Team Arctic racer Jim Creagan isn’t kidding when he calls the Arctic Prowler, “The toughest UTV in the desert.” At the opening round of the Best In The Desert (BITD) off-road series in Parker, Ariz., Creagan dusted off his team’s 700 XTX EFI that finished second in the Baja 1000 just two months ago, put a heavy foot on the gas and raced to a strong third place.

“This season our goal is to win the UTV class championship, which required a good finish at the Parker 250,” says Creagan. “We will campaign a Prowler 1000 XTZ in the remaining races, but it wasn’t ready for Parker. So we freshened up our Baja-worn 700, rode at the ragged edge and proved that we could once again put a stock Prowler against all the fully modified racers.”

In truth, Creagan and his team have little to prove in the rough world of off-road desert racing, having finished first and second in the side-by-side UTV class in the 2008 Baja 1000. It marked the first time a UTV has ever finished the grueling race and highlighted the performance and durability of the race-winning Prowler 1000 XTZ, as well as the second-place Prowler 700 XTX EFI.

Creagan and his son/co-driver Tabor Cresap followed a very different strategy for the Parker 250 than they used at the Baja 1000.

“To finish 1000 miles of Baja, you have to ride smart and in control,” says Creagan. “Parker was a 170-mile sprint against fully modified machines with powered-up engines, aftermarket suspensions and long-travel kits. Our 700 XTX had a stock engine, stock chassis and stock suspension.

“So I put my foot down on the gas and rarely lifted during the entire race. The Parker course was typically brutal, with rocks, sand washes, high speed sections and technical areas. We were absolutely thrashing our machine, but there were no problems. It was just gas-and-go at the fuel stops.”

Creagan and Cresap finished the race in four hours and fifty-five minutes, thanks to their hard driving and expertly executed fuel stops by crew members Chris Fallon and Mark Vories. Both driver and co-driver anticipate higher finishes at the six remaining BITD events, thanks to the higher top-speeds from their soon-to-be-complete Prowler 1000 XTZ.

“The 1000 XTZ will be fast enough to out-run our competitors’ modified machines,” says Creagan. “We’re optimistic about climbing a step or two up the podium.”

The team is sponsored by Arctic Cat, Wired Energy Drink, Vision X Lighting, GBC Motorsports and King Shocks.

Their next BITD race is the Terrible 250 in Primm, Nev., April 17-19.

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