Sean Cook Race Recap of VORRA Hawthorne 250

| September 14, 2009 | 1 Comment

Vorra H250By Charlene Bower

I ran into the FabTech Rhino at the Contingency for the VORRA Hawthorne 250 race last Saturday. A long, hard desert race was in store for this Rhino the next day. With a green flag waving, they took off and I saw them pass me a couple times where I was stationed at Pit 1. They checked in with me last week, and this is what Sean Cook had to say…

Well the night before the race I had a bad feeling about our change from the mechanical fuel pump to the electric fuel pump (in the Rhino) so at about 8pm we changed back to the mechanical and for good reasons which I will detail in a moment.

Vorra H250 1Sunday morning came and the Fabtech, Maxxis Tires, KC Lights, Optima Battery, Painless Wiring, OMF sponsored Rhino was raring to go. We left the line in last place and within a few miles we made our way around quite a few cars. The first 15 miles was some of the most brutal terrain we have ever taken the little Rhino on but she was true to her Fabtech form and we made it through rock gardens that most bigger vehicles struggled with. Our first lap was pretty uneventful, we were pretty busy getting comfortable in the car and basically finding our groove. At the end of lap one we noticed a tear in our rear CV boot and with some very quick thinking by the crew they made some repairs and kept us moving.

Headed into Pit 1

Headed into Pit 1

We started noticing a problem with the car – when we ran wide open the rpm’s would max out then drop off, then come back on again, this coincided with the red light coming on for the overheating issue we were starting to experience. On the second lap we stopped at the BFG pro-pit where we had to duct tape the CV boot and off we went. At check 3 we stopped added fluid to the radiator and a little more grease and we were gone again.

Vorra H250 3A little different scenario began to unfold through the silt bed from the previous lap, our temp gauge lit up and this time did not go off. I tried to maneuver the mighty Rhino out of the silt and into some cleaner flowing air but it just wouldn’t cool. My co-driver Brendan (my son) and I made the decision that we would continue on to the main pit, but the motor had a different idea. We ran as long as we could but just before visual B (about 3 miles from the main pit) the mighty Rhino took it’s last breath. When she stopped she started smoking quite heavily so we quickly evacuated the car and discovered all the oil had left the motor and was now residing all over the back of the car.

Vorra H250 4Our day had ended, but not before some valuable lessons were learned: first of all always go with your gut feeling, the fuel pump earlier mentioned would have been catastrophic if we had left the electric one on, we burned the fuel filter off the car so when the motor stopped so did the mechanical pump, if we had kept the electric one on it would have kept pumping fuel onto the hot oil….need I say more? As for the RPM’s dropping off, I believe that was the computer sensing the coolant temp rising and therefore sending the motor into a safe mode, when the car cooled RPM’s came back up. Finally our Monday morning forensics of the car indicate we blew a head gasket a couple of races ago and have been trying to compensate ever since.

We have a new motor on the way from our good friend and partner Ron and once again the mighty Rhino will roam the desert again. Thanks for an outstanding job by the 5150 Racing Team you guys did a great job. Thanks to the VORRA crew for putting on a very challenging race….and to all the Rhino’s and other UTV teams you really need to take a good look at this racing series, very challenging for a fraction of the cost of the other series.

Thanks to all,
Sean Cook
5150 Racing
BITD #1930
VORRA #1930

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Category: Race Recap, Yamaha

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