In off-road racing, it is almost expected to encounter some sort of issue during a race weekend whether presented by the vehicle, driver, crew, terrain, weather or other racers. Not often do stories emerge of the “perfect race.” But, at the 2014 Southern Nevada Off-Road Enthusiasts Battle at Primm, Feb. 22-23, that’s exactly the type of race had by Jon Lee.
The weather was cooperative. The Bilstein #7228 truck had zero issues. The course was challenging, but not destructive or full of obstacles. The crew was poised and ready at all times. And, Lee was focused and never needed to switch drivers.
Lee won’t say that the planets aligned or some higher power had something to do with his unblemished race and winning Class 7 but, rather, that luck may have been on his side.“In a race like BAP, you’re only one problem, one flat tire, one mechanical issue away from being passed and losing the lead,” he said. “It doesn’t matter your skill and experience, amount of preparation, or whether you have the best vehicle in the desert, often it’s those little things that can get you and take you completely out of the running.”
Still, Lee thinks the lack of issues with the truck can also be attributed to his great partners, Bilstein, General Tire, Method Race Wheels and Mark Johnson Race Prep. “The Grabbers did not have a single flat all weekend and they provided just the right amount of traction, the shocks were perfectly set up for this course thanks to Bilstein, and Mark did a great job with the prep like always,” he said.
On day one of BAP, Lee officially started in the last row off the line. Though he bode his time and worked through the crowd cautiously on the first lap, by the second lap, he had overtaken everyone in the class and wouldn’t look back. He charged to a first place finish in a time of 1:14:10. Sunday’s race proved to mirror Saturday in progress as Lee maneuvered his way to the front and maintained the position to the finish in a time of 1:18:01.
For Lee mentally, though, day two of BAP was different. “I pretty much ran Sunday like a scared rabbit because I knew that one mistake meant I would lose what I had built up on Saturday,” he confessed. “Of course, as the race progressed, every noise, every weird little thing that the truck did, I was thinking there was a problem. So, the whole time I was on pins and needles because I knew it could all be lost easily.”
Unfounded worries, of course, as Lee captured the first race of the SNORE season and had a good time doing so. “SNORE put on a great race. The course was great and I liked the layout. Plus, my crew and the friends that came out to support me always make racing more rewarding. I’m hoping we have the same success at the first long race of the season in Ridgecrest in April. This truck runs well on any length course, so I have a feeling we will.”
Photo by Visital