An Epic Battle, An Epic Ending...

Darryl89

Killer Kitty - UTVUnderground Approved
Oct 8, 2009
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Farmington, NM

At close to 2am PST, Team 1802 and TT7 crossed the finishline of the Baja 1000. It was probably the hardest fought battle in the entire race. Nearly 24 hours earlier, a wrong turn put 1802 far off course. By the time they corrected, they had traveled over 100 extra miles. They continued to run the course, maintaining 2nd place even with the detour.
SCORE Ops shut down the finishline at 10:18PST, but one of the largest outpourings of support rallied to the point that officials allowed them to continue the race. Volunteers went out to the checkpoints and manned them so the race could continue. At the same time, Trophy Truck #7 was fighting to finish also. They had mechanical breakdown after mechanical breakdown. Their team even managed to go in and rescue 2 cars that had plunged over a cliff. Finally, with the support of the entire off-road community, their support crews linked up with 1802's. And both racers ended up escorting each other across a finishline that was still surrounded by hundreds of fans, cheering them on. The level of support for these two teams would make any pro racer envious.
And to make things even more dramatic, the driver of Team 1802, Kane Fraser, had never raced a motorized competition before entering this Baja. He had never even seen a desert before arriving for the race. But biggest of all, he is a paraplegic, racing to raise money for charity and to show others, that a disabiity shouldn't stop you from your dreams.
Kane persevered for 700 miles over 36 hours. He never let up, he never whined, he kept a smile on his face and moved ahead, 1 mile at a time...and TT #7 was right by their side, battling their own demons to finish this race, but together, they helped each other and MADE IT ACROSS!
So while many out there slept in the comfort of their beds, he proved not only his commitment, but he brought a community of off-road racers and their fans together. This is the same level of community I saw during a racing tragedy over a year ago, proving to me, the brotherhood of off-roading is one of the best there is.
Please consider supporting Kane's commitment and remember, next time you need help, if there is an off-roader around, there is someone that will be willing to help you..
Kane's website.. Baja 1000 Fundraiser


 
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JoeyD23

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Jan 9, 2009
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A post that Greg Foutz, owner of Trophy-Lite made on RDC.....

Thank you all for the kind words and support. Rick and I were at mile 660 in the chase truck while all of you guys were rooting for us and the 1802 UTV to make it. I thought I would say thanks to all of you guys. The 1802 team are all from Canada and we spent some time with them waiting. Great people. Im glad I could be part of that whole deal. I have to take my hat off to Jim Riley and the whole Azunia Tequila team for the efforts. We all know that off-road racing is a big extended family for all of us. I thought some background on how all of this came together would be cool to share. Here is the short version of some of the events.

Rick Johnson started the TROPHYLITE R-8 truck as the last Trophy Truck in the back of the pack. He did a great job and by the time they hit Ojos he had already picked up a couple of spots. By the time the #7 hit race mile 70 (at HWY KM77) he had picked up about 2 more spots. We followed them in and waited as they went over the summitt. They picked up a few more spots as they cleared and let us know they were over the summit. Doing great to say the least. The R-8 is a little narrower and lighter then the bigger trucks so it gave Rick a little advantage in the tight stuff. When Rick and Shreck got the truck to about mile 125 something happened and the passenger side rear wheel started coming off. The nut that holds the bearings on to the rear end spindle came apart and the threads that held the nut in place actually broke off at the end of the snout. As many of you know this is almost impossible to fix correctly in the dirt. Rick and Shreck were able to get a quick tow into the locos mocos pit just about 1/2 mile down the road and we started talking on the sat phone about what to do. We didnt have any real spaare parts for the new truck yet so that left us in a bad spot. The hub had damage, the spindle was broken, and the drive flange was destroyed and all of the splines were gone. We worked with them and I talked to the crew at the pit. We convinced them that we were going to try and continue on and asked them to weld it back and and try to see if we could make it work. We called Jerry at Camburg and he had some drive flanges and bearings at his shop. he called one of his guys (I dont know who but thanks) and they grabbed parts in LA area and headed down south to meet up with Alex (one of our Azunia guys) to meet up and get the parts. Alex got them in San Diego and headed out to meet us in Mexicali. We drove up to meet him just outside of Mexicali. In the mean time the locos mocos dudes had it welded enough to get the truck moving and sent them down to race mile 150 where we were meeting them with parts to fix it. So far so good.

