Reno, NV (8/26/2013) - Prepping for the 2013 Best in the Desert Vegas to Reno race started out
great. The week before the race everything was sorted out and ready to go,
the team thought they would have an easy week leading to the race. A week
prior Trent Kendall took 3rd place in a difficult 2.5 hour desert race in
Flagstaff, AZ and Joe Ramos placed 6th after a bad soil sample in the woods
at the Cinder Mountain 100. Joe was banged up a bit but would be ready to
race the Vegas to Reno. Joe got things set up for our sister ATV expert
team from New Jersey to come out and prep at our shop. Their Bike is fresh
and ready so they wanted to go testing on Wednesday, so Joe decided to go
with them and do a last shake down on the Q11 race machine.
KMS Performance rebuild the Honda 700xx just a few days before the BITD Vegas to Reno ATV Race
Seventeen miles into testing, the Q11 Race bike seizes up and has to be
towed to the truck, Joe has a panic attack as this is 2 days before the
green flag drops. So Joe gets on the phone with our engine builder KMS
Performance and Kelly at KMS assures us that it will be done even though
KMS did not build this engine. They guaranteed they would do everything in
their power to get it fixed for us that night, now that is customer service!
Kelly at KMS was at the shop until midnight replacing the entire top end of
the engine with some help from Trent, pit chief Adam and the boys from
jersey. Kelly dyno tuned and broke in the engine on the dyno that night.
team is scheduled to leave at 9am the next day and Joe goes out to our
testing track that morning at 6am to put some desert test miles on the
machine. Everything checks out so the team hits the road for Vegas.
Thursday pre-race contingency
After an early morning test run we head out to Vegas. Registration and
tech inspection flows easy and quickly without issue, once that was out of
the way the team headed to the riders meeting while we are waiting for our
pit team member Chris Wilson to fly in to Vegas. We pick him up and head
out to the start of the race for an early 5:45 start
Friday Race day
We get up at 4am and head to the start a short drive away, unload and go
over everything once again. Staging is at 5:15 and the chase trucks head
off. It's quiet and Joe collects his thoughts. As the Pro bikes leave
line Joe thinks to himself that we have 550 miles, we need to ride smart
and safe. Just then Joe noticed a rider pushing his bike back to the
starting gate. His day might be over 50 yards from the start, so again Joe
do one last look over the quad to make sure he doesn't see any drips or
anything loose or out of place. Joe starts the race in 3rd place off the
line in the ATV Open Pro class of 5 with each Pro starting 1 min apart.
Joe gets the green light and is on the gas out of the Red Bull starting
arches like a cannon. Blazing down the dirt trails at top speed, picking
off a few Expert Dirt bikes that start in front of the Pro ATV's and using
a Trophy truck siren to warn them that the Q11 quad is approaching. With
the super loud Trophy Truck siren the bike guys quickly hold their line and
allow Q11 to pass easily. As Joe passes through Pit #1 the crew Informs
him that he is 2 min behind the Lead Quad ,which is exactly where we
started, so Joe keeps pace and rides smart, watching the engine temp on the
Trail Tech Voyager GPS computer to make sure all is running well on our
freshly KMS Performance Built Honda TRX 700.
Kendall Racing Q1 team was just a few minutes behind the leader when they stopped to help an injured dirtbike racer along the track
As Joe approaches Race Mile 52 he sees a horrifying site as it looks like a
Dirt Bike has been hit with a missile and blown into pieces all over the
track. A rider lay unconscious with a severely damaged wrist. Joe stops
and there is another rider stopped with him so Joe takes his Stuck Stub (a
card with rider information on it) to the next checkpoint and informs them
of the rider's condition. Joe was passed by a Pro Quad while stopped for
the injured rider and brings it into Pit #2 in 4th place physically. We
got an update from the bike rider who crashed a few days after the race and
he had this to say:
"Thanks for stopping for me! It wasn't a compound fracture in the wrist
but it was broken and dislocated so I was pretty ugly. The bike was pretty
mangled, exhaust was pointing straight up, rear fender ripped off, sear was
ripped in half, and the Scotts stabilizer was ripped completely off. As for
my injuries, broken wrist (requires surgery), frontal lobe brain bleed,
enlarged colon, fractured left pinky, broken collar bone, 2 broken ribs,
fractured pelvis, and a fractured left knee. The crash happened at RM 51
and I can barely remember anything after pit 1. If it weren't for that bell
helmet I was wearing, I don't think I would be talking to you right now.
The doctors say it's a miracle my brain didn't bleed more"
Trent takes the quad from Pit #2 to Pit # 3 without any issues other than
dust from the slow expert bike riders who start ahead of the pro ATV's.
arrives at pit 3 still in 4th place but making time on 3rd.
The Q11 ATV Race team placed second at the Vegas to Reno Best in the Desert
At pit #4 we do a heavy maintenance pit stop and change an air filter lid,
full fuel stop and check the fluids. All is good and Joe jumps on about 1
minute behind 3rd place. Joe has 60 miles before the next pit and ran this
section last year so Joe takes full advantage of the familiar trail and was
able to catch and pass the 3rd place Pro Quad putting Q11 physically in 3rd
place coming into pit #5. Joe and chase truck #1 head to Pit #7 and
Trent's chase truck (chase #2) head to pit #6 for a visual.
