Muenster, TX (4/11/2018) – Shawn Hess teamed up with co-driver, Blake Knabe, and finished eighth in the Short course Production 1000 class during the Best in the Desert UTV World Championship. Driving a Yamaha YXZ 1000 fully customized for racing in this special desert race event.
“Short course” was a bit of a misnomer as the event was held on the same 17-mile loop used for the desert race, with three laps on tap instead of nine. After starting on the fourth row, Hess was passing cars throughout the event in what turned into a trouble-free race for the team.
“We’ve been going to the UTV World Championship since day one,” said Hess. “It has grown every race, and we look forward to it every year. We had a good pace all day and we were picking people off every lap. We used a navigation system for the first time and it worked out phenomenally, especially in the dust.”
While usually setup to run in the tight confines of GNCC races, Hess’ Yamaha was completely rebuilt for this race. Suspension, tires and wheels are only some of the changes needed to ensure competitiveness in the harsh environment.
“The Yamaha platform is such a great car,” said Hess. “We set up the car with 30-inch tires to give us more ground clearance and put on a long-travel suspension, giving it a wider stance. The Elka shocks worked great and the Maxxis Ceros tires worked great. The Tire Balls definitely kept us from getting any flats.”
Desert racing is as much about survival as it is about speed. With a good foundation in the Yamaha, Hess had to drive smart to avoid the many obstacles that could easily have taken him out of competition.
“The race was brutal,” explained Hess. “It was fun, but the Proving Grounds just seem to get rougher and rougher every year. You have to pick some smart lines through there and the competition is stiff. There is really no margin for error.”
The team races in large part to test its wide array of UTV racing products. Hess Motorsports makes many different race ready parts for all brands of the off-road machines.
“The race gives us a good chance to meet up with our West Coast customers,” said Hess. “We always need feedback so we can make our products better so it’s important for us to put faces with names and speak directly to our customers.”
The UTV World Championship’s growth over the last four years demonstrates how well the sport of UTV racing is doing. Hess enjoyed the overall vibe of the event and he’s bullish on the future of UTVs.
“UTV Underground puts on one heck of an event in the desert,” said Hess. “You couldn’t ask for a better atmosphere. It also shows the direction the sport is going. It was an awesome event.”
Hess Motorsports will return to GNCC competition when the series heads to Camp Coker Bullet at Moree’s Sportsman’s Preserve in Society Hill, SC. That race is scheduled for April 21-22.