Any who’s ever taken a green flag knows that racing has it’s ups and downs.
Wildcat racer/tuner Alex Fortune checks in with a great recap of the 2016 TORC off-road race in Crandon, Wis., where he and Speedwerx teammate Jeremy Houle experienced the highs and lows of tough off-road competition:
We left Speedwerx Wednesday afternoon, following the Semi we would pit out of due to the recent sponsor acquisition of Geek squad, Trend Micro and McGuire Motorsports. Once we got to the track Jeremy [Houle, Speedwerx] checked us in, we setup the pit and got everything ready for the weekend ahead.
Thursday was filled with Tech and three practice sessions. After each practice session we changed the shocks out, had them re-valved/sprung to get our setup dialed in with the help of Fox’s on-site suspension services.
We made some minor fueling and supercharger changes, washed the Wildcat, checked all the fluids and we were ready for the big day (and by big day I don’t mean the races but the annual Crandon race-day parade)!
Friday Morning we arrived at Crandon International raceway early and made sure the car was shined up and polished up. I changed wheels/tires out to a fresh set of Raceline wheels and Maxxis tires and at 8:30 the parade procession left the speedway and headed to downtown Crandon.
The city of Crandon puts on one heck of a parade! Afterwards we spent the rest of our day going over the Wildcat with a fine tooth comb, swapping out hubs, axles, and a brake rotor I found that was slightly bent and would rub on the pads on each revolution. After nearly doubling the Wildcat’s base horsepower (Supercharging, baby!), we wanted to be sure we were dealing with fresh components to make sure we had no driveline issues nor any drag from wear items.
Saturday morning…Qualifying is based off lap times rather then position, so from the time you cross the start/finish line you have two laps to give it your all. In typical Houle fashion, Jeremy did just that!
He came back in we pulled the shocks for another calibration change and went over everything to race. We went to line up in staging and you could just feel the excitement in the air. The Pro stock UTV class was on the line, the stands packed full and I dont think there was a single spot to sit in the grass on the hillside facing the track. They do what is called a land rush start: you’re in a line across the starting line the flag waves and the cars takeoff – turn one of crandon is notorious for carnage, the Pro2/4 trucks are full speed by this corner and are fighting for real estate that is 4 maybe 5 trucks wide. Its a goosebump situation for a start.
When the green flag waved the Speedwerx-Geeksquad-Trend Micro-Mcguire racing Wildcat absolutely hauled the mail, coming into turn one 6th from the far outside. There was no indication that the Wildcat was anything but full-gas for the first two laps, with Jeremy quickly making his way up to 4th.
After a quick battle Jeremy moved into 3rd and a caution came out. After the restart Jeremy said that the car felt like it was starving for fuel when going around left hand turns, falling on its face each occasion. This would cause him to drop back significantly and end the race in 7th place.
When we looked the car over we pulled the fuel pump out and realized that on the left hand corners all the fuel moved away from the direction of the pickup so the minimal fuel we were running wasn’t enough to keep the pump submerged. We worked late into the night making adjustments in suspension, supercharger pulleys and general maintenance to be ready to shoot for that top 3 in Sundays Redbull World cup.
Sunday…we went out for practice and Jeremy felt good car felt good so we just went over maintenance items checked everything over and we were ready for the afternoons race. Our field was stacked with RZR turbos, and a YXZ turbo that was quite powerful.
Jeremy had a great line position. When the green flag waved the Speedwerx horsepower roosted serious grass pattys down the landrush start until what we had feared all weekend happened: someone had gotten turned sideways and everyone counter steered to avoid them causing someone to hit our Wildcat’s rear wheels and causing Jeremy to lift to try to avoid any mishaps. Of course this allowed a bunch of cars by, but Jeremy didn’t let that stop him as he put it back to the floor and charged.
He worked his way up through the field and, when he backed-off following a caution flag, I noticed a small amount of smoke come from the back side of the machine. As the field took off on the restart something definitely had happened and the car was smoking every-time he put the peddle to the floor. Knowing this Jeremy pulled off so he didn’t cause a caution and watched from the sidelines as the field finished out their few laps that remained.
On further inspection we noticed that we had lost the rear base gasket. We were running a fairly high amount of boost (enough to warrant race fuel) and the stock head bolts didn’t hold up to that level of boost. a simple fix and we are ready for the next race.
Looking back on our weekend we learned so much on race setup, on the wildcats full potential (that is severely overlooked) and we know going into 2017 that with new products on the horizon from Arctic Cat we are going to be on top for next years TORC season.
We couldn’t have done what we did without the help of some amazing people and companies – Speedwerx, Geeksquad, Trend Micro , Mcguire motorsports, Arctic Cat, Frattalone racing, D&P performance, Fox shocks, Raceline wheels, Img Motorsports, Dragonfire racing, Dynojet, Western Powersports, And Fly Racing. A special thank you to Chris Evans and Dean Bulloch for all of their help when building the machine.
Pro UTV Mod
Satuday Qualifying: 7th
Saturday Race: 7th
Sunday Race: DNF
Specs on the machine:
Motor: Stock internals, Speedwerx Procharger setup , powercommander V with autotune and POD 300 interface; Speedwerx spec CP 10:1 forged pistson, Speedwerx cams, Speedwerx stage 3 heads with valve train upgrade, and 8200 rev limit ECU
Exhaust: Speedwerx L2 muffler, Speedwerx header.
Suspension: Fox RC2 Factory Series Shocks
Wheels: Raceline single beadlocks
Tires: Maxxis Bighorns.
Seat: Lajoie custom race seat
Doors: Custom fabricated
Roll Cage: IMG motorsports
Harnesses: Dragonfire Racing
Number plates: Dragonfire racing
Other then that the car is stock , Many things have been removed to lighten the car up significantly, With Dealers selling the wildcat in the 13-14k range you can have a supercharged car for 20k vs a rzr’s 26k price tag. Pretty impressive performance at a reasonable price!
Thanks for reading!