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Keyscrete UTV Rally Raid Season At A Glance

August 15, 2016

The UTV Rally Raid series in the Southeast is totally different than the short course and desert racing series many of DragonFire drivers compete in. First off, these 4 hour endurance events are held in the woods. Secondly they also have a unique day/night split format. What remains the same is that sponsored racers Jimmy Keys and Russell Griffin are out there #MakingMemories!

Driving styles may differ but the DNA is the same for all DragonFire champions. “The Keyscrete RZR actually has more DragonFire product on it than just about any other racer we sponsor,” notes DragonFire Racing Operations Manager Brice Ginn. “It even has an old cage we built a few years ago.” 


Because of busted ribs, the 2014 UTV Rally Raid champ was unable to start the season in the driver's seat (he had to sit out The Mint 400, too). But his co-driver Russell didn't miss a beat, doing both legs of the uniquely formatted event.


As is the case with all UTV Rally Raids, the race started at 5:01pm to allow for 2 hours of daylight/2 hours of darkness race format. “Overall the track was in great shape other than dusty,” says Russell. “The weather report was calling for rain which never materialized so the water truck had to play catch up. We really enjoy racing in the dust, so it was no problem.

The latter laps proved just how tough DragonFire suspension parts are, as the track definitely deteriorated in the darkness. “Our car had a total of 1.2 miles on it at the start of the race,” adds Jimmy. “We were very nervous about not having any testing prior to this event, however since none of the driveline or engine components had any major modifications were confident we could finish the race.”


A proven set-up and Russell's solid performance kept the Keyscrete team in contention the whole race. “We ran the identical setup last year other than new ZBros Exit shocks. Our new shocks worked fairly well but they are going to need some tuning to eliminate a bottom out condition,” notes Griffin. “Thank goodness we had the DragonFire GT seat to take up the slack!”


One problem we are going to address is fuel consumption. The Turbo uses about 30% more fuel and we have to pit every four laps. A fuel cell will be installed before the next race, which should allow us to only fuel up once in the four hours.


UTV Rally Raid events are always very fun and fast, and this one was no different. “We were pleased to stay in the top three cars all day, and are extremely happy with the performance of the new car,” says Keys. “As we entered the later laps, the track began to deteriorate and slowed us down some, but we are happy to pull out a second place, against some very talented drivers.” When the checkers finally flew after four hours, Team Keyscrete finished 2nd in Pro Unlimited class 2nd overall.  


“We both would like to say a huge ‘Thank You’ to everybody at DragonFire for the awesome products and support!,” says Jimmy. “As always, the UTVRR staff put on a great event, and we are looking forward to returning for the April race.  


Overview: Round 2 UTV Rally Raid 2016


April showers bring May flowers… and they also screw up the best laid plans of mice and men. “More than 3 inches of rain the night before caused the race to be extremely muddy,” notes Jimmy. “There were very few spots in the track where mud and water didn’t cause problems.”


Clutch problems and sloppy conditions meant running at less than RacePace. “To be honest the race felt like a 4 hour wet trail ride,” he says. It was evident from the onset that this was going to be a survival race. “The first lap I went through 20 tear offs, 3 screen savers, and 2 microfiber towels. There were many sections that I had to idle through mud holes just to preserve my vision.”


In addition to having to pit every other lap to get the radiator flushed out, a couple of flat font tires slowed the team down. “Deep mud and flat tires don’t mix well,” ruefully says Jimmy. 


“We spent all morning testing getting the clutch to work correctly. We got it close but it will still needs some more testing. We had a huge problem with overheating due to mud building up in the radiator. I have ordered an ABF fabrication radiator relocation kit that will be installed before the next race. Our ZBroz suspension was difficult to tell if Double E racing’s tune made any difference due to the conditions but we feel confident we are going in the right direction.


“Over all it was a long race but as usual we had a great time” adds Jimmy. Finish Position: 3rd in Pro Unlimited class. The next UTV Rally Raid race is set for September 17th in Shreveport, Louisiana. In the meantime Jimmy and Russell will be trying their luck in Vegas again. After finishing top DragonFire team at The Mint 400, they are hoping to cash in on the BITD Vegas To Reno Race in August as a "warm up" (the Nevada desert in August should be plenty warm). Good luck guys!


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