A Weekend of Relaxation With Branden Sims and Jacob Carver
Albert Einstein is widely credited with saying, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.” Einstein would have looked at any real racer cross eyed, not being able to comprehend what these guys are doing, or why they do it. Imagine, working a fulltime 60+ hour a week job, pulling into the driveway after a long day and walking straight into the garage, putting in another 5-8 hours of work per night on the racecar. All that work for 1 day of racing every few months. If all goes right, it pays off with a podium finish or even better, a win… But that’s only if all goes well.
Branden Sims and Jake Carver may come off as big-budget race teams to the outsiders looking in, but in reality, they aren’t. Sims and Carver both spend countless hours in the shop prepping race cars and chase rigs with only the help of a few trusted friends that volunteer their time. This isn’t a shop where a fancy off-road racer pretends to “work” on Instagram while his team of paid employees does all the heavy lifting, these guys do it all for the love of racing. Not only is this impressive from a pure workload standpoint, but the knowledge they have gained about their vehicles is immensely important for any repairs that may need to happen during a race.
Summer months in the southwest bring a much-needed break in the schedule for Sims and Carver. A chance to hit the reset button and unwind from the months of late nights and early mornings. Living and breathing the UTV lifestyle means they hang up the helmets for the summer—this is the time to get out and explore new trails, refine their driving technique, and spend quality time with friends and family.
With a thirst for adventure, these guys are constantly pushing the envelope of what is capable not only in a race car, but it seems to spill over into everyday life for them. With a crew as tight-knit as this one, everything is turned into a competition; who won the last race, who rides the best wheelies on a pit bike, or even who eats the most ballpark weiners. They feed on each others’ energy and always want to do it better than the guy before them. This may sound like a testosterone-driven love affair (which it may be… sorry Bailey), but they truly have a blast doing it. Choosing an RV over a 5-star resort lets them to explore new areas to ride, and new ways to be competitive. A typical off weekend isn’t just Sims and Carver camping in the woods, they are usually accompanied by the band of hooligans that add a fair amount of entertainment value. A group of long-time friends that share the same passion for life, and double as their pit crews and navigators on the big race weekends.
We were able to catch up with them on a recent trip to the Cinders, a little OHV area just north of Flagstaff AZ. The camp was already set up when we arrived, and the boys were chomping at the bit to get on the trail. A few miles in and we had a good idea of what the weekend would hold. Instead of a relaxing off weekend enjoying some time in nature, we were on a wide-open throttle run everywhere we went. The competitive spirit was strong as Sims and Carver battled wheel to wheel to edge each other out, all to say they got to that destination the fastest and laugh. The song “anything you can do I can do better” rang loud. We fancy ourselves as slightly above average off-road drivers here at the magazine, but these guys were on another level, even when just playing around.
Like kids distracted by shiny objects, one would see a fun line and change course at full speed, the others would follow suit trying to get around the leader and out of the dust. This ending in some comical battles to hundred dollar hill, around the berm track, and at the drags. When they would climb out of the cars the smiles were ear to ear, talking about the mistakes almost made and the “I almost had you moments”. Then of course, the co-drivers would chime in often telling the real story of how quickly the bucket of talent emptied, and how they almost went over or broke the car.
Not far from camp was a true hidden gem; one of the best berm tracks we have ever seen. Half to three-quarters of a mile long, and twenty plus massive banked turns, this would make the perfect spot to pin them head to head in a time trials competition. As the resident old guy, I stepped back and kept track of times while the kids pushed their hardest for the best possible time. Learning from a misstep the afternoon before, Sims backed the pace down to keep it on all four wheels, while Carver charged hard hanging it out on the edge. It was a sight to watch this battle. Once the dust settled the laughs and commentary were priceless. Sims and Carver apparently travel with the peanut gallery by their side, as everyone had jokes afterward.
The weekend flew by and before everyone knew it, it was time to pack up and head back to the grind. Of course, Carver was proud to boast that he was the first packed and ready to hit the road. Both expressed how important weekends away were for them and their teams. Hitting the mental and physical reset button to remember what life is all about. Off-roading and UTVs have given these guys a platform to be able to enjoy life to the fullest all while doing what they love.
Recapping the full antics of the weekend would require a book deal, but Sims and Carver aren’t worth that. Check out all the fun we had in Off Seasons, the full video will be hitting Amazon Prime Video on Sept 13, 2019!