aka Baja 1000 – The greatest race never seen. It is called this
because it goes through very remote areas down the Baja California Peninsula.
This was our “mission”. Solar Racing teamed once again with ACE
Motorsports to take on Baja, this time in the Solar Racing F-150.
The race started out very well. We started 9th and were in first place on
course and corrected time by the 70-mile mark. The Solar Racing F-150 ran flawlessly
throughout the day and into the night. All of the drivers, Mark Handley, Mike
McComas, Marc Stein and Travis Walser, knew the truck had to be preserved to
make the 1000 plus mile journey.
However, disappointment struck when the motor let loose, as if a grenade had
gone off inside the engine. Golf ball size holes were evident on the engine
block and oil pan. The truck had made it to race mile 655+/- when the fatal
breakdown occurred approximately 2:30am!
If you were to look at a map of Baja and follow the highway
down the peninsula, and look for the furthest separation between the highway
on east coast and
the race course on the west coast, that is where the truck was. It figures!
To make matters worse, it was over 2 hours before our next closest competitor
passed our disabled truck. The chase crew heard those painful words from the “Weatherman” (the
man in control of all race activity and radio communications once the race
gets under way), to “bring the trailer, your truck is out with a blown
engine. It will not run. The engine is blown. Bring your trailer.” The
rules do not allow for engine replacement. We were done.
The pain of this message meant we were not going to accomplish our mission,
which was to finish the Baja. Consequently, by not finishing, we lost the year-end
points lead and consequently the championship!
The Baja 1000 concluded the race schedule for 2004.
Year-End Results– 2nd Place Overall points in SCORE’s
Stock Full Class, and 6th place in the Best in the Desert Series (had a DNF
and two DNS).
New Year – Laughlin Desert Challenge. This was a two-day event on the
river in Laughlin, NV. The race is only 80 minutes each day. Considered a sprint
race, many racers put it on “kill” and just go for it. Unfortunately,
the course is so rough, the attrition rate is tremendous. For example, the
Trophy Truck class started with 22 and only 5 were considered finishers.
The Solar Racing F-150 was running well, despite the untested
backup motor. Day 1 was a 2nd place finish, however Day 3 did not turn out
so well. The
motor ended up dropping a cylinder and did not have the power to keep plowing
the sandy washes. With no time for repairs, we ended up with a dnf on Day
2 and a Third Place overall. The Hummers of Henn and Griffin took 1st & 2nd
Parker 425 – Solar Racing was not able to enter in Stock
Full class due to the above mentioned motor woes (the downside of running
two race series
without factory backing).
Since we weren’t racing, we were going to support the
team that has given us so much help. ACE Motorsports was looking to defend
in the Stock SUV class. Their mighty Expedition was good to go against their
main competitor, the H2 of Rod Hall Racing, driven by Josh Hall.
With Mike McComas driving, they were in the hunt until a high-speed
incident temporarily sidelined the XBOX. Parker is known for it’s high-speed
brutal course. Hitting speeds almost to 90mph, the XBOX launched and stuffed
end so hard, it forced Mike to get out of the truck with back problems. His
co-driver was able to get the truck back to the pits for a driver change.
Mike went to the hospital and Marc Stein took over from there. Fortunately,
rest of the race was uneventful and they ended up with 2nd place. Although
winning each race is important, winning the championship is the ultimate
goal. (Mike was OK by the way)
San Felipe in just 1 week! This will be our 3rd attempt to conquer this race
course. As with all off-road races, the course itself is the primary competitor.
The other drivers just make it a little more exciting. We must first finish,
before we can finish first!
San Felipe is one of the most popular races in the series.
The little fishing village on the Sea of Cortez welcomes racers and fans
with it’s warm
weather and festive atmosphere.
San Felipe is also special to Solar Racing because it marks the two year anniversary
for the debut of Solar Racing! Two years ago, two nights before the race, was
when the truck was first picked up from ACE Motorsports.
We will also have some new contenders in our class this season. In addition
to the H-1 Hummer of John Griffin, last 3 year class champion, there is also
another H-1 driven by the Henns, one of our competitors in the Best in the
Desert series. We’re not sure about the welcome, they are very competitive.
In addition to the Hummers, there will also be a new Nissan Titan and a new
F-150, both 4wheel drives. The class is called Stock Full Size, so the trucks
that are being sold on TV are being tested in these off-road races. The class
is for STOCK trucks with only safety enhancements and minor suspension upgrades.
A little bit more motor too!
Nevada 1000 – Solar Racing is a confirmed entry in one
of the longest, most demanding races in the United States. The 4-day race
event will be based
out of the Western Nevada town of Tonapah.
Off Road Racing is an inherently resource intensive sport, both financial and
human. If you would like to contribute, please let us know. We are always
looking for help.
Other races (see attached calendar for specific dates):
Early April – Wild Wash 250 – Barstow, CA
Late April – Terrible Town 250 – Pahrump Nevada
Early June – BAJA 500 – Ensenada, Mexico – Defending
Early July – NEVADA 1000 – Nevada (mainly Tonopah)
Late July – Las Vegas Cup – Las Vegas Motor Speedway
See the link above for other races including “VEGAS TO RENO” and
Other cool stuff:
Special thanks to our Sponsors: TheBestMortgageLoans.com, Tristar
Capital Equipment Leasing, National Springs, Goodyear Tires, Bilstein Shocks,
Race Fuels, Kartek, K&N Filters, RLH Communications, MSD Ignitions, Mastercraft
Seats, Sign Pros Lettering, DesertRacing.com.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com