Raber Racing takes first overall at the Parker 250
When was the last time a Yamaha Rhino was the first car to the finish line? It is great to see Yamaha back on top! Special thanks to Weller racing for installing the Yamaha R1 motor and drive system. What a reliable and easy to use drivetrain. We are excited to get our new sponsor, Black Rhino Performance on the car as well. With their racing knowledge and support we hope to be in the overall standings every race!
The Parker 250 was a great race. The Henderson race was our debut with this car and we broke a front spindle. With about 50 miles on the car and some new Cognito spindles we took on 21 other cars in the historic town of Parker. We also changed the gearing on the car because it was TOO FAST!!
The DSR1 class starts in the front so we were the first off the line right about 8:00am. Because we did not get a chance to do any testing we decided to keep the wheels on the ground for the first lap. Within 2-3 miles off the start we were passing quads. The car was running great but the rear suspension was bucking as we had adjusted the King coilpass shocks and dialed up to much compression. We were cruising around 50mph in the washes and doing around 70-75 on the flats.
The race was going great and by the time we reached the remote pit we were getting the feel of the car. Leaving the pit was a straight away that ended in a 120 degree right turn. Wanting to put on a show for the guys in the pits we opened it up to about 80mph on the straight and I underestimated the corner. We pitched the car sideways and tipped up on two wheels as we slid to a stop. It was actually a great way to build confidence as I learned how stable 100" of wheelbase can be. Leaving the pit we entered some wide graded roads and decided to push a little more. We kept the car around 90mph as we were still trying to take it easy. At that speed we ran out of road quick and found ourselves in the "goat path" rocky section of the race. Our motto to "keep the wheels on the ground" meant tooling along in first gear and really taking it easy. Amazingly the car did great in this section. While we were checking out the scenery the Parks RZR came up behind us and gently nudged letting us know they were ready to move. We let them by and watched them and the helicopter filming them disappear in the rough stuff. That car is dialed in amazingly well.
Back in the rocky section of the wash we dodged flat makers and soon found ourselves passing the casino and headed to the Parker Python. What a fun section of the race. After a couple burms it was hard to hold back and not smoke the tires drifting the corners. In an effort to keep the tires in tacked I held back..... well mostly.
At the pits we passed Parks who was working on a loose brake line fitting and pulled in to our pit. We had no idea how much fuel our car would take and our large quick fill can is too large to fit into our new fill neck. Using a small 6 gallon can we filled the car, and then re-filled the can, then added two more gallons. If we knew what kind of mileage to expect we would have saved about 5 min in the pits. That will not happen again!! We drank some water, washed our visors, and decided to head out again. We pulled in right behind Parks exiting the pits and followed close behind. I did not bump him as I knew he would pull ahead in the upcoming whoops. I found out quickly that following too close in a watered section results in a visor completely covered in mud. The Parks RZR is big, but the motor can still spin all four in the muddy sections.
As we expected, Parks pulled about a mile ahead in the whoops. Once in the washes we were soon looking at the flashing blue light of Parks. On a long wide straight we were going about 75mph and we decided to pass on the right where there was about 12-15 feet of open wash. Matt Parks was very aware of us and as we got close he swerved right to get out of the graded section of the wash and let us pass. It was too late as I hit the brakes but still hit the back of the car doing at least 10 mph more than the XP. I actually hit the driver’s side of our bumper slightly on the passenger side of his bumper. I felt like pulling back and telling him sorry but I did not think he wanted to hear it so we passed by and I apologized after the race. Once again, sorry for the love tap that resulted in more love than tap. I owe you one.
At this point we realized that we may actually have a chance at an overall victory. Not wanting to break anything else we picked up the pace but still held back. By the time we got to the alternate pit we had enough lead that we never saw another UTV again. This time while passing the pit I only accelerated to 70 before breaking in an effort to keep all fours on the ground at the tight right turn exiting the pits.
On the flats I pushed a little more, to 95mph. At that speed the car would float over some rises and in the dips it actually scraped a couple rocks on one occasion. I can honestly say 95 is the fastest anyone should go on those roads. More than that and we risked flying over the rises like jumps at Speedworld!
The goat trail was where we knew we would lose some ground to Parks. This time we still slowed to first gear, but we did let the car bounce over some of the ruts.
From there it was back into the rocky section of the wash. The entire thing is made of baseball sized rocks scattered with bowling balls here and there. At one point we hit a gotcha right on the rear sprocket skid plate. It was one of those unavoidable rocks when doing 75mph in a rocky wash. I checked up and we soon found ourselves at the underpass and on the paved straight next to the river by the casino. Feeling anxious we accelerated to 95mph and passed a quad on the pavement like he was standing still.
The race was over and we were getting our finishing pins from Casey. Parks was soon on the podium as well and we would then wait to see the official results.
As we loaded the car we noticed that the drivers rear brake line had broken right off at the caliper. I am sure a rock took it out. With dual master cylinders for front/rear brakes I never noticed that I had lost rear brakes. I only used the brakes 10 times or less during the whole race. Having engine compression braking is really nice and makes driving smooth easy. As we start pushing the car I am sure we will hold our speed into the corners and use the brakes more.
After putting around 200 total miles on a stretched DSR1 car here are my observations.
1. The car is fast, very fast. I never once had the "I wish I had more power" feeling. I only had the pedal to the metal once or twice because saving the tires takes a conscious effort with that much power.
2. The car needs bigger tires. I have my new front spindles and the rears will be done shortly so by the mint we will have 30" rubber on there.
With our first overall win under our belt our goal is to install my new hubs/brakes and move to a larger tire before the Mint 400. The front suspension felt great but the back could use some adjusting.
We are looking for sponsors for the 2012 season so if you know of anyone that would like their name on the podium let us know.