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Silver State 150
September 23, 2017

Best in the Desert Racing - BITD Series

BITD Silver State 150 UTV Race Report
Sven Ellstrom Takes the Best in the Desert Pro Turbo UTV Win

Silver State 150
Caliente, NV (9/30/2017) - Sven Ellstrom and Russell Griffin drove their Polaris RZRs to victory in the Pro UTV classes during the Polaris RZR Silver State 150. The event was round five of the Best in the Desert Series. Ellstrom won the Pro Turbo class, while Griffin finished first in Pro Production.

Held in the high desert, the track utilized portions of the old Silver State 300 course. The course was 150 miles long with 60 miles on narrow trails with rocks and off-camber turns. The technical nature of the track caused several competitors to flip over, while others had tire and axle issues. There were also some open desert sections that allowed for high speeds on desert roads and silt beds.

UTV Start Best in the Desert
UTV racers lined up in rows of four for the start of the BITD Silver State 150 start

Temperatures were just below freezing at the start of the race due to track’s 6,000-foot elevation. The race was a cold one with temperatures in the 40s for most of the day, allowing the turbo cars a few more horsepower. A steady breeze helped moved out some of the dust.

Unlike the normal two wide live engine start, the Silver State 150 had four cars starting together with a dead engine start, which something new for many of the racers.

Phil Blurton Best in the Desert
#944 Phil Blurton & Beau Judge grabbed the holeshot on the front row

In the Pro Turbo Class, Ellstrom teamed up with his car builder Mark Holz in the co-driver seat. Starting on the first row, Ellstrom fell into a steady pace early and went “hammer down” in the second half of the even to score the runaway victory, his first in BITD competition. Phil Blurton finished second in his Can-Am, padding his points lead in the class, ahead of Ryan Piplic’s Polaris. The Can-Am of Dan Fisher and Justin Lambert’s Polaris.

Sven Ellstrom Mark Holz Best in the Desert
Oberto's Sven Ellstrom & Mark Holz once again teamed up for the second straight race & they took over the lead before pit two

“We didn’t get the holeshot, but we kept our pace and stayed with the leaders,” said Ellstrom. “As soon as got to the second pit, the two in front of us pulled aside and we only had 80 or so miles to go so we had to hammer on it.”

Ellstrom, who made his BITD debut last year, has run an abbreviated schedule this season, but has shown promise in every race in which he’s competed. He was third in the Mint 400 and second in the last round, the Vegas to Reno race. He has spent the season developing the car with an eye on a 2018 title run.

Sven Ellstrom Mark Holz Best in the Desert
Holz Racing's Sven Ellstrom secured the Pro Turbo UTV Win

“We haven’t hit every round because we’re still dialing in the car because it’s a new build,” said Ellstrom. “Next year, we plan on going for the championship. This is the best the car has ever felt. We have some minor issues, but the car is really rock solid.”

Blurton, with co-driver Beau Judge, came out of start in second, but broke a belt early in the event. After losing several positions, he and Judge went on a tear, rebounding to finish second.

Phil Blurton Best in the Desert
No Limit's Phil Blurton & Beau Judge maintained their points lead by claiming yet another podium finish in the 2nd spot

“We’re excited to be back on the podium because it keeps us first in points,” said Blurton. “That’s what we’re going for. The course was awesome. It was super narrow and we kept having to push in the mirrors to keep from hitting trees.”

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