Team OTSFF/MOTUL’s Andre Laurin and Trevor Hayes broke into the top-10 club as they barnstormed their way to a commendable ninth place overall finish at Round 2 of the Best in the Desert Racing Association’s 6100 Spec Trophy Class off-road title hunt at the Laughlin Desert Classic in Laughlin, NV this past weekend. Compared to the other rounds, Laughlin is an exceptional event. Run over two days, the Desert Classic features multi-heat type races on a challenging, specially constructed 16-mile course. This translates into a four-lap, 64-mile sprint race times two.
Laurin, as usual, took care of all the driving duties while fellow Canadian Hayes substituted for Kerry King in the navigator’s seat. Laurin’s wife, Monique, however, occupied that all-important seat for the team’s qualifying run. Mrs. Laurin had a go at navigating at the opening round of the series in Parker, AZ last month: She did so well and enjoyed it so much she wanted to join her husband in the cockpit again in Laughlin. A brave lady indeed!
“I have been involved in the race world for over twenty years. However, co-navigating in qualifying is the most exhilarating experience I have ever had in motorsport. Being with my hubby and enjoying this adventure in the navigator seat is truly amazing,” Ms. Laurin noted.
Although he had his wife keeping him on the straight and narrow during Thursday’s 6100 qualifying runs, Laurin errored in one section of the ultra demanding Laughlin course, ending up in a fence. Having to back out of this fence cost him a time-consuming 11 seconds on the clock. When all was said and done, Team OTSFF/MOTUL were looking at a 25th place starting position for Saturday’s race. Not great. Not the end of the world. Laurin had laid down a blistering pace regardless of the fence incident. The Adam Fitza-built and prepped 6100 truck was obviously going to be a vehicle to be reckoned with. But Laurin definitely had some work to do on Saturday and Sunday if he was going to achieve an aimed for top-10 overall finish.
Saturday morning’s green flag saw Laurin set a consistent pace, passing multiple vehicles but not taking any unnecessary risks. In a two-day weekend racing event, you have to drive smart on day one. In a sport of attrition, you must finish every lap on both days if you want to score championship points. If you DNF Saturday, Sunday is a wash! Unleashed from the east, Toronto’s Laurin drove with flawless concentration and poured on the gas. Hayes, meanwhile, did what he had to do, ensuring there were no unwanted surprises up ahead. In their hands the OTSFF/MOTUL truck zipped around the course with panache, ending up 14th and picking up 11 positions for Sunday’s starting grid. Things looked promising for day two.
Fitza prepped the truck on Saturday night, tweaking this and that to get Laurin and Hayes set to tackle another 64 miles the following day. In Sunday’s showdown, Laurin and Hayes were taking the green flag in a much more favourable 14th place starting position. Aiming for a top-10 overall finish, Laurin was on a mission. He pulled out all the stops, driving aggressively and pushing hard to gain positions on an extremely rough track. He made up just under two minutes on the first lap alone. On Lap 2 and 3 he again made up positions. Times between the top contenders were extremely close. When the chequered flag was waved Laurin nailed down 12th place.
Combined with Saturday’s result, Team OTSFF/MOTUL achieved the top-10 overall finish they were gunning for. It was mission accomplished. But it came with a price: on Lap 4 Laurin landed really hard off the grandstand jump, which caused Hayes to jar his neck and spine. Concerned about Hayes, Laurin slowed down and cruised – losing critical time – to the finish
line. We received word today from Hayes, who flew back home to Toronto on Monday morning, that x-rays he had taken at a local hospital showed some compressed vertebrae. We wish this iron man a speedy recovery.
From the horses’ mouths …
Andre Laurin: “Your adrenaline flow and how you race this event peaks the whole time because you’re doing laps. It’s go-go-go for sixty-four miles. There’s no place to relax a bit here and there like when you’re doing a point- to-point race. The race course was extremely rough. Adam really had the suspension dialed in for us and that set us apart from some of the others. Some of the jumps we were able to manage allowed us to pass a lot of our competitors. All in all, it was a good race and the truck held up its end of the bargain immaculately. The main thing is that we improved a bit over Round 1 and I’m super excited with our results. We need to keep that momentum going. And I need to find that little extra technical input on my end so Adam can get this awesome truck of ours even more awesome.”
Trevor Hayes: “It was an incredible race both days. Unfortunately, we flat-landed on the grandstand jump. This is extreme racing and we all know it’s not a walk in the park. The landing caused me quite a bit of discomfort in my back, but the Fox shocks did their job, even after the brutal punishment they had taken in the first three laps. I think if it wasn’t for our excellent suspension and Adam’s expertise in set-up, I could have broken my back. Fortunately, Andre wasn’t any worse for the wear and tear. He asked me if I wanted him to stop and I said ‘are you kidding me? We’re going for the finish one way or the other’. I didn’t come all the way to Laughlin to see a hard battled for result go down the tubes with the finish line practically in sight.”
Adam Fitza: “Considering the misadventure for Trevor on the final lap, we can look back on Laughlin as a great race for us. We’re on track with our projections for this season. Andre is more comfortable with the truck than ever. I’ve never seen him drive so confidently and aggressively. For me personally as a builder and mechanic, it’s always a triumph to see a truck I’m responsible for finish a race, never mind attain a desirable result. Top-ten is great!”
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! We look forward to seeing you at the
MINT 400 in Las Vegas, March 6 information on this off-road, Vegas style extravaganza please go to the link below:https://themint400.com/the-2020-mint-400-returns-to-las-vegas-march-3rd-8th/