to use it’s “On Demand All Wheel Drive” to pull its way through the super soft powder. This terrain was not the best for trying to conserve fuel however. “Luckily our prayers were answered when we found two local kids near a small village who were standing on the side of the race course. With the RZR starving for fuel, Brandon pulled up alongside them and asked if they had any gas. Two young boys, probably around the ages of 14 years old, sprung into action and grabbed a fuel jug and immediately jumped on the back of the UTV and started fueling it themselves!”, said Chad, “These kids were awesome, they even had another friend that ran up to give Brandon a Red Bull energy drink. I threw them some money and we blasted off feeling a lot more hopeful.” “We still had limited radio with our pit crew but we took the risk to drive another 40 miles at 65% race pace to make it to our next possible pit near the highway”, said Brandon. Jumping back onto a highway section at approximately R.M. 314 the RZR 1000 motor started to stumble as it was running on fumes again. Brandon was able to literally coast the car into the pit stop 50′ to the side of the highway! The pit crew did a great job fueling and making some radio adjustments. With some quick hydration and a stretch, Brandon and Chad were prepared for another 30 punishing miles to meet the second driver crew of Scott Kiger/Justin Kerr, who they had missed earlier in the day. By this time the sun was setting and the black Baja night skies were upon them. “Thankfully our Vision-X lights allowed us to race at full speed down these old farm roads and the Muzzy’s exhaust let the fans along the course know we were coming from miles away”, said Chad. “Brandon drove like a man on a mission, dodging numerous spectator cars that were on the course trying to leave their viewing spots from earlier in the day. Finally, the Jagged X UTV pulled into RM340 to meet the crew. Not a single mechanical failure up to this point, aside from some poor radio communications. Scott & Justin jumped in the car and in a matter of 40 seconds, they were off racing an additional 80+ miles towards Loreto over more mountains and stream crossings. “At one point I thought I killed the car”, said Scott, “I hit a huge rock pile with the front end and then lawn darted the front bumper into something really hard! Good thing Brandon makes strong bumpers on these things!” Scott and Justin ended up having to change a flat front tire on a car that neither of them had ever driven or worked on before. They worked together, quickly made the repair and jumped back into the UTV but gave up a couple spots to other competitors racing hard from behind. “I couldn’t figure out how to re-start the car!” said Scott. “I had never started the car in the daylight, let alone the pitch blackness of Baja! it took what seemed like 10 minutes before we figured out how to start the car again and continue racing”, laughed Justin. After the mishap, Scott and Justin were able to maintain their position on course and were greeted by a huge cheering crowd of fans at the finish line along the downtown boardwalk in Loreto. The Jagged X Crew knew the race was tight on corrected time. “Initially I calculated we were in 2nd place on corrected time, but after time penalties were handed out by the promoter were able to secure 1st Place!” said an ecstatic Bill Schueler, “I’m really proud of my son Brandon and the entire pit-crew for making the long drive down to Cabo to help us take back a win! I’d also like to thank Craig Micek, Craig Hein, Keith Story, Dave Lundgren, and Pat Stone for their outstanding pit crew services and time in Baja.” The Jagged X Team would like to thank all their Sponsors; Polaris RZR ,Vision X , Walker Evans Racing , Muzzys Performance , VARTA Powersports Batteries, Factory-Utv Futv, OMF Performance Products, CR Designs custom paint, Polaris Racing Lubricants, Cutting Edge Mfg, UTVUnderground.com and everyone who helps make The Jagged X racing efforts possible.
|On the Podium at the Baja Sur 500!|
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