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#1350 Baja 1000 Swanty Racing race report.

Rory

Crayola Killer
#1
First off, let me go on the record and say YES, we know we were the only ProTruck entered. So, most people would consider that a shallow win since we weren't racing against anyone. I must say i have thought that way before, that was until I started racing and started to understand what it takes JUST to get to the finish line. This Baja 1000 was no joke. The section between 380 and 480 was pretty bad and the silt was the worst I have EVER seen in desert racing (IMHO). Finishing this race was a victory in itself and with that i am very proud of the team and in the way we did it.

Basically, getting ready for this race was relatively easy compared to what I'm use to. Collins Motorsports was handling the prep of the ProTruck so that was a huge weight off our backs. Cody Swanty (Truck owner) and his crew were handling the chase trucks and spare while i was taking care of Logistics. The truck was loaded up and ready to go on Sunday night as we left first thing Monday morning...

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The plan was to head to Baja on Monday morning, then prerun our sections on Tuesday and Wednesday. We pretty much kept that plan with only a couple minor set backs..

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BTW, that cop was SUPER cool, fellow off road enthusiast and gave me a fix it ticket instead of a speeding ticket with a trailer (73 in a 55). Cody was going to do the start to race mile 480 and i was going to do 480 to the finish. Prerunning went great, only a few areas on my section to worry about but we found ways around the bad stuff if it got any worse. Cody said that there were a few bad spots too but the silt beds at 380-ish to 405-ish were going to get ugly. I was glad he was going to do them instead of me...haha.

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Cody and Ken Devault...

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Myself and Wes Green (my co-rider)...

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With prerunning out of the way it was time to push the truck through Tech inspection. I must say I like the 2 day tech/contingency, sure makes it a lot easier on the teams...

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Around this time myself and the pacific side of the race team headed down to San Quintin so we didn't have to deal with raceday traffic and rest up for the long day and night....and day again ahead of us.

Raceday was upon us and the truck took off around 12:50pm. We figured a 35mph average and would run our normal pace which was about 75%. The truck was completely happy with Cody and Ken in the truck, they made their way through traffic and never missed a beat. They got to BFG Pit 1 with no issues, just the hanging dust and continued to San Felipe.

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Photo credit Joel Lopez Romero

As the course made it's way over to San Felipe the sun fell behind the mountains and the KC's were turned on to light up the night....which they did...

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Photo credit Elliot Garcia Garces

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Another pit spot at BFG pit 2, a full load of VP race fuel and off they went towards Cocos. Cody and Ken were having a trouble free run. Meanwhile on the pacific side of the race course, my crew was getting ready at race mile 380 to see the truck at BFG Pit 3. the plan was to look the truck over and meet them again at 480 for the drivers change. Well, just like any Baja race, there is always a curve ball thrown at you. Seems the San Felipe side was pretty tough and the boss decided he had enough and told me to get ready to take over at 380. Not really the news I was wanting to hear as the stories coming from the silt beds at pit 3 were NOT good. On top of that I didn't prerun that section. Oh well, when life gives you lemons...haha. Anyways, the truck came in, we made a quick stop, we left Kenny in with me since he DID prerun with Cody and maybe he would be able to help guide me through it. We took off into the darkness of Baja as I had no idea what I had in store for me.

The dust was hanging just enough that the top lights were no good. The bottom lights were ok but not throwing enough light far enough ahead to see what was coming. It was all silt but not deep, just minor to moderate silt until right around the 385 mark. I barely had enough time to get use to the truck and now we were in the middle of it. Ken and I were working our way through the silt pretty good, then we came upon a cliff and a UTV stuck at the bottom and off to the side. I stopped and that was it. Soooo, race mile 390 we the first place we got stuck. After 20-30 minutes of digging we made it out, but only made it a mile and buried the truck pretty good. This would happen over the next 18 miles, a total of about 6 or 7 times, i lost count.

Every time it was the same: Jack up under the trailing arms, throw brush under tires, put maxx traxx in front of rear tires, dig out rearend, walk 20-30 yards in front of the truck for a hard packed section to park the truck and retrieve everything.

I felt really bad for Ken, he was exhausted and had been in the truck for approx 13 hours up to that point. He soldiered through it and kept working. I could tell he needed a break so i would grab the shovel from him and tell him to relax for a minute...