We met up at 150 and welded and ground and did all that we could to fix the spindle, Rebuilt the hub and installed new bearings and seals. Got it all back together so it would work and sent Rick and Shreck back out toward the pit at Borego. This whole part took us about 7 plus hours but they were back on the way and we were still in the race. We knew our hopes for a top finish position was gone now so it turned into a race of determination to finish. Rick got to the Borego area pit and Scott Steinberger was getting in to drive with Dave Sykes riding with him. We checked the hub again and had to tighten the nut and re-weld a little there as they got in and got ready. We buttoned it up and sent them running down south. after about an hour and a half we got a call on the radio that they were at mile 275 and the spindle started coming apart again. They managed to get to the Baja Pits there at 275 and Scott started working on it. Shreck and I jumped in Dave's pre-runner and headed down south to meet them with another drive flange and parts. We got there and made the repairs but the bearings felt like they had gravel in them and Scott did the only thing he could do. He weled the entier nut and all of the end of the spindle into a big blob of metal to keep it all together. Now there was no way we could change the bearings but we both knew that this would be our last chance to fix it. We buttoned it up again and sent them on their way. This time we burnt up another 6 or 7 hours getting it fixed.

Scott blazed out and we went back to borego area pit. They made it to about 312 and then had the bolts in the steering rack adapter come lose and break a couple of them. They stopped and had to get the left over threads out of the rack to put the new bolts in. This time the had the parts but had a hard time getting the broken bolts out. They did it and got buttoned up just as the check point was closing. We decided to keep going anyway and see what happened. This time we burnt another about 5 hours. Scott kept going and brought it back to us at mile 460 for Jim Riley to get in and take it to the finish. At the drivers change I checked the hub and the bearings now were spinning free and didnt feel like it had rocks but the hub had about an inch of side to side play since they were loosening up. With the welded stuff we had no way to fix it again or tighten it up. We decided to keep going.

Jim and Craig got in and blazed off. They clicked off the miles and we started praying that the bearings would live and we could make the finish. We pretty well knew that we were going to miss the finish closing time by now but we kept going. Jim made it through Valley T and headed across to the pacific side. They picked up our chase crew on that side and kept going. Jim got stuck in the silt for a while just after crossing over the highway and the crew went in to get them out. Burnt another hour or so. but they kept going. By now we heard about the two trucks off the side of the cliff by the beach. one of them happened to be Mike West in his Ford TROPHYLITE R-4 truck. We talked to Jim and Craig and the pacific chase crew and they all said that they would help them and try to pull them up the cliff. So they went on and did what they could. No one was hurt but Mikes truck lost all of the lights and body. Mikes team ellected to drive the truck back to Ensenada and call it. the truck was fine but they didnt feel that they could make it to the finish with no lights. Jim and Craig made it to Santo Thomas and were talking about what to do. The finish had closed already and we had about 90 miles to go. The thought was that the rear end was leaking again now and we didnt know if the hub and spindle would make it any further. Jim was worried about getting up into Uropan and getting stuck in there with a missing rear wheel. This was about when we started talking to the Weatherman about stopping. Weatherman was very encouraging and helped our team make the right decision and informed us of the 1802 team. With this information Jim and Craig decided that they would continue and try to make sure that the 1802 guys would get to the finish line. Their storry is awesome for sure. Living the dream after watching Dust to Glory and racing the Baja 1000.

Jim headed into the dark again and up thru uropan. The 1802 made it to us at 660 about 10 minutes before the #7 truck did and we check them both over and sent them on the way. We headed out and popped in to the race course about 20 miles from the finish to check on them both and watched them go by again. I said another prayer that the #7 truck reparis would hold up just a little longer. We headed to the now vacant finish line to find the 1802 crew there and Kent Kroeker with some of his team to cheer us all on. Both the 1802 and the #7 hit the last wash on the way in about the same time and they came into the finish line at the same time in escort of each other.

One of the 1802 guys found a checkered flag on a display booth next to the road and climbed up and tore it off the display so we could have a checkered flag for the guys. It was an awesome experience for sure. Thank God that we made it and everyone was safe and sound. Its a small miracle that our repairs held up for 600 miles for sure. And it was really cool that the 1802 guys pulled it off.

The #7 TROPHYLITE R-8 truck worked great and if we didnt have the rear spindle problem the truck was great. We ran the whole race on a single set of tires. The General Grabbers that we started on finished the race. Thats crazy too.