At pit 5 Trent Hops on and hits the trail full bore with sights locked on
2nd place, Trent takes it to pit #6 on the gas and roaring, the KMS
Performance Yuma Mortuary bike is now completely broken in and singing like
a bird. Trent passes a few more bike teams, as you can tell we are still
wondering why they start expert bikes ahead of pro quads. Chase 2 calls in
as Trent clears Pit #6 in 2nd place.
Pit #6 Joe is ready and waiting as the number Q1 pro quad leader comes in
and we wait for Q11. About 13 min later Trent comes in on a flat rear tire.
This would seem like a huge issue and definitely slowed Trent down, but
Kenda tires kindly stepped up to the plate offering the Q11 Team tire
support this year and at this point this is our 1st flat of the day so far.
Last year at this point without Kenda tires we were already on our
5thflat tire so this was a definite improvement.
We change the tire, check the oil level , change an air filter, top of fuel
and Joe hits the trail for a quick 30 miles of fun to pit #7.
Pit #7 Joe comes in with the belly skidplate dragging but he made up a few
minutes on the leader. The crew quickly fixes the belly skidplate. From
here Trent rides through pit 8 straight to Pit 9 for a 58 mile leg. Joe
rides from pit 9 to 10 with no issues and Trent is ready to go. The Q11
crew turns out a lightning fast pit stop , checking Oil level, coolant
level , changing an Air filter lid and a quick once over on the quad
because this is where the Chase trucks have to split up to cover the pits
faster than the Race Quad. So chase truck #1 heads to pit #13 with Joe.
Chase truck #2 heads to Pit #11 for just a splash of Fuel before Trent
Heads to the "Dark side of the Moon" and will not have any contact with the
Crew for 60 miles so we make sure that everything is tight and in order for
the big run without chase support.
Chase #2 calls chase #1 to let them know that Trent is through pit #11,
running great and cut our time down a few more minutes, chase truck #2
heads to the finish line from here. We have a local spectator and desert
racing supporter that offers support at remote pit #12 but we did not need
him this year but always appreciate his service, thanks Lance!
At pit #13 the crew at this pit have no idea if Trent is still running or
not, the last known contact from Trent was at Pit #11, but as the leader
pulls out of the pits Trent rolls in about 13 minutes behind him and on a
completely demolished rear Tire and because of the low ground clearance
with the rear flat the quad was banging off the rocks and lost the belly
skid plate for good this time. Trent had been riding on the rear flat tire
for 30 miles. The pit crew quickly change 2 tires, another fluid level
check and swap out the air filter lid for the last 75 mile of the race
because this is the last time the pit crew will see the race bike until the
finish line. Joe jumps on and speeds off to pit #14 where we have a remote
pit crew that offered help here as they were already pitting for the N11
It did not go well for Joe from pit 13 to pit 14; the transmission on the
quad was acting kind of funny in 2nd and 3rd gears. It would not stay in
2nd or 3rd gear, so Joe was easy on the transmission to pit #14. Once at
pit #14 the remote pit crew of œBaja Seve" looked over the bike and topped
her off on fuel, and sent Joe on his way for the last 48 miles to the
finish line. Now with this transmission issue and no belly skid plate
protecting the engine on the bottom, Joe went into œget her to the
mode and was easy on the transmission and clutch with only 3 usable gears
and a gnarly hill climb in to the finish. Joe wanted to be sure he doesn't
damage the exposed engine in the major rock garden on the last 10 miles so
it was a 1st gear slow hill climb to the top . Once Joe is on top of the
hill climb and on the flat roads he is back on the gas with the 2 high
gears and to the checkered flag.
As the Q11 Open Pro quad comes through we already know that we are a few
minutes behind the leader but even with the belly pan issues and 3 gears
Joe was able keep the 3rd place quad at bay to the end and not losing any
more time to the leader for an official time of 11 hours 5 minutes and 33
seconds. Fast enough to be the 13th machine overall to the finish line,
and 2nd ATV to the checkered flag. Not a bad finish for having KMS
Performance rebuild and dyno test the motor 2 days before the race. Last
year we had 9 flat tires and this year we were lucky enough to have Kenda
tires on the machine and we went almost 200 miles before the 1st flat tire.
As we load up the race quad we get the dreaded phone call from our sister
expert ATV team from New Jersey stating that they are "Done" and have to
put their quad on the trailer. Congrats to the Q1 team for another strong
race and major props to Cody Mitchell on the 3rd place quad. He almost
iron-manned the entire race after his team mate was injured during the race.
In Closing , the riders Joe Ramos and Trent Kendall have the easy part;
just ride, but the crew puts in long hours wrenching , testing and chasing
for the Q11 Yuma Mortuary, KMS Performance, Moose Racing , Barkers Exhaust
TRX 700 , but it's the support groups Q11 Team has to thank for this
*Special thanks to:*
The Pit Crew: Jamie Ramos, Darren Mattice, Chris Wilson, Lavar Kendall,
Adam Barnes and our families.
Sponsors: Yuma Mortuary, Barkers exhaust, KMS Performance, Kenda Tires,
Spider Grips, Moose Racing, United Distributing, DFR Graphics, LoneStar
Racing, Wolfsnout, Drytec off road racing, Rich Glasgow fabrication.
Our partner teams: The ATV expert team #421 "Jersey Boys" and The Yuma
Mortuary ATV Expert team #431
For more information please visit www.kendallrace.com