Fallbrook, CA (1/9/2018) – Blackhills UTV’s Jamie Kirkpatrick and Mike Cafro finished eighth in the UTV Pro Turbo class during the Parker 250, round one of the Best in the Desert Series. Driving the Elka/Maxxis Polaris RZR, Cafro elected to run a conservative pace on the notoriously rough and difficult course and secured a top starting position for the Mint 400.
The Pro Turbo race was run on an 80-mile course that comprised rough and rocky desert, sand washes and canyons. With dry conditions and a later start time, dust and darkness definitely challenged Cafro on the third and final lap of the event.
He stayed laser focused during the event to ensure a finish and scoring an eighth in a 56-car field is a great way to start the season. With some of the toughest competition in years and car counts off the charts, it turned out to be a wise decision.
“This race is notoriously rough and the competition is pretty stiff,” said Cafro. “So we wanted to have a good start at the Mint and that meant getting a finish here. We accomplished that. We always want to be on the podium, but we really came into this round not wanting a DNF. We drove a little more cautiously than we should have, but we needed just to get through this one.”
The finish will put him on the fourth line at the start of the Mint 400. Known as “America’s Off Road Race,” the Mint is always a highlight of the desert racing calendar.
“This puts us in a solid starting place for the Mint 400,” said Cafro. “That’s a big race to be running up front in clean air. The Mint can become very overwhelming if you’re back there in the dust. We’ll have to change our strategy and drive a little harder there, and that should put us up front at the end.”
The Blackhills UTVs team welcomed Elka Suspension as the teams title sponsor this year, which continues his two decades relationship with Elka and Maxxis Tires. They also made the switch to Fuel OffRoad Wheels for this season and will be running Bikeman Performance exhaust components this year in both the 2018 BITD and SCORE series
“Elka is really stepping up with us this year,” said Cafro. “Maxxis still a huge part of our program. We’ve been with Maxxis for close to 20 years now. Fuel is one of our big sponsors. We made the big decision to change wheel companies, but they made it easy for me. They make a nice forged wheel and it’s a really good setup. Bikeman Performance came on board this year with their exhaust. Their turbo exhaust system is the best out there. We should have a good 2018 season.”
The Blackhills UTV team will be going for the podium at the 50th Mint 400, and they will be showcasing a brand new wrap on his Polaris RZR XP 4 Turbo. The Mint is being held March 9-11 in Las Vegas, Nevada.