I guess we learned that you never quit no matter what. There may be some other reason that you are there and some other person to help live their dream. Again thanks to Jim Riley, Rick Johnson, Scott Steinberger, and all of our support guys for making this happen. And thanks to all of our great sponsors. Please think about those who support all of us in off-road racing when you consider purchasing anything. You can email me if you have any questions or thoughts.... [email protected]
 

JoeyD23

#utvunderground
Jan 9, 2009
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A post from Jim Riley, owner of the R-8 Trophy Lite aka TT#7 that ran with 1802 to the finish....

Baja 1000 update: Thank you to everyone on FB that supported our efforts the last 24 hours of the race. Sorry for the delayed update. Its was an amazing race and an even better story in the end. Although our plans were foiled by mechanical problems due to a tough course, we found the SPIRIT of Baja through friends and the drive to never give up! Our trip started at Rancho Milagro where we helped the kids with supplies for the tough months ahead and much needed computers. We partnered with Wahoos Fish Tacos and General Tire to get this done. Outside supporters from other teams pitched in that asked not to be mentioned - just know you can be proud of the off-road community. Our race efforts kicked off Wed night with crew meetings and pre-running. Thursday at contingency we launched our latest Baja 1000 special edition tequila with only 692 bottles being made. Thanks to some last minute miles added to the course we may have to make a few more... Race day came too fast as there seems to never be enough time. My racing partner and mentor Rick L Johnson was the starting driver in the newly built Trophylite R8 enetered in the Trophy Truck class. Many of you may not know that Rick is a 4 time Baja 1000 class winner - this is more then Ivan Stewart and Robby Gordon - proof is in the Score Program! Matt "Shrek" Dowland was his navigator. After a great start and 70 miles into the course we timed the R8 at 6 min from the lead truck on corrected time... Of course Baja "bit" the truck shortly after. We broke a rear Hub and blew out some of the parts. Jerry Zaiden from Camburg came to the rescue along with Alex Baca and got us some parts from HB, CA. We were lucky enough to have Greg Foutz from Trophylite on hand to fix us up. By the time the truck made it around to Scott Steinberger and Dave Sykes to run the San Felipe loop it had already been a long day and night. Scott was haunted with a repeat performance from the hub and made some welds that would eventually get us to the finish line. I took the truck over with Craig Malloy at about 4pm to run the last 200+ miles to the finish line. I will have to admit that I was a little apprehensive to push the new truck to its limits of over 110 mph knowing that the rear wheel could blow off at anytime and send me over a cliff into the night. We had a nice clean run until we hit the silt beds on the pacific side of the course. Thats when the entire dynamic of the race changed for us. The rear hub had almost an inch of "play" in it and I was knee deep in silt. I called "Weather Man" Bob Steinberger to alert him of our possible withdrawl from the race. We were out of time and parts and he was looking for a status update. He "suggested" that if we stayed in we could help out two race cars that had gone over the cliff ahead of us. It was about this time that 1802 passed us on the course. After 30 minutes of digging and finding something to get us out of the silt we were back on course and running. Craig and I decided that we would make it to the stranded racers and enjoy the Pacific side of the course. By the time we reached Santo Tomas we heard the full story of 1802 and realized that we needed to stay on the course and make sure he made it to the finish line if he were to encounter any problems. I think that sometimes on a dark Baja race course you can be inspired to keep going by just knowing someone is behind you to pick you up if you fall. Thats what I call the "Spirit of Baja". We wanted to be that for 1802. We limped or truck through some of the toughest terrain I have seen in Mexico and were equally inspired that 1802 was out there checking off his bucket list. At the end of the day we met up with 1802 at the beginning of the wash in Ensenada and drove to the newly established finish line by friends and family. There was no Tecate or finishing pin but the smiles on our friends faces will never be replaced by a formal finish line. We shook hands with the support team from 1802 and took some pictures together - all knowing that we just beat baja on our own terms and timelines... I congratulate Andy on his win because he deserves every ounce of credit for beating an unbelievable course against some of the toughest competition - However, I would not trade my race for all the wins in the world! See everyone in Henderson! Special Thanks to the following supporters: Wahoos Fish Tacos, General Tire, Dana Zamalloa,NOHO Hangover Relief, Rico Ferrante, Method Racing Wheels, Fox Shox, Greg Foutz, PCI Radio, Trophylite, and Agave Motorsports. Personal Thanks to all my team members: Rick Johnson, Brenda Cameron Johnson, Craig and Nicole Malloy, Matt Shrek Dowland, Kris and Ashley Strauch-Ware, Scott Steinburg, Dave Sykes, Jimmy Sizelove, Dane Cardone, Alex Baca, Rico Ferrante
 

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