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Playing in the dirt

Rob Seubert and his father Cliff compete in Jeep off-road racing series


by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Rob and Cliff Seubert of Seubert Machining in Estacada race their Jeep in the Best in the Desert series in Nevada and Arizona. They are currently in third place.For many people, 530 miles of driving in a day averaging 30 miles an hour sounds like torture.

To Rob, 41, and Cliff Seubert, 64, however, that's become the definition of “fun” — especially since these aren’t exactly paved roads we’re talking about.

The Seuberts are part of a racing team in the “Best in the Desert” series in Nevada and Arizona that pits their Jeep up against around 30 others in a race to the finish.

While there are a number of racing classes, the Seuberts are in one of the lower classes, which controls the amount of money participants put into their cars and how much modification can be done.

“There’s quite a bit of money in the upper classes,” Rob said. “Our class has a bunch of rules to keep costs down like that it needs the stock engine.”

Rob actually got his start racing motorcycles in the same races, but when he finally convinced his dad to crew for him, his dad caught the bug.

“He got hooked crewing, but he didn’t like motorcycles,” Rob said. “So we found a race car and bought it in southern California.”

In fact, the car they had purchased won the Baja 1000 just a few years ago, in 2009, so it wasn’t just any car.

Now with a few races under their belts, the Seuberts’ team, which they also share with Warrior Products, sits in third place in its class after a second place finish in the Vegas to Reno race.

“That’s the biggest race in the U.S. at 530 miles,” Rob said. “It took us about 16 hours because we lost a fuel pump, damaged a wheel and lost a track bar, so you’ve just got to fix things as you go.

“We essentially rebuild the front end after every race.”

The great news for Cliff and Rob is that Warrior Products, which is owned by a friend of Cliff’s, specializes in Jeep aftermarket products. With a few more people on the team, it also makes the driving much more manageable.

“We’re 50-50 partners,” Rob said. “We split driving and racing costs, driving, everything.”

In the 530-mile race they recently finished, Rob said there were 12 pit stops, which gave the driver a chance to meet up with one of the chase cars, which support them throughout the day.

Some of those stops also include re-fueling since the Jeep can only last about 180-200 miles per tank for a whopping average of 5-7 miles per gallon — and that’s with more expensive racing fuel.

While the word “race” implies speed, however, the race to the finish in these races more often than not comes down to a team’s ability just to finish the race. Of the 20 cars that began the Vegas to Reno race, fewer than eight cars crossed the line.

“When our fuel pump failed, we had a backup mounted, so we just had to swap the hose and wires which took about 20 minutes,” Rob said. “We have a lot of spare parts in the car, so in our class the race is based more on how well the car is prepped and how few problems we have. The guy who took first had zero problems.

“We were in third place with about 100 miles to go, but then we passed the third place guy as he was stuck in the sand.”

With another successful race behind them, Cliff and Rob are focusing on their next big adventure: the Baja 1000, the longest race in the world, which takes place each November.

Until then, Rob manages the family business, the Estacada-based Seubert Machining, which Cliff started years ago.

“I grew up in Colton and graduated from Colton High School in 1989,” Rob said. “Then I went and got a mechanical engineering degree before working for the competition for 10 years. Finally, we got big enough where Cliff needed help in 2001 and I’ve been here ever since.”

Rob still lives in Colton with his wife, Janel, and their four children.



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  • 27 Aug 2014

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