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Race Reports from The Ranch

| 12 June 2013 12:18 pm

District 37 Big 6 GP Series’ first-ever UTV Race
The Ranch MX Park

By Chris Blais and Patty Blais
Photos courtesy of Blais Racing Services
ANZA, CA, JUNE 1, 2013

Race Report by Chris Blais
This would be the first time that UTVs would race at The Ranch MX Park and at a Big 6 event. The host club, the So Cal MC, asked my wife, Patty, and I to help get this rolling and help promote the event. This would be my first race in more than a year in my Polaris RZR, and I started to get it prepped.

Chris Blais (left) and the Fiber-Tech Off-Road Polaris RZR 900XP, ready to race.

Chris Blais (left) and the Fiber-Tech Off-Road Polaris RZR 900XP, ready to race.

Just after we started promoting the event, our friend Erik Ridens at Fiber-Tech Off-Road and car owner/ WORCS SxS racer Steve Nottoli asked me if I would like to drive their race-ready Polaris RZR 900XP. An earlier decision to modify the car for physically challenged athletes after the WORCS Utah race was made by Steve and his wife, a rehabilitation physician, with the idea of making the Glen Helen Baja Cup challenge and the inaugural D37/ Big 6 SxS Ranch race (on back-to-back weekends); Steve thought these were good places to test out the new hand controls and the setup for the physically challenged.

That’s all it took for me, and I was in a new RZR for the race. To say I was excited would be an understatement! I couldn’t wait to get in that car and have some fun!

We arrived at the track on Friday evening to check everything out. This was going to be the perfect place for UTVs to race. The Ranch is a beautiful track in the rolling hills of Anza, California. I was hanging out, and I found my co-pilot for the race, So Cal MC member Tyler Kapko. I invited him along on the ride, and he was stoked!

On Saturday afternoon, Erik and Steve brought out the car for me to do a little testing and to race. The car was a beast. The hand controls in their car were the exact same setup I have in my personal RZR, so it worked great. We ended up making a few suspension changes for me and some small seat adjustments.

Just before the start of the race, the club took us out on a parade lap so we could check out the 7-mile course. The course was awesome ,and I was ready to go!

There ended up being eight cars that showed up for the race. I got off the line a little slow and let off for the first turn, which wasn’t very wide, and when I did, I got creamed in the back by a couple of teenagers who decided they weren’t going to let off. They put their right front tire over my left rear wheel and into the wheel well, and we were stuck. It took about eight guys and 10 minutes to get us apart, and that only after letting all the air out of our two tires. I was definitely bummed, but we went into the pit area and got some air and went out onto the course a lap down.

Chris Blais & Tyler Kapko (99) fly around the Ranch MX Park course.

Chris Blais & Tyler Kapko (99) fly around the Ranch MX Park course.

After the first lap, I was getting a lot more comfortable in the RZR, and I started smoothing out. We kept passing cars that had broken down all over the course, and we knew we were going to come out pretty well in the end – if we could just finish.

In the end, Tyler and I ended up finishing in third place after all the course carnage! Thank you, Tyler, for being a great co-driver and keeping me from missing any of the blind corners in the afternoon sun.

Thank you, Erik, Steve and Roxanne for the opportunity. A special thanks goes to Fiber-Tech, Cognito Motorsports, and Alba Racing for the support offered in getting the car ready. It was a great experience, and I can’t thank you guys enough. Also, thank you to the So Cal MC for giving the UTVs a chance to race at such an awesome facility!

The car owned by Steve and prepped by Fiber-Tech was a project car initially built with the support of Cognito Motorsports, Alba Racing, Benchmark Performance and All American KTM/ Polaris. Each of the teams played a key role in helping get the car modified, prepped, and ready to race.

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Race Report by Patty Blais
Racing at the Ranch is so much fun! I really love this facility, even though I’m not much of a motocrosser at all. The tracks are fun and smooth, and the jumps are not too scary. Racing out and around the facility, out in the woods and through the manzanita trees is so much fun!

Patty Blais on her Blais Racing/ Fasst Co./ TLD Honda TRX450R.

Patty Blais on her Blais Racing/ Fasst Co./ TLD Honda TRX450R.

We had one of the largest Expert rows I’ve seen in a long time. We had 12 Open Experts at round five; usually, there are about eight of us or less. Since I’m always racing against the boys, the only thing I expect out of each race is to come away with a smile! And then, of course, I’m scouring the results to see how well I did against the guys.

I’ve had a good run these last couple of races, and I’ve been able to hold off most of the Vet guys that start behind us. I’ve been racing with many of these guys for 15 years, and it’s always a great time, especially after the race, when they are making up excuses to my husband as to why they couldn’t get around me!

Patty Blais with her after-race smile and some “silty face.”

Patty Blais with her after-race smile and some “silty face.”

There are usually only two or three women racing ATVs in the Grand Prix Series. Over the years, I’ve seen many of them come and go; I also took a little break in between here and there to race more of the Desert Series events. This year, the number-one WORCS racer, Donna Ellsworth, and her husband are participating in the Big 6 Series. It’s great to have someone pushing me, as I usually get in between the lead pack of guys and the Intermediates and I just kind of stay there.

The banner dropped, and we were into the first, silty turn. Holy cow! – we literally could not see two feet in front of us. A few of us literally had to stop and wait for the dust to clear – kind of scary, and this was not how I wanted my race to start.

Anyway, we were all safe so far, and Donna was right in front of me. About halfway through the first motocross track, I was able to get ahead of her, and I stayed there for over three laps.

During my fourth lap, the heat was taking its toll on me. Our race started at noon, and it was 100 degrees! Donna stayed very consistent, and I felt myself slowing down a little to catch my breath. She ended up finishing ahead of me by one spot. I congratulated her at the finish, and we were both just covered with “silty face!” I ended up finishing in ninth place!

I want to thank all of our awesome friends for all the cheers around the course during the race. That keeps me smiling and motivated!

It was a great weekend all around, as my husband, Chris, was also able to race in the UTV race the day before. The most fun for me is the bench-racing that takes place after each event with my longtime buddies!

Until the next one….

Thanks to all our team sponsors for 2013: Fasst Co., KTM, ESR Suspension, Race Tech, Alpinestars, Kenda, Pro Moto Billet, Fastway, FMF, Rekluse, HBD Motografx, Regina, TLD, BRP, Bullet Proof Designs, DirtTricks, Eline, IMS, No Toil, Samco Sport, Muscle Milk, Acerbis, & Bike Week Radio.

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About Blais Racing Services
Be sure to check us out on Facebook and our website for your dirtbike/ ATV/ UTV needs. We are now a Tucker Rocky dealer, and we will try to beat anyone’s price. Just send us an e-mail or check out our website at www.BlaisRacingServices.com

Contact@BlaisRacingServices.com. www.BlaisRacingServices.com

Blais Racing Services offers engine rebuilding and online parts for all your motorcycle, ATV and UTV needs. Owned and operated by Chris Blais, former Factory KTM Dakar Rally Racer. We specialize in KTMs and Hondas but can work on anything. Chris does all of the engine work himself.

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Category: ATV, Gran Prix, Off-Road, POV, Regional, Riders All, Riders' POV, Riders' Race Reports

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