Team UXC Race Report from the Heartland Challenge

| 30 August 2017 11:31 am

Heartland Challenge

Courtesy of Team UXC Racing
Photos by
CARLISLE, IA, AUG. 19-20, 2017

Team UXC arrived in Carlisle, Iowa, from all corners of the earth to again take on the Heartland Challenge. The weekend consisted of four-hour UTV, 10-hour ATV and 1.5-hour Ace races.

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With the GNCC Series finishing later into the summer than usual, it meant many late summer nights in the workshops in order to put 11 machines on the start line, ready to race. Despite the usual challenges, it was always a pleasure to turn up to one of Andy Kyner’s events. His team is welcoming and accommodating, and Team UXC is happy to be able to support the event weekend.

The four-hour UTV race took place half in daylight and half in darkness. With most XC races being an hour, this one was going to put pressure on the machines, as well as on the driver and copilot. Rigid Industries’ epic LED lights would be critical to allow the drivers to keep it wide open throughout the night.

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New for this year were four RZR classes: 800, 900, 1000 and Open (the latter to allow for turbo cars). Both Team UXC drivers were riding in the Open class, using Polaris RZR XP1000s (non-turbo version).

The race kicked off at 7 p.m., and within seconds it was clear how the next four hours would be: extremely dusty. Both Michael Swift and Kevin Trantham got off the line well, but dust played a big factor in visibility. However, it was a long race, and remarkably no damage was done!

Both drivers found the going challenging, as it was extremely hard to stay on the tail of the driver in front without running the risk of missing a turn, driving down a ravine, or running into the vehicle ahead under braking. After one very dusty, sketchy lap, Trantham came around in third with a comfortable gap on fourth and plenty of time to run down second. Swift was not so lucky; he came around in 10th, but his race experience and fitness allowed him to show a coolness and determination to finish on the podium.

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While Trantham was catching and passing the second-place rider and moving ahead to catch the leader, Swift was making passes to reach the podium.

Trantham found himself trading places with the leader throughout the race. He said that, despite the dust, the car was handling superbly, with the STM Powersports/ Airdam-Tuned power going down perfectly. The Challenge section was brutal, but the RZR’s RT Pro cage, nerfs and bumpers soaked it up, and the UXC drivers loved being pushed!

The dust never settled, and once night fell, the issue of visibility became even worse. The team’s Rigid Industries lights were amazing! Normally, the roof-mounted light bar would be sufficient to light up an entire field, but the conditions were unusual, and the Rigid Dually Midnight Edition surface mount spots worked just like fog lights. Therefore, Swift and Trantham drove just as fast in the dark as they did in the daylight!

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The pit stops went well, and Swift was now up to fifth. Shortly after the stops, Trantham’s belt went while racing wide open along the pit straightaway. Thankfully, he wasn’t too far from the UXC pits at the time, and the pit crew was able to get him back out on the course. Swift was not so lucky; he suffered a race-ending mechanical issue with less than an hour to go. He was frustrated to not finish after all of the hard work he’d put in, but he was glad that Trantham was still in the fight for a podium position.

Both drivers said the track flowed fast and held up well. The only real issue was the dust, and it made for an extremely grueling four hours with the throttle pinned most of the lap.

When the checkered flag dropped after four hours, Kevin Trantham and his copilot, Nic Snyckers, crossed the line in third as highest-placed Polaris. It was a well-fought race that put a Team UXC/ Factory Polaris Team RZR on the box.

On the podium, Trantham thanked SSI Decals for making all the team’s machines look on point, as well as Evans Powersports for keeping the machine nice and cool in the Iowa humidity.

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Trantham wasn’t the only driver to put a Team UXC machine on the podium on the day. Earlier, Becky Widdicombe lined up the Polaris Ace 900 XC for a 1.5-hour race – three times longer than a normal GNCC event. Having walked the track, she knew it looked fast. The team had spent a lot of time working on the machine to dial it in to how she likes to drive. The new RT Pro cage and nerfs would meant that making tight turns around trees would be less of a worry.

She was second going into the first corner. She held her line around the start field and tucked in behind the first-place rider. It was clear going into the first woods section that staying on the leader’s tail was going to be difficult, due to zero visibility. Rather than risk a race-ending crash, she settled in and drove her own race.

Throughout the early laps, she would check to see where the third-place driver was, and she felt comfortable that her pace was giving her a buffer. It would stay like that for the rest of the race, as the first- and second-place riders continued to gap the rest of the field.

Widdicombe crossed the line in second a few minutes behind the winner. She said it was the hardest and fastest she’d ever driven the 900XC, but that she was smiling throughout, as the car felt so good. The car looked planted as it was coming down the pit straightway wide open and drifting before anchoring up hard with her DP Brakes to make the rock section before timing.


Not done with UTV success, Swift and Trantham went on to take the Pro 4×4 ATV 10-hour win the following day after four hours in the RZRs and making it three years in a row – that some achievement!

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Team UXC’s other riders also put on an excellent show. Graham Widdicombe finished second in Ironman competition. Also racing Ironman, Nic Snyckers finished in 13th after some issues with his twist throttle, and Team UXC Guest Racer Kev Jones finished sixth.

In the Over class, Josh Day partnered with Jeff Wright again, and they put their machine on the box in third.

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The team will be back racing ATVs and RZRs when the GNCC season recommences in September.

Team UXC Racing 2017 Sponsors
Thank you to Team UXC’s sponsors this season: Airdam, Alco Cleaners, All Balls Racing, Bair’s Powersports, Big Gun Exhaust, Carbo Rocket, Carmichael Training Systems, Cool-It Thermo Tech, Custom Axis Shocks, Dirt Works Motorsports, DP Brakes, Evans Cooling, FPS Racing, Fasst Company, Fly Racing, Hilliard, K&N Filters, Leatt, Maxxis Tires, Motion Pro, Ogio, OMF Wheels, Polaris Engineered Lubricants, Polaris Factory Racing, Polaris Power Generators, Quad Logic, Quad Tech, RCV Performance, RT Pro, RZR, Ricochet Off-Road Armor, Rigid Industries, Rox Speed FX, Securadyne Systems, Scott Goggles, Spider Grips, SSI Decals, STM Powersports, Team, Teixeira Technology, and Tire Balls.

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Category: ATV, Endurance, National, Riders' Race Reports

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