With another high energy race across the desert, All Fays Racing once again headed to Nevada with winning as the goal. The race is held just outside of Las Vegas; in Mesquite. 300 miles of rocky terrain filled with silt, trestle bridges and your endangered tortoise; it was a race to set standards.
Ray and his pit support team headed out early Friday morning to ensure proper time to arrive safely. At this point, it seems the chase vehicles could drive themselves to Nevada and the trip went quite smoothly. The All Fays Racing team breezed through tech inspection and registration and headed on to prepare the bikes before attending the driver’s meeting. It was then early to bed, as it was a 90 mile drive to the 6:00 am start from the host hotel. Upon arriving at the designated location you could feel the cool air and excitement before opening a door – it was race day!
Ray and DJ were able to quickly unload and line up for the start of the race. They would be second in their class to start with Ray taking the first section. As the light went green he was off without hesitation just a minute after his opponent had left and well on his way to gaining speed. The section would be a tight technical start with a variety of rocks and silt.
At pit 1 the first quad rolled in with Ray hot on his heels. Team Green was once again off to a tremendous start. Ray commented on the left front tire being low but ok and beamed ear to ear – they were gaining speed and could taste victory yet again. They would fuel and have a rider change here in just under 1 minute with DJ leaving the pit seconds after the first quad rolled by.
DJ would battle jagged rocks, scattered cacti and every rider’s villain… silt, silt and more silt. As the pit crew saw the green of the Kawasaki peak over the hill headed toward Pit 2, cheers were let out. DJ had come in quick and would be the first in his class to reach the pit, trailing the last Pro quad that had come through by only 10 minutes. He slid in to the area with enthusiasm and cut the engine. The crew began to change the front left tire that had fallen victim to the rocks, swap out a filter and fuel up. In less then 5 minutes DJ was back on the quad raring to go.
It was a sickening sound as the engine would not turn over… DJ frantically attempted to kick start the quad. When no efforts of his would prevail the pit team stepped in to give him a running push start, up hill none the less, to get the engine going. As humorous as it was to watch the men push the quad it was anything but funny when the stubborn quad continued to remain dormant. By this time the first quad that Team Green had passed, had now arrived in the pit. The team would strap the quad to the truck to give it some extra “oomph” to get it started. Finally, success! The Kawasaki roared, spectators and competitors alike cheered and DJ yelled a thank you as he headed out; trailing the first quad by minutes.
By Pit 3 many quads and bikes had experienced engine and mechanical issues due to the silt and terrain. Team Green held their breath as they awaited DJ’s arrival. Once again, he had made up time and would arrive to the pits first in their class. As he approached he shouted the need for another filter change via radio and the crew prepared. Ray would be getting on at this pit to tackle the next section and was anxious to get on and do what he does best, race to win. Unfortunately, a filter change would not fix the issues going on with the engine that Ray discovered when looking over the quad. It was done for. A feeling of defeat and disappointment begin to set in. Instantly, Ray announced the engine would need to be swapped with the engine from the practice quad and quick. He would not give up or give in… Team Green would finish this race despite the current set back. The pit crew was swift to get things started, as were DJ and Ray who were already taking off gear so they could help.
What a spectacle to see! Just off the race course at Pit 3 was a chaos of green, black and metal. There were open tool boxes, scattered bolts and screws, towels galore and two quads being dismantled… not exactly a common sight at a cross country race. As the team drew a crowd of curious spectators Best in the Desert officials also came by to see just what all the fuss was about. A quick radio in to confirm the engine swap was legit and the team continued to combine two days work into two hours. The pressure was on, as each pit has a time limit in which the last vehicle can leave. Ray was determined to get it done and finish this race. As the last screws were tightened into place Ray jumped on and took the quad for a quick test ride. By this time the first cars and trucks had made it to the pit and were leaving again. Ray and DJ would be out on the track battling it out with the beasts and would need to take extra caution.
Ray shortly circled back, jumped off and began tweaking the quad again… something wasn’t quite right. The engine they would now be racing was the same engine they had already traveled many miles on in their victory run from Vegas to Reno, just weeks earlier. All were hoping the engine still had enough in it to carry the team to yet another victory. Ray geared up, thanked the crew and was off. It had taken just under three hours from DJ’s first arrival into the pit to Ray’s gallant departure. Fingers were crossed as the blur of green and a cloud of dust disappeared out of sight.
As the Chase 1 truck was headed to Pit 4 to meet Ray disaster set in. Over the radio Ray could be heard, the sound of frustration and disenchantment thick in his voice. It was over. At about race mile 185 the little engine that could – couldn’t any longer and had blown up. The chase vehicles arranged to pick up Ray and the conked out quad to efforts given, Ray would not be able to finish.
Once the quad was loaded and the team began to head back, Ray and DJ began to lift their spirits. They had after all tried everything they could to make it work; it just wasn’t in the cards for them this time. They had both remained uninjured and for that were thankful. They bantered back and forth about the sections they were able to cross, what they could do to improve for the next time, and how first-class it felt to have changed the engine as a team. Although it was not the winning experience they had set out for it was one of bonding and team building.
Ray would like to thank his sponsors for their continued support and faith, as without it much would not be possible. He appreciates all his pit crews, fans and family do for him, without everyone’s contributions he knows he would not be able to race to his fullest potential. If you would like any information or questions on the Kawasaki 450, Ray or how to become a sponsor please contact him at RayFay3@AllFaysRacing.com. Ray and the All Fays Racing Team will next be preparing for Best In The Desert 150 held in Jean NV.