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  • Writer's pictureKaitlyn Baldini

Behind The Bars With Ariel Buyarski and Katrina Koenig

Ariel Buyarski and Katrina Koenig drove their way to 1st place in the Sportsman SxS class and 8th Overall out of over 100 drivers at the Red Bull Mountain Scramble.

How's it going since the race?

Buyarski: Both of the side by sides are already somewhat cleaned. They were checked for damage too. One is at our fabricator now getting a crack in the frame fixed. So far we haven’t seen much to repair which is good.

Looks like you slowly worked your way through the pack on Monday. Tell us how the race went.

Buyarski: We pulled the holeshot and quickly caught the line in front of us. Katrina and I got stuck in a bottleneck which caused us to lose positions. By lap two we found our flow and picked off our class quickly. After pushing to get in front we ran a mistake-free race which helped us significantly increase our lead.

What was it like driving at a national-level event with so many racers compared to what you are used to?

Buyarski: I treated the race as any normal race. I didn’t want to think of it as anything special so I wouldn’t get too nervous. I told myself to not overthink and just hop in the car and drive which is exactly what I did. In the woods, I only had clean air the last lap or so which I’m not used to because there are never this many of us, but I loved how there was more competition!

What was your favorite part of the track?

Buyarski: My favorite part of the track was the tight sections in the woods and the rock sections. I tend to excel in those parts so that’s why it’s my favorite.

What was the most difficult part of this race for you and your co-driver?

Buyarski: The most difficult part of the race for me was staying calm. It definitely helped to have Katrina with me because we talk and sing sometimes which takes my mind off of overthinking the driving I’m doing.

Koenig: The most difficult part of the race had to be getting through traffic in the woods, trying to find the right lines around people. Sometimes we took the wrong way and put ourselves in a bad situation but in the end, we made it past the challenges in our way.

How important is your co-driver when driving at such a high level?

Buyarski: I know for a fact without having Katrina in the car with me I wouldn’t have finished. She helps me with the mental side of racing. She calms me down and reassures me which is what I need.

Katrina, how was the race from the passenger seat?

Koenig: The race was exciting, I have never been so proud of Ariel, driving through super tough terrain and pushing through during the race. I love being there, not only for my friend but for the future pro racer she is going to be.

What is your main job/role as the co-driver?

Koenig: As the co-driver, I try to pick out the right/fastest lines to help us during the race. I also will try and deflect rocks from hitting Ariel’s face so she has a clear path of vision when we are behind someone.

Who would you like to say thanks to for putting you on the box?

Buyarski: Biggest thank you to John Kalegrou, the whole crew from JohnnyK’s Powersports, Jason Nicholas and Jake Fredrick who are always there to help when we need it. Also thank you to Gary Hinkle from G Force Racing, Tim from Nine Eleven Fab, Klotz, Karg Auto, Aluminum Castings, Trail Performance Racing, my mom, my dad, the Schmeider’s and the Koenig family!

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