- Feb 13, 2015
48th SCORE Baja 500 Race Report:
Race day began as a usual Ensenada spring morning, sunny with that awesome cool ocean breeze, but it was only a tease for by the middle of the day temperatures had risen to over 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Jaime Romero (pilot) and Eva Romero (wife,co-pilot) began the race trying to maintain a steady but consistent pace all in the hopes of completing the 477 mile loop and get that illusive finish. Race mile 23 would become the first hurdle as it became a multi-vehicle bottle neck due to a steep silty hill. Our Arctic Cat Wildcat, with its 4 wheel drive capabilities dare I say “mountain cat”, has no problems climbing such terrain but the same cannot be said for the bigger more powerful vehicles. This bottle neck would end up costing us approximately 2+ hours of wasted time. Once back on course the chase crew conducted a short fueling pit around race mile 40 and quickly returned the #1903 Wildcat to the race trying to make up time. At this point it was not just about saving the car but to also increase aggressiveness/speed in order to complete the race in the time allotted.
The next 100 race miles where ran without major issues. The #1903 Arctic Cat Wildcat was working flawlessly and keeping up a good pace making up much needed time in order to get that elusive finish. But as usual Baja will have something to say before all is said and done. We ended up breaking the driver side lower trailing arm around race mile 145; such was the damage that it required the chase crew to deliver needed parts. Between waiting on parts to get delivered and getting the car back to full function 3 hours had elapsed. At this point we knew getting to the finish on time would be virtually impossible, but the no quit mentality of Romero Offroad Racing kept us pushing forward.
Once again the #1903 Wildcat felt smooth and strong getting us to next scheduled pit in San Felipe. At this point no indication of having mechanical issues was noted. The chase crew performed a quick and smooth pit sending us on our way. Shortly thereafter, the car seemed to struggle getting through the heavy sand too much to be normal. After performing a vehicle check it was determined the rear differential was no longer operational and was only using front wheeled drive. By this point, with too much time elapsed and too much race left to cover, it was a team decision to call the race at the half way point. Safety also played a major role in our decision due to the scorching heat, for another breakdown in the middle of the desert would've put lives at risk.
It’s disappointing, to say the least, but that’s Baja. We would like to congratulate our friends and fellow competitors #1949 pilot Alonso Lopez and co-pilot Francisco Rodriguez on their first place finish. We would also like to thank all those that made this possible: Arctic Cat - ATVs for making the best UTV in the market, Walker Evan Racing for being the only ones willing to make front 2.5 IBP direct OEM replacement shocks for the Wildcat. GMZ Race Products Inc. for their awesome Kahuna 30” tires not one single flat, Tire Blocks for providing that additional safety net of tire puncture performance, IMS Products for their dry break system making refueling quicker and safer, Slick Products off-road wash always getting the muck off after each race. Baja may have won this round but we will soon return for vengeance.
Romero Offroad Racing would like to extend its condolences to the family and friends of those that lost their lives in this grueling 48th Baja 500.
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