Words and photos by Jeremiah Staggs.
Making the switch to Yamaha at the start of 2016 was a gamble to say the least. Fighting through issues since the first race, the team was hoping to put that behind them and bring home a solid finish. If it could go wrong it did, part failures, shock tuning and other issues held the team back. But like any true American, Jeremiah rebuilt. He went bigger, he tested more and worked with Dean at Suspended Fabrication to remove any doubt in the YXZ. The M.O.R.E Sierra 250 was around the corner and he needed a race to get things sorted. He needed a nasty course to prove the shocks can stay connected to the chassis but more importantly he needed a solid finish. The desert community doesn’t flock to Barstow just for the Del Taco, they come here in droves to punish race vehicles. The terrain in Barstow is some of the nastiest you will find, deep holes, odd spacing on bumps and square edges.
Mojave Off-Road Racing Enthusiasts (M.O.R.E) hosts a few races a year in Barstow. Its a true hardcore racers stomping ground. This local vibe here is what sets Barstow apart, whether your at Del Taco or testing down Barstow main off-road history is rich here.
The race was set to kick off around 5pm, the sun had painted the desert with temps over 105 degrees. The team sat under a canopy giving the machine one last look over. Thanks to Dean the YXZ was the best it had ever been. The car was tested and prepped, the team was rested and the temps were starting drop. Within the hour the 1982 YXZ would tear off into the desert, only time would tell if all the hard work had paid off. Lap 1 went off without an issue, the YXZ was charging hard. On lap two we opted for a quick fuel splash and quick visual. Everything looked good so we took off. By lap 3 the course looked like a junk yard. The punishing race course was taking cars one by one. We backed off a little and settled into a smooth pace. Starting lap 4 the sun would makes it final attempt to scorch earth before retiring behind a mountain range. STV Lights led us into the night. By lap 4 the class ones and trucks were catching us. Dean was doing double duty between the mirror and the GPS. The combination of blinding dust and brutal terrain was a major challenge. The course was somewhat holding us in the line but we cant see rocks, holes or broken cars. It was a game of chance and we had come too far to lift now. With the throttle cracked we pushed through the dust. As soon as we hit the sweeper onto Barstow Main for the last time it started to settle in, The YXZ had done it. Against all odds we ran a perfect race. No flats with our bullet proof EFX tires, no shock fading, nobody crashed into us and the desert did not win this time.
A big thanks to all the sponsors that helped me get here: Alba Racing . PRP Seats . Yamaha . Lonestar Racing . Rugged Radios . MSA Wheels . EFX Tires . STV Motorsports . Factory UTV . Suspended Fabrication . Rhino Wraps