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The problem wasn't the silt beds really, there were other lines, the problem was you couldn't SEE them until it was too late. I passed MANY trails to the left or the right but before i could react I dropped into a silt bed.....after that happens you are just along for the ride. Towards the end i was barley EVER on the race course, blazing through brush, cactus and virgin terrain, stupidly i might add. This is the stuff you always tell yourself not to do because you don't know whats on the other side (rock, ditch, cliff), but we didn't want to risk getting stuck again. Hard to explain unless you were out there with us. It took us 3 hours to do 20 miles. The rest of the course to race mile 480 was tight, technical, rocky, silty and littered with a BUNCH of race cars and trucks. When we finally made it to race mile 480 it was almost 6 am, we were 3 hours behind schedule.

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Ken was out, Wes Green got in and they put a new air cleaner on the truck and set up for BFG Pit 4 at race mile 530-ish. I was finally able to use 3rd gear and stretch the legs on the protruck. The truck was running great and never missed a beat. We had a clean run to San Quintin and then noticed the oil pressure was getting low when we made it to Camalu. Turns out we had burned a little oil in the silt beds and soft sand so we dumped some oil in the truck and then the truck wouldn't start. Starter took a dump so we changed that then took off for BFG Pit 5.

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Another trouble free run to race mile 677 and stopped for more fuel and check the oil again, then off to the beach run and Erindira. Again, no other problems and the truck was running great. We made it over the hill and to Santo Tomas for our last once over on the truck and headed towards the last technical section on the race course....Urapan. We picked our way through as to make sure we wouldn't have any problems because it is so hard to get anyone in there to help you. We made it in pretty good time, crossed the HWY at Ojos and the final stretch in. Just like anyone this close to the finish line, you thought you kept hearing stuff going on with the truck but it was all good.

We made the last corner to the finish line and it was a HUGE relief. That was by far the hardest race I have ever entered and the silt was like nothing i had ever seen. I was glad the crew made it to the finish to help celebrate with us, what a run.

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I can't thank the crew enough. They worked their tails off, everyone got along great, NO DRAMA, and everyone came home in one piece. What more could you ask for?!?!

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Thanks to Cody and Jacey for inviting me along, racing with this crew is a lot of fun. Also, a HUGE thank you to Collins Motorsports. We did the entire Baja 1000 and the only time we put a wrench to the truck was for a new air cleaner, starter and some motor oil....THATS IT! No flat tires, no wheel issues, as a matter of fact we finished with the same wheels and tires we started on and all the fenders are still on the truck!

Thanks again to all of our sponsors:

Martin Swanty Dodge (Kingman, AZ)
BFGoodrich Tires
Method race wheels
Collins Motorsports
Kroyer Racing Engines
PCI Race Radios
MagLOCK
Ironclad
Racers Only
UPR
Ntense Tees
VP racing fuel
King shocks

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MTPyle

Well-Known Member
#2
Great write up. Thanks for sharing.

It was so ugly from 380-480. I think we took over 5 hours to get thru that area. I started the race and we did driver change at 480 so I was really tired by the time we got out of there. We had a hard time deciding if it was better to have a fresh driver for that bad section or a driver that was settled in the truck but tired. Not sure we made the right choice but I don’t think my son who drove the second half could have made it if he had to go thru 380-480.

You are right the biggest challenge was visibility. With the Fog and dust it made it impossible to see what was coming. It was our first Baja 1000 and we didn’t pre run so we had no idea what we were in for.

Mike
 

Rory

Crayola Killer
#6
Hey guys, if you are completely bored, have no job, shacked up in a hospital bed in a full body cast and have no life, I have just the videos for you. Here is the first of 30, yes, you heard that correctly, 30 videos from the in car of the #1350 Swanty's Racing Protruck. Keep in mind we were in a class by ourselves so you won't see a lot of crazy stuff behind the wheel. It is good stuff for guys thinking about racing Baja one of these days, it gives you an idea of the terrain. The GoPro Hero camera makes it a lot smoother, and slower looking if you ask me, I didn't think we were driving that slow but maybe we were...hahahah. Anyways, type in "2018 Baja 1000 Swanty Racing" on YouTube to get the rest of the videos. The videos start out with Part 2 since Part 1 was a 35mph speed zone.....a little TOO boring. Enjoy....

 

y2kbaja

Well-Known Member
#7
I was bored last weekend and found them. I was looking for the rm380 silt beds but didn't find them on your videos.
 

Rory

Crayola Killer
#8
Yea, the 64 gig card ran out at race mile 160-ish. We found the other card when we pitted again at race mile 535. I'm kinda glad we didnt get that section on video, i'd hate to relive that painful memory.....jajaja
 
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