In a true underdog story, the Zakowski Motorsports/All Terrain Research team has walked away with the Pro-Utility win at the 3rd annual GBC Motorsports Heartland 10-Hour Challenge. After soaring temperatures in the mid nineties and almost 100 percent humidity, the trio of GNCC championship chasers Zac Zakowski, Kevin Tranthem, and Scott Kilby sacrificed everything they had in order to pull off the win, finishing an amazing 36m: 26s ahead of 2 time Heartland Challenge champs.
The day started off decent with team head, Zac Zakowski, performing the le-mans style start and heading into the woods 3rd. After a mere mile or two Zakowski had overtaken the lead and continued to put some distance between him and 2nd.
After falling victim to the intense heat and exhaustion, Zakowski stepped off the bike giving multi GNCC champ Scott Kilby his first go at it in an attempt to make up the little bit of time lost. Currently sitting in 2nd place, Kilby laid down some smooth laps before handing the bike over to current 4×4 Lights points’ leader Kevin Tranthem. After a few laps Kevin, who keep in mind is used to riding a Can-am Outlander 500Efi, had used the high Horse powered Janssen Motorsports/Can-am 800 engine to overtake 1st place while hitting the 2-hour mark.
The riders tried to remain consistent while attempting to hold the bikes together for 10 hours. Slightly after we regained the lead, Warnert Racing had run into belt problems giving Zakowski Motorsports a 5-minute cushion over 2nd place. The trio of Can-am backed privateers was sure to keep them from closing the gap between us. The last thing we wanted was for them to catch us over the course of the next 8 hours. The next five and a half hours Zakowski Motorsports did not let them gain any ground by consistently laying down faster lap times, putting a total of just under 8-minutes between us. “We knew that we could keep running faster then them but just had to stay smart. In the meantime we hoped for a break between us and 2nd place so that we could back it down a notch or two.” said Zakowski.
Luckily hope came when radio confirmation came through that second place Team Warnert had gotten buried in a mud hole on lap 28, extending our lead to 2 laps and a little over a half hour. With that in mind, Zakowski Motorsports riders finally got the break they were asking for as they set the bikes into cruise mode until the finish. With the last session coming up and Scott Kilby throwing a leg over the bike, we all headed to the finish to watch as our dream unfolded.
After the long day was said and done, Zakowski Motorsports in conjunction with All Terrain Research had come out on top. The riders and everyone involved with the Zakowski Motorsports and All Terrain Research team were extremely happy. Everyone has worked very hard for the past 2 weeks and it feels great to get the win.
“I just can’t believe we did it! We ran a smooth race and had the determination to make something happen. We just went out there and did what we had to do. I’d just like to give a huge thanks to everyone at Zakowski Motorsports and All Terrain Research for making it all happen. For our first attempt at this race I think we did fairly well and definitely will be back next year.”-Zac Zakowski 990
“Zac, Kevin, and I were pumped going into this race and new we had a shot at this thing. Warnert has been on top of this race for a while and we really wanted to show that we could do it at a privateer level. Big thanks to Zakowski Motorsports and ATR”-Scott Kilby
“I think it is just great that we were able to pull it off without a problem. We kept our heads on straight and fought through the pain. The big check was nice too! Just like to say thanks to All Terrain Research for believing in us.”-Kevin Tranthem