HPD Blog

Monday, January 18, 2010

Baja 1000 - Journal #7

Ridgeline takes STOCK MINI lead + Honda running 1-2 in motorcycles.

11.20.10 The Ridgeline was competing in the Stock Mini Truck class: -

The Toyota was the new-model 4Runner with what appeared to be heavy support from TRD, and legendary Baja competitor Ivan Stewart slated to drive.

The Ridgeline left the line shortly after midday and at 12:30 p.m., we received a text to say that it was passing RM15. John and Gary in Chase 2 had a laptop connected to the Internet and were tracking the progress of the Honda Ridgeline "779" live via GPS. They’d continue to provide text updates throughout the race.

At RM 35, a gap of one minute, 30 seconds existed between the H3 Hummer and 779; with the Toyota about 3 minutes behind.

At RM 50, the 779 radioed in to say all was well.

Driving down the highway we spotted a Class 12 car pulled over on the side of the road; it was one of the VW-powered buggies that Matt used to work on, and he knew the owner / driver. Ignition problems had been diagnosed, and we watched as they tried to make repairs. After a while, we realized that the repairs were not fixing the problem, as the engine was still misfiring. Out came the trusty ty-rap to determine which cylinder was not firing. A damaged homemade plug lead was discovered; once fixed, the car fired and ran cleanly.

We heard from the race truck that it had cleared BFG1*; all was well and only minutes stationary – a good stop. At 15:03, the Toyota cleared BFG1, now 16:35 behind. 779 is averaging 30.2 miles per hour over the course.

*BFG1 = BF Goodrich Pit 1. BFG provides a pit service to all those entrants running their tires. For a small amount of money (approximately $600), the BFG folks ordered and provided fuel at each stop, filled the car, changed the wheels and tires, etc. and allowed teams to carry out repairs in their well-lit area. They also provided a valuable radio relay service. More on that later.

We discovered the advantage of having an extra chase truck, as mountains and valleys started to break up the terrain and maintaining communications became harder. We leapfrogged from one truck to the next, relaying the signal until the right destination was reached. This proved to be very valuable.

3:27 p.m. … RM105 – …"Everything good."

Tacos #2 came up at Val de Trinidad – a late lunch. Three tacos each, and a couple of ‘Honda Racing’ stickers now adorn another taco restaurant….

We pulled into the race course near V de T to see the front-running bikes go through; the Honda Pit was set up and waiting. We discovered that the locals were becoming entrepreneurial and were now charging $5 for entry to the race course.
We saw the #3 bike come through, this was the second Honda, and Hondas were now running first and third, with the factory Kawasaki in second place. The speed of the top riders was very impressive!

At RM134, 779 had built up a 20-mile lead.

to be continued. . .

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