It was hard to believe at first—here I was, keeping pace with the 13-time SCORE Baja 1000 winner, 12-time Baja 500 winner and International Six-Day Trial gold medalist Larry Roeseler (“LR”). The last time I raced him on dirt bikes, he lapped me at the Virginia City Grand Prix, and I’ve never even driven a Trophy Truck. Yet, there I was.
The thing is, I wasn’t driving in his tire tracks; I was sitting next to LR in his Safecraft/Fox/BFG/LSR RZR XP 4 1000.
An American Motorcycle Association Hall of Famer (inducted in 1999), LR has won the overall at the ISDE and taken three SCORE Class 22 (Open Pro) championships (1976, 1977, 1981), the first on a Factory Husqvarna. LR has also ridden for the Harley-Davidson, Yamaha and Kawasaki factories, and he switched from two wheels to four after his 10th SCORE Baja victory. Roeseler won the Trophy Truck Legends class and was eighth overall at the 2017 Baja 500 in the #96 Safecraft/BFG Trophy Truck, and he has gotten into UTVs over the past few years, using them as pre-runners. He entered the 2017 BiTD Vegas to Reno Desert Classic in a Holz Racing RZR XP 1000 after wins on bikes and in trucks, but he broke the CVT and an axle.
GIVING BACK TO THE SPORT
The SCORE and BiTD legend decided last summer to put on monthly UTV rides to promote his many sponsors and give back to the sport LR has enjoyed and dominated for more than 30 years. LR’s main sponsor is Golden Gate Petroleum, and his title sponsor is Safecraft, which manufactures on-board fire-suppression systems, and he also represents BFGoodrich, Fox Racing and Method Wheels. LR puts on monthly rides at Superstition OHV Area, but he has secret trails that fan out almost to Borrego Springs OHV. We did morning and afternoon rides on the first Ride with Roeseler with a BBQ lunch and dinner, and LR passed out swag bags to participants. He skipped November, most of which is dedicated to the 50th Baja 1000, and will hold monthly rides through May.
Another Baja legend, Malcolm Smith, has said of UTVs that “The passenger seat always goes 25 mph faster than the driver’s seat.”
It’s a control thing, but I wasn’t scared one bit, as LR was in cruise mode and never put a wheel wrong in 81 miles of desert, dunes, rocks and sand washes.
INSIDE LR’S RZR XP 4 1000
Safecraft’s Model UTV on-board fire-suppression system for the Polaris RZR XP is $609, which is cheap insurance. The 7-pound tank holds a special suppressant that evaporates after putting out the fire. A flexible hose is run to the engine’s injector area (or fuel cell), and a special thermal sensor breaks in case of fire, releasing the suppressant. There are also 3- and 5-pound units ($89–$160), and LR also runs a Safecraft fire extinguisher and mount ($221–$504).
Lonestar Racing supplied long-travel XP 4 +3.5 arms ($4005), and LR upgraded to Fox 3.0 IBP shocks with Eibach springs and Fox Racing valving. Nelson and Nelson Racing Product’s front bumper and torsion bar are mated with Kartek front-travel limiter straps, and SxS Performance supplied the cage, rear bumper and three seats. LR runs a Pure Polaris storage bin where the fourth seat usually goes. Prototype BFG 32×9.5R15 KR2 tires ride on new Method narrow beadlock racing wheels. LR took a CageWrx spare-tire mount and modified it heavily to ride higher, so he could mount his Yeti cooler in the bed. Roeseler also uses PRP harnesses and door bags and Axia Alloys convex side mirrors and rear-view mirrors with visors.
Curtis Sparks supplied the dual exhaust system, clutch work and ECU tuning, and LR uses Lowrance Elite 5M GPS for course mapping. He also carries extra gas cans and a Rotopax water pack.