Ontario, Calif. - ITP desert racers won the two premier classes, including a sweep in the new UTV Turbo class, at the Best In The Desert opener in Parker, AZ.
Justin Lambert (Cognito Motorsports/Polaris) was the top finishing side-by-side and won the UTV Pro Production class at the BITD Parker 250. The next three vehicles to reach the BITD finish line were all running ITP UltraCross R Spec tires in the UTV Turbo Production class, giving ITP a clean sweep and the top four overall finishers at the opening round.
"Our racers continue to prove the made-in-the-USA ITP UltraCross R Spec tire is the choice for serious desert racing and recreation,” said Rhett Turpin, ITP Director of Sales. “Not only did we win both the BITD Pro and Unlimited classes last year, we started the 2016 season with two huge class wins, taking the UTV Production and UTV Turbo class wins. Justin Lambert, who came in a close second a year ago, is very determined and his overall and UTV Production class victory proves it. The new UTV Turbo class will surely be exciting if the podium sweep is indicative of what's to come."
The opening leg of the 2016 Best In The Desert series kicked off with the THR Motorsports Parker 250 in Parker, AZ. The round included motorcycles and ATVs in one grouping and UTVs in another group. Fifty-four cars started the round, but only 42 reached the finish line.
Lambert and co-pilot Mitchell Alsup, in the No. 1918 Cognito Motorsports/Polaris RZR XP1K outfitted with 8-ply, 30-inch ITP UltraCross R Spec tires, won the overall at the Parker 250 and also took the class victory in the 1900 Pro Production (non-turbo) class. They finished with a two-lap time of 3:05:04.786 to earn not only the win, but also score 105 points in their chase for a series championship. Lambert, who finished in the runner-up spot to fellow ITP racer Johnny Angal by only a few points a year ago, slashed another tally mark on the side of his Hellraiser XP1K after posting his third BITD victory in less than a year.
ITP racers tallied another class win at the Parker 250, as Can-Am/S3 Racing team of Dustin Jones and Shane Dowden earned the win in the new UTV Turbo class in Arizona. Jones and Dowden, with their second straight class win in BITD action, continue to prove that two racers from Louisiana can more than hang with the desert diehards from the Southwest.
Two other ITP-sponsored teams finished on the UTV Turbo class podium with S3 Racing. Logan Gastel and co-pilot Josh Lucero drove the No. 1969 Racer Tech/Rugged Radios Can-Am Maverick Turbo to a two-lap time of 3:15:16.702, which edged the third-place squad by a little under a minute. Third went to the Murray Brothers and their No. 1917 Can-Am/ITP/Murray Racing Maverick MAX Turbo. Derek and Jason fought hard all day and steadily drove their car to the finish. Their third-place run marked the 39th consecutive time they've reached the finish line during BITD competition.
The ITP BITD teams scored two additional solid finishes in the UTV Turbo class and placed in the top 10 overall. Branden Sims, racing in his home state, finished fifth in his class and seventh overall in the No. 1913 Lonestar Racing/Polaris RZR dressed in ITP tires. Mitch Guthrie (Polaris/Walker Evans Racing) finished in seventh place in the UTV Turbo class and ninth overall.
The next BITD-related event is the Polaris UTV World Championship on Feb. 19-21, in Laughlin, NV.