Editor’s note: Jack Olliges is all of ten years old, but he’s got racing in his blood. His father, Steve Olliges, has over 30 class wins and seven championship titles across the SCORE International and Best in the Desert racing series. It was only natural that Jack would want to get in on the action when an opportunity to race with his dad came up at the Laughlin Desert Classic.
My race started at the Off Road Expo. Donald with Best in the Desert told my dad about a new class for UTVs. I did not think that my dad was actually going to let me race, but when we got back from the Expo, he started calling everybody to see if we could get all the parts here in time: new 32” BFGoodrich® tires — the first things to show up!; lights; a clutch; the shocks back from Fox; window nets; and a race suit. We only had about 10 days. That’s when I realized this might actually happen!
We left for Laughlin on Wednesday, and that’s when the last of the parts showed up. We went down and I saw my RZR for the first time all put together. I think it’s the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. Then, it was the drivers meeting a couple hours before the race. It started sinking in that I was actually going to do this, and it made me nervous.
We got back to the pits and we got pictures, had a team meeting, and then we got into the car to drive over to the staging area. We got in line for the race — I was really nervous at that point. When we went to the start line, I almost couldn’t breathe because of how nervous I was. But when I started, all that went away. The first lap was really slow because our GPS was not really working. We stopped in the pit after the first lap to inspect the car. It was all good and we went back out and my dad was still in the car. We went way faster the second lap because I knew the course better. We got back to the pits and did a co-driver change and headed back into the infield.
There was a bad whoop section, and I was all the way on the right to go slower and not break the car. Someone from behind got squirrelly and went over my back tire and broke my trailing arm and took us out of the race. I was kind of bummed that happened, as I was really looking forward to hitting that gravity cavity again and driving in the rain. I was just getting comfortable! But I was still so happy that I got to race. That was the most fun thing I have ever done. We had no problems at all with any of the parts we put on, just my broken trailing arm. I hope that we can race the next race and go for the finish.
Photographs courtesy Team Ford / Bink Designs.