Soulless, methodical machines can't win races alone, they require the heart of a champion to keep them disciplined and directed, and then every so often, it also takes blind faith and unyielding will to get it done. Steve Alexander started first in his Class 5000 buggy at the Best in The Desert Silver State 300, and never looked back, even though his ride threatened to give up the ghost with work still to be done.
Steve Alexander's crucial decisions to press on were the deciding factor in his winning the 2012 BITD Silver State 300.
Alexander and ICON's Sean Kepler ran the first 100 miles together, going from 4,000 up to 7,000 foot elevation, and regardless of what the Silver State 300 course threw at them the car's new expertly tuned suspension soaked it up. The new RC Trans prepped Mendeola transaxle was working flawlessly too. "Owner John Houlton wasn't kidding when he said 'we'll get you in gear,'" remarked Alexander. After two hours and 20 minutes they reached Pit 3, where they got word that the closest competitor was 40 miles behind them.
After topping off the tank and grabbing a clean set of K&N outer foam filters, Gavin Ferguson traded seats with Kepler ready to attack the final 200 miles navigating for Alexander, whose plans were to ironman the 300 mile course.
The next 50 miles were brutal, even by off-road racing standards, with six water crossings and some of the deepest silt beds the 5005 crew had ever seen. Many of the crossings had to be navigated cautiously as they were still littered with stalled and broken race vehicles.
When Alexander and Ferguson arrived at Pit 4 that's when things first started to go slightly amuck. The crew noticed a small crack developing on the front beam. 25 miles further down the road at Pit 5 there was a welder set up and ready to go. Alexander made the decision to push on rather than to wait for a welder to come to them.
Alexander Motorsports is looking to win their third Class 5000 championship in a row at the 2012 BITD Vegas to Reno race in August.
They made it to Pit 5 without losing time and the crack was repaired in the Baja Pits within 10 minutes and they were back in the race. Then, at the 200 mile marker, Ferguson noticed a slight loss in oil pressure; they stopped and added a quart of oil and 10 miles later they arrived at Pit 6 to take more fuel. It was then that the crew realized that the motor had developed a leak and more oil would be needed.
Once again Alexander made the decision to push on. Fifty miles later at Pit 7 the crew added two more quarts of oil, "but the motor was getting tired," commented Alexander later. With only 34 miles to go to the finish Alexander the made the final deciding call- "It's do or die."
With three spare quarts of oil in the car the Alexander Motorsports duo crossed their fingers and hit the gas. Ferguson called out every 10 miles to the crew and Alexander was sweating bullets. The oil pressure dropped dangerously low, to 20 pounds, but with the finish line in site, Alexander hammered down. The decisions to go for it paid off, with a total time of 7 hours and 48 minutes and no flats Alexander Motorsports crossed the finish line scoring their first Best in The Desert victory.
"This is huge for us after coming from SNORE which is a great organization, but BITD is the major leagues, and to win a race here is fantastic and a great boost for the moral of our team," commented Alexander. "It also lets everyone else know that we mean business."
Just how close did Alexander come to seizing the engine in those final miles? "We won't know until we open the motor, but honestly I don't think we could have made another 50 miles."
Next up for Alexander Motorsports is the Vegas to Reno race in August. The 2012 Best in the Desert General Tire Vegas to Reno desert off-road race takes place in Las Vegas, Nevada, traversing the Nevada desert.
"As it stands right now we lead the points for the Championship, so we need to do whatever it takes to hold on to that," said Alexander. "Our goal is to win the championship, making this the third year in a row."
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