On the weekend of October 12/13 Team OTSFF/MOTUL found themselves – along with over 200 other racing teams – in Laughlin, NV to participate in the annual Laughlin Desert Classic. Compared to the usual endurance, rally type off-road races, the penultimate points round on the Best in the Desert Racing Association’s 2018 schedule is unique. Laughlin features multi-heat style races – run over two days – on a challenging, specially built 16- mile course that tests man and machine to the utmost in what is essentially a 64-mile sprint race. For team owner/driver Andre Laurin, it was the second time he ventured to Laughlin, which is nestled along the banks of the Colorado River in the far southern tip of Nevada.
There was plenty of nail-biting action and drama on both days that saw the drivers/navigators and crew members working hard to keep the OTSFF/MOTUL truck in the mix. Considered one of the toughest and roughest on the Best in the Desert tour, the Laughlin Classic takes no prisoners, something Laurin and his crew found out when they were forced onto the sidelines on Day 2 due to a roll-over.
In his Spec Trophy class heat race on Saturday, after the lights went green, Laurin unleashed theawesome power of the truck’s GM LS3 430 hp engine to barnstorm his way into the holeshot. On the second of four laps, trying to improve on his position, Laurin side-walled into a sharp rock, with a punctured left rear tire as a result. By the time he and navigator Kerry King got to the pits the tire was shredded and had ripped off a brake line, leaving the truck with no braking power.
Crew chief/truck builder Adam Fitza went to work to hurriedly repair the brake line while a new tire was installed. In no time the OTSFF/MOTUL truck got back into the fray to complete the remaining laps and score some valuable points, finishing 25th on the day. In preparation forSunday’s heat, Fitza and his crew replaced the master cylinder and adjusted the rear shocks to make them a little bit stiffer. After carefully inspecting all components, the truck was treated to few more tweaks here and there.
Off of the start line on Sunday, Laurin again nailed the holeshot but on Lap 2 the engine’sserpentine belt failed, which at once caused the power steering, alternator, and water pump to stop functioning. Without an operational water pump the engine started overheating so Laurin and reserve navigator Iain Hayden stopped and quickly replaced the serpentine belt. To complete the race, however, a pit stop was in order to add some three gallons of water to the cooling system. With only 11⁄2 laps remaining, Laurin poured on the gas to try and regain a top-ten position but he miscalculated a double berm, ending up rolling the truck. And that was all she wrote. For the first time in two years of desert racing, Laurin had been unable to take it all the way to the finish line.
Note: At time of press release writing no official weekend overall results were available.
From the Horses’ Mouth
Andre Laurin: “Adam, as usual, ensured we had a top-notch truck. We had speed to spare and superb control of the vehicle. The suspension was immaculate, handling the deepest holes and the biggest sand whoops of any track we’ve race on this year, as if they were nothing. I felt we were definitely in contention for a top-three finish. Unfortunately, we lost the serpentine belt and then in my haste to make up time, after replacing the belt and making a pit stop, I ended up rolling the truck. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Adam, my navigators Kerry and Iain, and the entire crew for doing and excellent job this weekend.”
Adam Fitza: “I was very happy with the way the truck performed, it was super fast, something Andre’s holeshots underscored. The belt failing was unfortunate, but these things happen. Flat tires happen and roll-overs happen. Since the beginning of the year, when the truck was built till now,there’s been drastic improvements made to the vehicle. It’s definitely a competitor in the class now. I’m super excited about that. There’s no doubt in my mind that it can’t be a podium finishing truck.”
Team OTSFF/MOTUL would like to thank all the individuals and contributing sponsors for their invaluable support to help make our participation in the “Laughlin Desert Classic” possible. You guys are awesome!
See you all in Pahrump, Nevada on the weekend of December 1, 2 for the Pahrump Nugget “250” presented by Polaris: The final race of the Best in the Desert season. Don’t miss it!