Only Seconds Separate Trophylite Racers At Bluewater Desert Challenge
After two solid days of intense Trophylite competition at the Best In The Desert Bluewater Desert Challenge in Parker, AZ. the margin of victory was razor thin. After Saturday’s heat race, Louis Chamberland, driving Jeff Mortis’ truck, had only seconds over 2nd place finisher Todd Jackson and 3rd place Logan Holladay. Chamberland set the fastest lap of the weekend on his way to the win and picked up the bonus money that goes with it. Mike McCarthy returned to the series driving his Ford powered Trophylite and was rewarded with the 4th place spot.
5th place was Trophylite’s own Rick Johnson who was sharing a house rental truck with his daughter Ashley. Eric Norris was slated to drive the truck but at the last minute, could not make the race. 6th place was stuntman Ryan Happy who was competing in his first Trophylite event driving another of the Trophylite house rental trucks. Dave Carlson, owner of Sidewalk Surfers Skate Shop in Phoenix, finished 7th. PJ Guglielmo and Andrew McCleod rounded out the finishers in 8th and 9th places. Jeff Proctor was running strong until he lost the transmission and Chris Hall sheared the wheel studs off; 13 trucks in all started the race.
With day one in the books, it was time for some celebration. Azunia Tequila, Trophylite, Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company, Method Race Wheels, General Tire, KC Hilites, Currie Enterprises, Children of the Dirt and Kreed Eyewear put on a great BBQ party Saturday night. Azunia margaritas, cold Figueroa Mountain beer on tap, BBQ and $400 dollars’ worth of mac and cheese, rumored to contain 100lbs. of cheese, supplied by Jeff Mortis had the crowd feeling great. Prizes from Currie Enterprises, Children of the Dirt and some fantastic eyewear from Kreed were given away. A great time was had by all.
You think day two would be easier but that’s not the case at the Bluewater Challenge. After a full day of racing and two heats of the unlimited cars and trucks, the course gets gnarly. The sand is deep, the holes are huge and the rocks get churned to the surface; day two is twice as tough. The heats were run during the day so the competitors did not have to use their KC Hilites to see but they were there leading the way on the front bumpers and held up to the rocks, sand and serious pounding. The short course format and brutal course conditions put everything to the test. Trophylite racers rely on the finest components from General Tire, Mastercraft Safety, Impact, Method Race Wheels, Maxima Racing Oils, FOX, K&N filters and Currie Enterprises as well as support from Azuñia Tequila, Metro Honda / Metro Acura, Children of the Dirt Apparel, Tanimura & Antle, Baja Junkies and Kreed Eyewear by Fortress to compete at such an intense pace.
Fourth place overall went to stuntman Ryan Happy who when asked about the race responded, “Where do I start? I crash cars and race motocross for a living and that was probably the most fun I’ve ever had. My goal was to keep it on all fours and try to finish. I had a hell of a good time doing it. I was surprised what those trucks can handle. It took a while to figure out how to get through the deep silt and to drive in the dust but that’s what made it so fun.” Ryan has motocross obligations the rest of this season but hopes to put together a team for next year.
Sunday’s heat race was in Jeff Mortis’ words, “crazy, absolutely crazy!” He should know, he won the Metro Honda / Metro Acura Hard Charger award and a cool one thousand dollars in cash on his way to 3rd place overall for the weekend. “After a great drive on Saturday by Louis, we started up front on Sunday,” says Jeff, “We got passed by Todd (Jackson) and were racing back and forth with Logan (Holladay) for two laps. On lap three, we were going into a turn that I just didn’t like when we decided to take a new line. We dropped two tires off an unseen ledge and rolled onto our lid. It seemed like BITD was right there as soon as we were out of the truck. We got back over on all fours and took off to chase down the two Trophylites that got past us. We reeled them both in and finished strong.” Jeff and Louis cleaned up when it came to cash; they won $1000 for the heat win on Saturday, another $1000 for the Metro Honda / Metro Acura Hard Charger award and $200 for the 239 Films / CD Video Web fastest lap award. The Trophylite racing series is not just for bragging rights. Cash bonuses and generous contributions from the companies who support the series are up for grabs at every event.
