On the return visit to Elk River Motor Park, Gabe Johnson and the #725 ARMOR Steel and Metal Maxxis Tire Vision Wheel Polaris were looking to have a repeat performance of the team’s June Round 3 second place finish. Early in the weekend it looked like the team would find its way back to the podium, but issues throughout the weekend kept the first year racer racing hard among the middle of the pack.
Racing began on Friday due to the postponement of the original Round 4 date due to severe weather back in June. The first time Gabe Johnson raced at the .9 mile natural terrain track, the ARMOR Steel and Metal Maxxis Tire Vision Wheel Polaris finished a very solid second place. Since then it’s been a roller coaster season for the racer from Felch, Michigan.
Friday’s Round 4 ten lap race saw Johnson starting on the front row. Once racing began the #725 Polaris was running in the top three when the UTV caught a rut midway through Turn Two putting the RZR on its roof. When the UTV was righted, Johnson attempted to rejoin the race. Unfortunately, Gabe realized the front drive was not working so the call was made to end the race early and regroup for Saturday.
Back in the pit, Gabe and his dad found the fluid level in the front drive to be low enough for the UTVs electronic control unit to disconnect the front drive. The extended time upside down allowed fluid to drain out the front drive breather. The issue was an easy fix and the race car was ready for Saturday before the dinnertime.
Saturday’s regularly scheduled Round 13 had the red and black UTV starting in the second row. When green flag racing began the Johnson just didn’t have the race pace of the some of the front runners. Undaunted Gabe Johnson pressed on learning new lines around the track to finish the day in eighth position.
The season finale saw a similar result as with Gabe Johnson finishing in tenth. For the season the ARMOR Steel and Metal Maxxis Tire Vision Wheel team completed the TORC Series presented by AMSOIL Sportsman UTV division in seventh place.
“Our season started strong, but as the season went forward we has a few issues,” noted team manager and Gabe’s father, Paul Johnson. “Our race car was built with safety in mind and I know we are heavier than most of our competition. It also looks like the other UTV brand in its stock form is quicker than ours. So we have plenty of work to do this winter. Throughout the season Gabe was really working hard trying to get faster every time out. More than a few times he found himself in the wrong spot at the wrong time and got caught up in another driver’s mistake. This first season will only make our program better for 2018. We have to thank ARMOR Steel and Metal, Maxxis Tire, Vision Wheel and all our partners for supporting our team. We will be back next year better than ever.”
Gabe Johnson would like to thank the team’s marketing partners including:
Armor Steel and Metal, Vision Wheels, Super ATV, Chad Hord Racing, Maxxis, Race-Driven, Iron Mountain Powersports, Midway Rentals, R&R Tires, and Bikeman Performance.
– Mike Reusche, words
– Race One, pics