The 2021 UTV World Championship presented by Polaris, which took place at Lake Havasu City, AZ this past weekend, proved to be another event of epic proportions. The areas in and around Lake Havasu City – home of the historic and iconic London Bridge – features a backdrop of rugged mountains, lots of water and plenty of sand. It is an off-roaders paradise, boasting more than 20 different networks of off-road trails through varying terrain, including sand dunes, canyons, rocky outcrops, and open desert. In other words, an ideal place to hold a mega event like the UTV World Championship.
Team OTSFF/MOTUL was on hand for the event to support team manager/builder/backup driver Adam Fitza’s ‘busman’s holiday’, putting his purpose-built Polaris RZR Turbo through the paces on the rugged 29-mile multi-terrain course on Saturday, October 16th. While this year’s UTV World Championship was Fitza’s second consecutive entry, for OTSFF/MOTUL’s 6100 Spec Trophy Truck owner/driver, Andre Laurin, it was a first time out in the Polaris RZR. The usual timed qualification runs were not on the agenda at this event. Starting positions were determined by a draw system, which saw the team’s RZR first off the line. This translated into open air for a good portion of the race and an opportunity to put some distance on the other competitors.
It was decided that Laurin would start the race for the team and do the first two of four laps on the specially designed 29-mile course. Laurin, who has raced offshore speedboats, sports cars, snowmobiles, dirt bikes and for the past five years a 6100 Spec Trophy Truck, found himself in new territory behind the wheel of the potent Polaris RZR Turbo. That proved to be no problem for him however. He took to the vehicle like the proverbial duck to water!
Laurin completed his laps at a quick pace, leading the pack until he had to ease up a bit, dealing with a few unavoidable gremlins. Laurin was accompanied by navigator Drew Robinson, who rode with Fitza last year. Robinson, an avid ‘gamer’, put his acute vision and reflex skills to good use, navigating the challenging course with ease for both Laurin and Fitza. By the time Fitza took over from Laurin to race laps three and four, the Polaris RZR was in good position to nail down a podium finish.
By lap three the course was unbelievably rough, but the Polaris RZR Turbo’s platform took anything and everything that was thrown at it. Unfortunately, at the end of lap three a suspension issue put the team’s race at risk. Fitza pulled into the pit area for a quick inspection. But to rectify the problem wasn’t really an option. It was agreed by everyone concerned that giving up wasn’t an option either. Fitza pulled back on to the course and limped the Polaris to the finish line, claiming a still respectable ninth overall in a field of 36 vehicles in the Desert UTV Rally class.
“I’m super stoked with the results, as UTV racing is fairly new to me and the team in general. While we missed out on what was shaping up to a promising top-three finish, we can look back on the event with the satisfaction that unlike many of our competitors we made it to the end of the race. This race is like no other for putting machines to the test. The Polaris RZR and component parts did everything they were intended to do … and more!
With the suspension knocking, however, the last lap was kind of brutal for me. It was some crazy ride but I had enough faith in the vehicle that it would keep going. The fact that we made it to the finish line says enough about every component on the RZR being manufactured to go the distance,” Fitza said.
“It was a pleasure for me to start the race for the team. This was really Adam’s baby and to be part of it was an awesome experience. I charged hard on the first lap and a half. Maybe a bit too hard! The vehicle went into limp mode because I was running it too hot. I had to remind myself that we were running a stock engine, something I’m not used to because the super modified 6100 Spec Trophy Truck being my usual desert racing vehicle. So, I had to back off to let the engine cool down a bit and that cost us a few positions,” Laurin said.
“It was an awesome opportunity getting to navigate for the whole race, getting to ride along with Adam and Andre. Every lap was a good learning experience going into the next. The course did get pretty torn up but both Adam and Andre did an amazing job, keeping the RZR together and setting up the vehicle to keep the ride as smooth as possible. I want to thank Adam for asking me to participate as navigator again this year, and the pit crew for helping us get to the finish line for the second year in a row,” Robinson said
A huge “thank you” to everyone who got us to the UTV World Championship: Motul, Vision Wheel, Zbros, Toyo Tires, KWT Filters, Rugged Radio, Fast R, PRP. Bell Beef, Rigid Industries, XDR, Polaris, Peltzer Winery and Calculated Industries
Team OTSFF/MOTUL would like to thank all the individuals and partnering companies for their invaluable support and patience during the 2021 off-road season. You guys are awesome! Hope to see you at our final 6100 Spec Trophy Truck race of the season, the
renowned Mint 400. It takes place in the foothills of Las Vegas December 1-5. Don’t miss it