Second place overall belongs to Logan Holladay and co-driver Tyler Eubanks. The duo started their time in Trophylite on a tear with wins and podiums stacked up in a row but have been challenged in the last couple of races; it was good to see the pair back on the podium in Parker. “We are really happy to be back on the podium,” says Logan, “We tried our hardest to win but it was tough to get past anyone in the dust. On Saturday, we started back in 7th place. There were some big holes out there; we passed several trucks on their lids. Every lap the corners got wider, the holes got deeper, you can’t just go for it. It was a lot of fun. We had more intense battles in this race than ever before. Coming down the pavement by the river on Saturday, I was side by side with Louis Chamberland and both of us were right on the bumper of Jeff Proctor. The three of us were all bumping and rubbing at 80 miles per hour; wide open. It was the same on Sunday. We had a tough battle with Todd Jackson. We were on him for three laps but could not pass him. I can’t wait for the Henderson race.”
The overall win went to Todd Jackson who bested Logan Holladay by less than 10 seconds for the heat win on Sunday. Their two-day combined times had the margin of victory at just 27 seconds; it doesn’t get much closer than that. “The race was tough, the pace was fast,” said Todd after Sunday’s heat, “My co-driver Mike Slater is a huge part of why we won. Not only did he prep a fast car but with all the dust, the extra set eyes and knowledge of the track were invaluable. We finished first across the line on Saturday but Jeff Mortis’ team closed the time gap and got us by 27 seconds for first place. On Sunday, the first lap was extremely dusty. We got around two or three buggies and had some clean air out front until we caught some traffic from the first heat. We pushed hard all day and ended up beating Holladay by 10 seconds. We made up our 27 seconds on Mortis from the day before and clinched the win; we had a great race! Rick, Brenda and the Trophylite crew put on a great BBQ on Saturday for all of us. They raffled off a lot of great stuff including a free entry to the Henderson race which I won! All around, it was a great weekend for us!”
Jim Riley and the Azunia Tequila Trophylite R8 team were dogged with problems during the race. They had a steering issue and motor problems on Saturday and a transmission failure in the heavy sand on Sunday. “Thanks to General Tire and Casey for putting on a great event,” said Jim, Azunia Racing had a tough two days fighting the competition and the sandy course that kept us off the podium.” Regardless of where they ended up, it’s impossible to put a dent in the Azunia team’s spirits or determination. They will be ready to go when the Henderson 250 rolls around.
The General Tire Trophylite series heads to Henderson, NV for the final round of competition December 5- 7. Only 250 miles remain but with double points up for grabs, it’s anyone’s championship to win or lose.
If you’d like to join in on the fun Go to: http://www.trophylite.com/ to find out how you can be a part of the series.
Race Photography By: Bink Designs / Trophylite BBQ Photo Courtesy Children Of The Dirt
About Trophy Lite
The General Tire Trophylite Race Series was created to provide an affordable alternative to the high cost of racing. Drivers are pitted against each other in identical vehicles that provide the thrill of competitive offroad racing without the million dollar price tag. All Trophylite race vehicles are precisely constructed to maintain parity and use the finest quality components available. Trophylite allows you to compete in a fun, fast, race proven vehicle right out of the box. With generous sponsorship from General Tire, KC Hilites, Metro Honda, Metro Acura, Currie Enterprises, Mastercraft Safety, Impact
, Method Race Wheels, Azunia Tequila, Maxima Racing Oils, FOX
, Children of The Dirt
, K&N Filters
, Tanimura & Antle
, & Kreed Sunglasses you can cash in on the prize money that is up for grabs during the 2014 season.
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For 99 years General Tire has offered a complete quality line of ultra-high performance, passenger, light truck, off-road and commercial tires to meet all your needs. General Tire is a proud supporter of Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series, Best in the Desert Racing Series, Major League Fishing, Chili Bowl, Pro-Pulling, Late-Model Dirt Series, Drag Boat Series, American Sprint Car Series, FreestyleMx.com Tour, Zero One Odyssey, and Spec Tire of Trophylite and JeepSpeed. Team GT supports off-road and short course teams including CJ Hutchins, Garrick Freitas, Harley Letner, Jerry Zaiden/Jason Campbell/Jerry Whelchel/ (Camburg), Jim Riley, Justin Lofton, Macrae Glass, Randy Merritt, Ray Griffith, Steve Alexander, Steve La Roza, Ryan Beat, Carl Renezeder, and Robby Woods.
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