United States (03/01/2019-03/03/2019) – Polaris RZR driver, John Barnes started the year off putting the hours in on the trail and on the road. Barnes and the Yokley Racing Team left Nashville, TN on March 1st with three Polaris RZR’s to race the season openers at three events in different parts of the country including Pro UTV, IXCR, and AXCC. Co-Pilot, John Cripps was on board for the challenge to be a part of each event riding shotgun.
Barnes and co-pilot, John Cripps started the weekend off on Saturday morning at the Pro UTV cross country event at the Dirty Turtle presented by Polaris in Bedford, KY. He started off strong racing 2 laps till an oil seal in the turbo on the S 1000 let loose and lost the oil in the engine. Barnes commented, “The racetrack had fast sections in it and several hill climbs. The ruts were deep. All our hard components held up very well. It was our first time running the STI Roctane X2 and couldn’t be happier with the performance. We made most our passes on hill climbs because our tires hooked up better.”
As soon as Barnes came off the track, the team loaded up immediately to head to Attica, IN for Round 1 of the IXCR at the Badlands. At the IXCR, the team did something that only a few in the industry have done thus far. They broadcasted live the event on Facebook from onboard inside the RZR.
Barnes would take the holeshot at the event and lead the field into the woods. The team would battle to finish third. The RZR of choice for the event was a natural aspirated Polaris RZR S 1000. Barnes commented, “People are always impressed when we can take a naturally aspirated car and compete with turbo machines. It opens eyes to the capability of a RZR designed for tighter trail riding such as the S 1000.
The Polaris RZR/Yokley Racing team would finish the day on the IXCR podium in third. No rest for the weary! It was time to head on an overnight trip to Texas to race the AXCC season opener. There were only a few hours to spare on the 16 hour journey to make the next event. To make things more challenging, a snow storm was in the forecast. They were calling for 8 inches in the Oklahoma area, and it would be there waiting on them. The team had to battle through it and at times visibility was almost at zero. They arrived at the AXCC at 11am with a start time of 1 pm.
On the starting line, Barnes noticed the XP Turbo was running hot. Team mechanic, Jeffrey Woodard jumped on the task and fixed the radiator fan in record time. Barnes was off moments later to a mid pack start.
Barnes commented, “It was stressful to get to the event. I was at a maximum stress when our machine was overheating on the starting line. Once I got settled in on the first lap, I was able to overcome the issues before the start and the incredible soreness I was filling all over my body.”
He would charge hard and make his way into the top 5 before experiencing belt failure. The team still managed a 6th place finish and a nice race earnings from the event. Barnes added, “We didn’t get the start we wanted. The racetrack was really one lined. It seemed every step forward we made would lead to a step backwards in terms of a bottleneck. We kept charging and made our way into the top 5. On the last lap, we experienced belt failure, and had to change it. We would fight back to finish 6th in the XC-1 Pro class.
The team will be making progress in the Research and Development of their Polaris RZR’s from what they’ve learned over the long weekend. Overall, the team is very happy with their performance and have results to show for it.