After the UTV World Championship race we would get a break until Vegas To Reno. What seemed like we had plenty of time would quickly fly by as always. The last two weeks leading up to the race it would be all hands on deck trying to get the Yamaha ready. We did a full prep from the ground up and would do a shake down run and final assembly and finish all last minute things.
Thursday morning we would get up early and hit the road to Las Vegas for tech at the Texas Station hotel. Tech was a long and hot day as always but would go smooth for us. Thursday night we would get everything fueled up and ready to hit the road to Beatty,NV where the longest off road race in America would begin.
Friday morning we would get up and hit the road at 6am, we would arrive in Beatty,NV just in time to beat the mess that was behind us to unload for the start. After unloading the Yamaha and doing a few last minute checks we would patiently await our turn at the starting line. We would take off second in class but had many vehicles and classes ahead of us, making dust a huge factor as the start in this race usually is.
We get the green light and take off being patient and saving the car was the plan. We would stay consistent and move our way through the field. Dust was blinding at times and staying on course was a challenge. Stopping on course in a white out is a death wish. We kept pushing forward hoping for the dust to clear. We would start checking off the miles going through tight winding pine tree sections and then back through the deserts and lakebed. The silt beds were long and nasty. All while we are checking off race miles there is another race taking place on the road. The chase crew would travel the highways that connect the course to the pits. At pit 4 the car would take fuel and then head off. So far the race was going smooth for us. Zero flats, no mechanical failures just smooth sailing. More miles, more rock sections, more silt beds and now Mother Nature kicking in with some thunderstorms. Which would make for some awesome racing and scenery. Now up to pit 9 the car would take more fuel and head out. We are still having a flawless run and the crew is doing an amazing job as they always do. Around pit 10 the Yamaha would start sputtering at high rpms and eventually only do 8 mph.
The co-driver would jump out and pull out the air filter thinking it was clogged, which it was. He would shake it off, beat it on the tire and put it back in and the Yamaha seemed to be running ok again but still sputtering in high rpms. So needing an air filter change, we radio the crew thinking that was the issue. Pulling into pit 11 at Gabbs,NV the Yamaha would take fuel, get a air filter change and now take off into the night to finish the last 150 miles. There would be no more stops the crew would go to the finish line. The breeze had died down making the dust settle in the valleys and visibility down to zero at times only being able to run the lights on the bumper and relying on the co-driver and gps. Not to long after leaving pit 11 the Yamaha was now sputtering at 9500 rpms like it was a rev limited, now wondering is it running lean due to the tune in the car, or are we having a voltage issue? We continued on and the problem only got worse. After dealing with thick dust and coming through pit 13 the Yamaha wouldn’t run over 8500 rpms. We stopped and did some voltage checks and didn’t seem to find any issues. We got back in and thought well we know we have no pit support so we should try to make it to the finish. Shortly after we went through pit 14 the crew radio and asked if we were ok as they had made it to pit 14 but just missed us. We let them know that the car was not running right and having issues. Now at rm 495 we cant go over 40 mph and the Yamaha is sputtering and from that point on only gets worse it will now at rm505 not go over 15 mph. We stop and turn everything off and get out and do some voltage checks and look the car over. Everything checks out ok and we are not sure what the issues is the car runs fine but progressively got worse at high rpms and was sputtering. We then talked about could it be a fuel issue? Could it be injectors or a voltage regulator? No codes were kicking out on the dash indicating a issue. When the Yamaha was first built in December of 2015 a second fuel pump was added to the car and wired in on switch on the dash. Then the light bulb went off lets try it. We got back in and switched from pump 1 to pump 2 and boom! The car took off running strong again. Frustrated we didn’t try it earlier after spending all that time trying to fix it, but also relieved it was fixed. Now knowing there was only 45 miles or so left and we couldn’t make up to much time we pushed hard to the finish line and the last 20 miles were brutal, teeth chattering rocks and rain ruts.
We would come over a hill in the dust and see the finish line we had done it, Staggs racing finished Vegas To Reno! After chasing the issues for over 100 miles we lost some time but still pulled off a 6th place finish in class. All the hard work the crew put in paid off on prepping the car and flawless pit strategy.
This years driving was broke up between Jeremiah and Brandon.
Jeremiah Staggs and Josh Staggs from the Start to Pit 4. Brandon Altmann and Terry Altmann from Pit 4 to Pit 11 and Jeremiah Staggs and Josh Staggs from Pit 11 to Finish.
Our KMC wheels and EFX tires work amazing and we had no flats or issues one thing not many teams can say! And the crazy thing is the EFX tires still look brand new!
A big thanks to all the sponsors that helped me get here.
KMC Wheels . Walker Evans Racing . Alba Racing . PRP Seats . Yamaha Racing . Lonestar Racing .Rugged Radios . EFX Tires . STV Motorsports . Factory UTV . Suspended Fabrication .Magik Kustom Graphics .