I’m new to both desert racing and UTVs (only been on them a handful of times in my life — mostly on boring guided touristy processions) but my friends and I want to scratch off an item on our bucket list, racing in Baja, and after seeing that NORRA’s Mexican 1000 seems more like a competitive party vs a “balls-out competition where people with more money and faster vehicles are going to run you off the course”, we have our sights set on the 2019 race. What really sold us was that a team of Westfalia-nuts (Go Westy) finished this year with their Westfalia van in the RV class. Crazy.
While we are neophytes to desert racing, our core team has spent the last 7 years racing in the 24 Hours of Lemons – an endurance racing series for $500 cars (which end up costing far more than that once you factor in all the safety equipment, logistics, etc). I started with a V6 and auto transmission and over the last 7 years has actually evolved into something that’s both fun and a bit more than we can handle (302 V8 swap + manual + tricked out suspension). While I had done oil changes and brake jobs before, this platform taught me how to do transmission swaps, engine mods, and engine swaps. Our logistics planning has gotten good enough that we want to tackle a bigger challenge. We are also award winning now (although not for our race prowess): 2017 Sears Pointless 24 Hours of LeMons Winners
While I would LOVE to campaign in the Mexican 1000 with a Tbird or a 90s Previa Minivan, neither solution will will give us a good chance of finishing our first outing in Baja (I know what it’s like to pack up all of your toys only to spend the race weekend working underneath your car at Sears Point instead of being on track and I don’t want to repeat the situation in the desert. In speaking with the race director, he says that a UTV is mostly Baja ready and can be acquired + fully race prepped for $15-20K.
As it turns out, one of my friends (husband of my friend) has a 2011 Polaris Ranger RZR 900 he’s willing to allow us to race-prep and use provided he and his best buddy joins us. This now brings me to you guys. NOTE: I’m not delusional enough to think that “Myopic Motorsports” is going to dominate on our first (or any) outing in Baja. We just want to finish.
I’ve already picked up the shop manual and will be going through it but I will likely be posting lots of random questions so I must apologize in advance.
My first question would be as follows (mods – I’m happy to move this into another thread if so desired)
Q: Besides the obvious (spare tires + wheels), what spare parts should I plan to bring down to mexico with us as race spares?
– After 7 races and disassembling 4 donor cars, I have a full set of race spares I bring to every race weekend: full suspension spares F&R (shocks, springs, control arms), full brakes, ECU, engine+transmission already pre-mated together to drop in, etc. Basically everything we would need to repair one big hit at any corner or an engine failure.
– I read the common failures listing but I only see things we should fix as part of race prep vs. stuff we might need to swap out b/c they are points of failure for desert racing.
– Is the steering rack a common point of failure on these vehicles? from what I’ve read of other desert racing vehicles, this is something that people often find themselves looking for in Mexico to keep their vehicle going.
Q: What are the common websites to buy Polaris parts? A significant part of my tbird has come from rockauto.com but I’m less familiar with UTV-specific/offroad-specific websites.
Thanks in advance for your advice. I look forward to this discussion.