Although contact with a rock saw Team OTSFF/MOTUL lose a near certain top 10 finish in the Parker 425 this past weekend, Andre Laurin (owner/driver), Kerry King (navigator), and Adam Fitza (team manager/builder) can look back at the opening round of the Best in the Desert Racing Association’s six-round series as a job well done: They not only managed to complete the gruelling race, they nailed down a 14th place finish in the 6100 Spec Trophy Class. Of the 42 entries in the 6100, eight DNFd. Countless more in the other classes succumbed to the tough, take-no-prisoners desert environment.
“It was a brutal race. The toughest one I’ve driven so far. But it was a personal challenge for me and Kerry to do it without the use of a fresh driver and navigator to take over. We were on target, position wise, during the first of three 145-mile laps. Twenty miles from the finish line, however, we hit this massive rock, which caused the right front and right rear tire to blow,” Laurin said. “It was total driver error on my part. I was going so quick that I went off course a bit and hit the rock. We’ll write that one off to ‘that’s racing’. I think I owe Toyo an apology, though, for wrecking a few of their most excellent tires. All in all, I’m happy that we finished the race and collected points. The truck was phenomenal and a reflection of Adam’s building skills. Not to mention the top-shelf quality of all the vehicle’s components. Everything worked flawlessly.”
Before the big rock incident, at about the 110-mile mark, Laurin noticed that his rear brakes were fading. During a pit stop it was ascertained that a smaller rock had split the rear brake line. In order to keep racing and stay in the points hunt, the only thing to do was simplify things and cap the rear brakes. This meant that Laurin could depend on his front brakes only for the rest of the race. In total, close to one hour was lost dealing with these issues. One high note of the pit stops for the team was their use of a new fueling system, which fills the tank in 20 seconds, shaving off about a minute in refueling time.
Laurin and King soldiered on through the next two laps without incident, except for a minor Engine Control Unit (ECU) gremlin, which was resolved in about thirty minutes. Other than dealing with a deteriorating course that became more and more physically and mentally demanding for them – not to mention mechanically and structurally for the OTSFF/MOTUL truck – they stayed on the gas, aiming to still finish in the top 15.
Laurin, who loves night racing, was in his element at the Parker 425, as more than half of the race was in the dark. A lot of the time lost dealing with the tires, brakes, and computer issues was regained, especially on Lap 3. Thanks to the powerful illumination of the truck’s RIGID Off-Road Lights, Laurin and King knew that any surprises that presented themselves would be seen as easily and quickly as in daylight.
“In my opinion the Parker 425 is the roughest and harshest race of the year and we survived it. That’s something a lot of the other teams can’t say. Regardless of the result I’m still happy with it. We finished the Parker, albeit a bit battered and shaken. Andre and Kerry took a beating, so did the truck,” Fitza said. “We got that finish out of the way and now let’s roll it over to the Mint. All we can do is improve from here. There’s no going back. We got the finishing part down. Now it’s getting the results we know we’re capable of.”
Team MOTUL/OTSFF would like to thank all the individuals and contributing sponsors for their invaluable support to help make our participation in the “Parker 425” possible. You guys are awesome!
We look forward to seeing you at The Mint 400 in Las Vegas. This epic event – running from March 4 to 10, 2019 – is an event you don’t want to miss. Check out theMint400.com site for up to date info on the Mint 400 schedule of activities, spectator tickets and all upcoming news.