UTV off-road racers Sara Price and Erica Sacks are ready to take on their next big challenge to showcase their off-road endurance skills in their factory-sponsored Kawasaki Teryx. The pair have taken on some of the most extreme off-road sporting events, with Sara coming from a professional career in motocross racing, and Sacks from an accomplished gymnastics career and off-road racing and navigation experience to her credit. Together, they have formed one of the most well-known UTV off-road teams, nicknamed the “Teryx Girls”.
Rallye Aïche des Gazelles 2015
Last March, the Teryx Girls became the first U.S. team to compete in the side-by-side class of the world’s toughest all-female off-road event, The Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles. The event is a 9 day navigation challenge, where competitors are limited to manual compasses and hand-drawn maps to cross the Sahara desert. After a rough start in which the two tenacious girls slept alone in the middle of the Sahara, they were able to recover and finish 7th in the class. They also were the best finishers in the rookie category, finishing before all other first-time participants.
Heading to ‘Hammertown USA’
With the experience they gained over the variety of African terrains in their cross across the Sahara, the Teryx Girls have decided to set a new goal in 2016 of tackling the King of the Hammers event. Held in Johnson Valley, Calif., the one day off-road race course is a rough and rugged 120-mile stretch considered by many as one of the most extreme off-road races in the world. The Mean’s Dry Lake bed location is referred to as “Hammer Town U.S.A.” and the week-long events surrounding the race are a major pilgrimage for the off-road racing community. Terrain challenges for the Teryx Girls will include the sandy dry lake beds, rough open desert landscapes and very difficult rock canyons that will challenge their technical rock climbing experiences with obstacles significantly larger than their Kawasaki UTV.
New Teryx Girls 2016 Kawasaki UTV
For 2016, Kawasaki and a host of other sponsors have come on board to equip the Teryx Girls with a brand new race-outfitted 2016 Kawasaki Teryx UTV, one of the only factory-sponsored UTV race teams in the world. Taking valuable lessons learned at the Gazelle rally, the Teryx Girls were ready for the huge undertaking of outfitting a new race-ready UTV.
Both Sara and Erica are very hands-on in the preparation and build process. They brought on IMG Motorsports from Lake Elsinore, Calif. to help with fabrications and set-up; crafting the roll-cage, front bumpers, and the customized fabrication needed for mounts and other modifications.
For the cage we decided to go with a bolt-on build that offered plenty of room for the girls to access anything they might need. We wanted the Teryx to have a menacing look with extra bracing to protect them in case of a roll-over.In a sea of RZRs, its cool to see a Teryx out there competing.” stated James Hill, co-owner of IMG Motorsports.
Next up, they outfitted the UTV with a 4500 lb. Super ATV winch and skid plate system to assist in the rock crawling portion of the course. For wheel and tire selection, the Teryx Girls chose a 14″ Raceline Mamba beadlock wheel and 30″ Arisun tire combo, with Coyote ENT inner wheel/tire liners to provide maximum traction and reliability. Long travel suspension from HCR Racing was installed for added height, stability and maneuverability on the technical parts of the course. Custom axles were made by Summers Brothers to match the new wider rear differential design of the 2016 Teryx model.
Full navigation is on-board courtesy of Lowrance GPS, and the girls will communicate via Bluetooth intercom provided by PCI Race Radios. The Teryx also received some performance upgrades via an ECU flash by Benchmark Performance to remove speed governors, allowing the girls to push the limits of their UTV. The girls will sit snug and safe in PRP GT/S.E. suspension seats, 5.3 harnesses, and even added a pair of hand restraints.
Training for King of the Hammers
The Teryx Girls have been hard at work training for the event and getting acclimated with their new UTV. Preliminary tests left the Teryx Girls confident and pleased with how the Kawasaki performed in the ruthless canyon rock terrain. Neither of the Teryx Girls had much previous experience in rock crawling, so the experience was new and educational for them both.
I usually try to avoid rocks, but in this case you aim for the rocks for better clearance,” said Sara.
For navigator Erica Sacks, the event will provide even more of a physical challenge, as she will be climbing in-and-out of the UTV to set up for obstacles in addition to her navigating duties. Running ahead of the UTV, moving heavy rocks, and climbing around to set the winch will all be extremely demanding tasks physically and mentally, and Erica wants to be sure she’s ready for the challenge.
The last thing I want to do is puke in my helmet or slow the team down because I wasn’t prepared,” said Erica.
Their training to date has introduced them to various portions of the Hammer trails: Chocolate Thunder, Wrecking Ball, Sludge Hammer, and Claw Hammer. The Teryx Girls are ready for the challenge, and can’t wait to hit the King of the Hammers course!
King of the Hammers Event Info
10th Annual King of the Hammers
January 29 – February 6, 2016
Hammertown (Boone Rd)
Johnson Valley, CA 92285
King of the Hammers Race begins Friday February 5th, 2016 at 8:00AM and concludes at 10:00PM. For more details, please see the Full Week Hammertown Official Schedule
Tickets: $20 per person for the week/cash only. Tickets can be purchased at all hours from the front gate starting noon, Jan 29 thru Feb. 6. First-time attendees should consult Spectactor Rules and other important information.