Here’s Mud in Your Eye!

Parker 425

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It’s been 5 years since we started racing with BITD.  Parker is the first race we ever finished and each race has something new to teach us.  We are going to drive our old black truck.  It is the only truck in the 7200 Class with leaf springs, a completely stock engine, and a five speed trans.

We started the race 17th out of 20 racers.  We had our pit crew staged at Pit 1 for a check over then they went off to Midway.  The truck was running well but the rear shock seemed very stiff, we couldn’t keep the rear end down.  Around mile marker 70 our fuel problem was back but now we know that is the new foam in the fuel cell that was still breaking down and clogging the filter.  After a quick service we were off again.

I was trying to keep off the brakes to keep the front end up to give us a little more up travel… that was the wrong choice.  As I entered the wash around mile marker 130 there was a double down hill roller.  I stuffed the front wheel into the second jump and broke off the front wheel then finished it off by plowing the truck into a 6′ high sand berm.  Stewart was the first one out of the truck and he thought we were done.  After digging the front end out and seeing what was broken I thought we could fix it.  So Stewart started digging out a work area under the truck and I started walking to the paved road about a mile to the chase crew.  Once I got there I picked up about 20 lbs of tool and 2 ball joints and walked back.  When I got back Stewart was ready, he dug the one entire side of the truck out.  We were ready to fix the truck but had to be very careful because we were still on the race track and every time someone came into the wash there we were!  About 45 minutes later we were off and racing again.  We approached the paved road at full speed and Butch was there with our pit crew to cheer us on.

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It had been raining for a couple of hours and our rain gear was ruined from laying under the truck in the sand and mud.  I didn’t know what time it was but it was dark enough to put on the light bar.  After a Diet Coke, a little gas, and some dry rags we were ready to go swimming again.  It started raining very hard and we couldn’t see.  The Parker Pumper was wet and there was no air flow so we started fogging up.  Stewart was driving and had to run with his visor up.  The rain hurt every time it hit his face, probably because the rain was mixed with sand from our front tires.  We were still moving but not very fast.  The rain came up and over the truck out of every dip in the rain.  Some uphill roads were complete rivers.  We were both soaking wet and the only thing keeping us warm were our helmets.  My legs were still dry under my suit but as soon as I got out of the truck to check on something all the water from the top of my fire suit drained down my legs!

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We were trying to make it to Midway again on the second lap but at mile marker 80 the electrical system went down and the alternator and batteries were dead.  We didn’t waste anytime  and I called IRC.  At first I only asked for a tow off the race course.  After a half hour of sitting in 40 degree weather and soaked to the skin for 10 hours we were very cold.  I called IRC back and declared an emergency.  IRC was very helpful and the Best in the Desert recovery crew were right on time.  They offered us jackets and a ride in their truck while they helped other drivers.

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We did not give up.  We pushed our truck as far as it could go… maybe next year!

Many thanks to our crew;  Jeff, Kurt, Curtis, and Butch.  And a special thanks to IRC and the BITD recovery crew.

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