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2023 Season

  • TX4 Cross Country, Rd 1

  • STORR Revenge 200

TX4 Cross Country 
Round 1

A rough start...  Entering a new type of race, a "cross country" race, also know as woods racing, we were faced a with shorter, and tighter course.  These races run to time, determined by class, as opposed to a fixed distance as we're used to in desert racing.

The crew behind this series, Terry Deck and the many others, are a great group.  They put on races that are well organized, well prepared, and most hospitable.  They made sure everyone got to see the course.  

At double the weight, and half again the height of the competing 450cc sport quads, and without the space to pin the throttle, it is a new level of challenging to wrestle a 4x4 quad around tighter courses with tackier surfaces.  Where the quad will slide sideways, expanding its footprint to aid stability in the loose and loose-over-hard desert terrain, it will grab in the harder clay-ridden, and tacky central Texas dirt.  On multiple occasions the inside wheels lifted off the surface when trying to retain speed in corners.  There was a lot of forcing bodyweight around to force the quad into compliance, and hasty braking to try and pivot ever harder around terrain features in the course.

Towards the end of the last lap within the 70 minute runtime for the Pro 4x4 class, exiting a left-into-dip leading into a right-over-crest, crossing a dry creek bed.  I cut the apex a little too tightly, sending the front right wheel up the berm at the course edge, throwing the quad into leftward roll and me directly into the dirt.  The quad passed over my head, the shell of my helmet making an audible crunch, before coming to rest on it's right-hand side.

The next racer to pass by helped me right the quad, and made sure it started and I got back on it before proceeding and alerting staff as he passed scoring.  The fastest way off the course was the last bit to the finish where staff awaited and the medic, Scotty, a certified pro in his field, was already en route with his kit.

Here are Scotty's words on what he saw...

"As a race medic and former racer, I'm constantly assessing safety gear and apparel. I didn't know Preston before his accident, but the one thing I noticed was all of his Leatt gear he had on at the start of the race. It wasn't just that it looked good and was color coordinated, it's that I felt like he was one of the few ATV racers I saw that day that really had it dialed in.

We refer to traumatic impacts as "mechanisms of injury." Preston's was significant. I can unequivocally say that had he not had his chest protector, knee braces, neck brace, goggles, boots, gloves and especially helmet, he most likely wouldn't be here today.

His helmet took such a hard crushing impact and truly did what it's designed to do: Protect the rider/racer's head & face.

After attending Preston and making sure that he got to the hospital, I did a little research about Leatt. I think his helmet was a Leatt moto 8.5 composite.  Some of the shell was removed from the crushing weight and it appeared to be composite. The helmet felt very light but sturdy.  The helmet itself maintained its shape integrity. Anyway what I'm trying to say is that I'm now a fan of Leatt!


I'm also now a fan of Preston!  His injuries were significant but he remained calm, and I believe that he remains here on this wonderful planet to ride again because of (Leatt's) fantastic quality and product integrity."

Scott Hardy

Firefighter ESD2

Race Medic

Given that I did technically finish the lap, I still took home 3rd!  Or, rather, took 3rd to the hospital, as it were.

The staff at the hospital, the local trauma center nearest home, told the rest of the story.  Three internal facial fractures, and some scrapes and bruises.  A few days of uneventful observation, and I was headed back home with some odd sounding instructions to avoid any increase in cranial pressure.  No sneezing!  That is harder than you'd think.  Everyone at the hospital was outstanding.  They answered all my curious questions, and made the stay as pleasant as it could be.  Those in the medical profession, at all levels, are truly something else, in the best possible way.  

Again, a thousand times, THANK YOU!  All present were massively helpful in the face of all that happened.  Especially Scott!  Also, I'd be remiss not to thank my wife and family who came to pick me up and get the whole race rig back home.  

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2023 STORR MX Independence 250

Back in the saddle!  This time with a crew chief!  Jonathan came along and made a world of difference!  

In addition with helping with repairs to the quad after the season's rough start, he was on time and on target with all sorts of help that I was near impossible to fit in while running solo.  We also used the downtime to being making some tweaks that should serve well when we return to the woods in the '24 season.  From pre-running, through pre-race prep, racing and pitting, and post race inspections.  We were able to capture tons of useful information that we're using to improve the quad so we can run harder for longer. 

It is always nice to be back in my hometown desert, especially being the first race since a wreck.

Pre-running went well.  It was the first real use, in the field, of new GPS systems.  We were able to take better course notes.  It felt good to be back on the quad.  The whole STORR crew laid out a good course that was well marked and had a good mix of features.  I've never had a bad time on one of their courses.

On race day, the prep was smoother than ever.  Jonathan handled the quad, while I suited up once again, and went to the driver's meeting.  Ever present in my mind was the old saying, "to finish first, you must first finish."

In the first lap, the emphasis was on getting a good feel for the course at race pace and staying focused on the quad and myself.  I made a quick courtesy pit to check in with Jonathan, gave an "all good" and carried on.

In the second lap, I had found some sections where I felt I could pick up the pace, some right-sized whoops, sweeping turns, and of course the "go like hell" straights.  I carefully did so as much as visibility allowed.  Building trust in those sections, I was preparing for a hard charge in the next lap.  Stopping for fuel at the end of the 2nd lap, I was beginning to feel the strain of it all.  I told Jonathan I'd next see him after the finish.

The third and final lap, the home stretch...  I set out to get all I could out of the quad and myself.  Fully familiarized with hazards, etc. braking as needed to keep things together, and going like hell as soon as entering those sections.  There was a checkpoint about two-thirds of the way down the longest straight on the course, and keeping by speed through a brief moment of reduced visibility through some brush, and seeing them waving me through, I buzzed the tower at around 72 MPH before making a smooth entry into the next turn.  Knowing how may miles were left, I kept pace until passing pit lane.  I entered the final section, a last loop past the start/finish that returns to the area through three progressively larger jumps. 


A relatively easy send over the first, setting up for a moderate send the second, into a left hairpin and, as is tradition, a full send off the last, before kicking the tail out in a sharp right... and across the line!  All with the rubber side downward, even when it was a few feet off the ground.

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