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By: Robert Janis

Preparation, Experience Help Afraidium Racing Win SCORE Points Championship for 2008

Preparation and experience were pivotal reasons why Afraidium Racing won the SCORE Points Championship for 2008 in the UTV category.

The team includes Mark Lindsay, Phil Holdsworth ,and John Crowley. Lindsay and Holdsworth raced the Baja 500 and 1000 on a Polaris RZR UTV Side-By-Side. Crowley raced the 1000 on a dirtbike. Jason Spiess and Derek Tungmala were co-drivers and our chase posse consisted of Todd Douglas, Rob Martin, Jess Maier, Torsten Palm, and Brian Slaughter.

The group started racing the SCORE Series events three years ago. “When we decided to do Baja racing, we started off racing a quad,” said Lindsay. Slowly Lindsay and Holdsworth moved into a UTV--the Polaris RZR. “It is a first generation RZR,” said Lindsay. “I purchased one of the first ones offered in June, 2007.”

They moved into UTV racing because of age and safety. “I’m 41,” said Lindsay. “So I was looking for a safer ride that would assure that I didn’t get beat up like I do riding a quad. You could say I am following the old adage of Ivan Stewart, ‘With age comes the cage.’”

He hired Mag Seven to provide him with fuel and other pit services. “They’ve been fantastic,” he said. “Not only do they have fuel, they also have parts, tools, and guys to help out. I am confident that every 55 miles there is the Mag crew.” The rest of the crew was filled in by friends who volunteer to help.

Uses Pre-Run to Strategize

Lindsay and Holdsworth have a lot of experience racing in the desert. They have not only participated in the SCORE Baja Series events for the last three years, they also race in Best of the Desert events including Vegas to Reno. As a result, Lindsay knows how to read the terrain and determine what areas could offer problems.  Also, it helps him determine the best locations for the pit crew and what parts to carry for possible repairs.

According to Lindsay they first strategize using a map of the course, but the map doesn’t really provide enough information. They make preliminary decisions, and then they rely heavily on the pre-run to finalize things.

“You could look at the map and see that there is a road that is accessible for a chase crew to run down. And the map is right, it is accessible, but you need to look at that road at the pre-run to determine its condition. It could be sandy and whooped out. It could be a real nasty road, and you can see that it is not a good place to swap out drivers and depend on a pit crew to travel through. So the pre-run gives us the chance to select the best accessible roads for the chase crew and for swapping out.”

The pre-run can also help to prepare a whole lot more. “You can see the condition of the course and think about the potential weaknesses of the vehicle,” continued Lindsay. “The conditions could make it a high possibility that you could, say, break an axle at a particular section of the race. You would want a chase crew with an axle close to that area. You have limited resources. You can’t bring every part with you. So you are going to have to manage things. You do that by observing and using your experience.”

Many racing teams have three or four participants who share in the driving. In this case, only Lindsay and Holdsworth do the driving. Of course, some may think that a racing team consisting of only two drivers could be at a disadvantage to a team with three or more drivers. But Lindsay says that there is no disadvantage. “It is an individual thing,” he said. “It is about what you can mentally handle. The important thing is to keep your wits about you, make good calls and good judgments. If you’re at a point where you are fatigued, then that is a good time to switch out; that’s an individual thing.”

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