2019 NORRA M1K Bronco Build

Team Todo En

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Nice seeing the racer back on the road for sure! It truly is an obsessive compulsive Bronco disorder, isn't it? 😄 I enjoyed seeing the vids that Mrs. Shark took on Baja Bronco Adventures page. I was hoping you amigos would make it to the 500 minus the racer. Well then, I'll see you in April!
 

cavebiker

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Oh Wow it doesn't get much better than this, Sic.
 

landshark

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Well time to get to it, only 4 months until race time :)

Have a list of to-do’s but not many major lifts this year.

Mike and I have been working on organizing and focusing our lists, first things we are checking off are the shield mounts for the driver and passenger. Be nice to have some rock and wind deflection as anything over 70 cranks on our necks. We of course will be replacing the solid visors with some clear lexan just a little wider and taller.

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We are adding a 2nd battery to our setup and building a “shelf” to cover/protect them and to act as a shelf for our cooler, tool bag etc.

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We had some issues with the transmission barfing throughout the high speed stuff, so we added a catch tank that will allow the transmission fluid to expand and drain back to the C4

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We will start sanding the Bronco down this week to get ready for primer and paint!


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

TaylorAnderson31

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love this Bronco, see you guys down there.
 

landshark

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Well we are all prepped and ready to race... for October 😢

Actually, I am eyeing a couple of races this summer here in the states that I think we might attend but we will wait and see how things shake out in the next few weeks.

Lots of little improvements done, we learned allot from last years race. We also built and installed a fresh race prepped C4 and transfer case and will keep the previous setup as our backup.

I did find out why our Lowrance GPS/Compass started acting screwy after our repairs. Apparently the repairs we did to the roll cage created a magnetic field across the roll cage top. I scanned the top of the cage with a magnetic field detector and its off the charts where the roll cage runs. The GPS/Compass is off by 159 degrees. I compensated via the Lowrance for now but would love to get rid of that magnetic field eventually.


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Hopefully we can get out and social distance ourselves in a month or so locally and have some fun in the racer.


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jeff

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I did find out why our Lowrance GPS/Compass started acting screwy after our repairs. Apparently the repairs we did to the roll cage created a magnetic field across the roll cage top. I scanned the top of the cage with a magnetic field detector and its off the charts where the roll cage runs. The GPS/Compass is off by 159 degrees. I compensated via the Lowrance for now but would love to get rid of that magnetic field eventually.

I wonder if one of those 110v demagnetizers would be enough to degauss the roof panel or roll cage? Might be worth a shot.

Aloha
 

landshark

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2020 BITD Silver State 300 - #4535 Race Bronco recap
Sharing our last race recap as someone might find it interesting -

As most things this year, the 2020 #silverstate300 was an interesting race, cut short by a forest fire, a downed chopper (everyone walked away) and a 48 year old drove a 48 year old Ford Bronco through some of the most torn up race course ever. We might not have been the fastest but we were the oldest and didn’t finish last. First in class.

The Bronco is actually mostly stock, built to race the NORRA Mexican 1000 in Baja Mexico in the Pioneer class we are required to run a stock suspension setup with original suspension points, Dana 44 front, rear ford 9 inch, stock size rear leafs (length and width) stock coil buckets, stock radius arms and limited to a single 2" reservoir shock at each corner. In addition we have to run a Ford small block, original transmission and transfer case as it was offered from Ford so in our case we are running a 351w stroked to a 408, C4 transmission and Dana20. There are obviously a few things we can upgrade and the additional safety items, which we take very seriously. But overall its probably more Stock than most race vehicles and even production class racers out there.

I knew going into this years Silver State 300 (SS300) the course would be tough, there were almost 300 vehicles starting ahead of us and a bunch are running 40" tires which as you can imagine plow massively deep ruts through the majority of the race course. Undeterred our 72 was prepped and we stepped up our tire game this race and crammed 35 inch BFG KM3's under it to help us out and glad we did!

We traveled from Denver to the oven known as Las Vegas on Thursday, the day before tech, and arrived before sundown to do some quick prep for the next days safety and tech inspection before grabbing a good dinner and a good nights sleep. The next day we sprinted to registration so that we could get through tech early in the day before it got really hot. Tech went fairly smoothly, we have a few things to address but nothing major, we were good to go. We spent the rest of the day checking fluids, zip tying stuff to various parts of the Bronco, taking care of a leaking rear axle seal and a broken leaf spring retainer that had been diligently bailing wired from the last years NORRA (apparently the crew didn't appreciate my bailing wire retainment approach). We took a break during the heat of the day to relax, watch the drivers meeting and subsequent race changes from a lightening induced forest fire and then headed off to grab some In-n-Out before hitting the parking lot once more to do final prep and a quick light aiming.

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Saturday morning is race day. We grabbed a good breakfast and headed out with the rest of the racer north to Alamo Nevada. A quick last minute truck stop to fuel up the chase trucks and top off the racer and dump cans we headed for the starting line.


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The Forest Fire was very obvious in the mountains above the starting line and the wind certainly wasn't helping the efforts.

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We knew we would be one of the last off the line and as it turns out we were third from last - which was just fine by me. To finish this race you have to keep above a 30 mph average pace. There are closing times for each pit and the goal for us was to run a consistent smart pace.

Waiting for our start time we did last minute prepping and relaxed staying well hydrated. The start of the race was around 3500 feet and it was probably mid 90's, so not quite as hot as Vegas (108F) but still hot. The course would take us up to 7800 feet and back to 4000, so we anticipated the first three hours to be pretty warm in the Bronco and would keep an eye on our temps as we hadn't raced in this warm of weather, even in Baja.

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We lined up behind a ocean of Golf Carts (and some Jeepspeed folks) - basically as far as you could see, never seen so many side-by-sides in all my life and they certainly were not stock, the photo below doesn't do it justice...

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We left the start line right at 1:30PM, almost two hours behind the first "Trick Truck" (Trophy Truck in Baja, its a trademark thing apparently) and quickly ran into a bunch of stuck trucks in silt. The Bronco easily maneuvered around the stuck trucks and silt and we settled in to some nice power line roads to get up to speed and a feel for the course. About 10 miles in, we noticed our Transmission temps creeping up. We have a pretty beefy transmission cooler and after racing 4 days straight we never saw temps above 195F in Baja, even running long high speed stretches. As we kept up the pace were now at 220F within a few miles. We slowed down and ran conservative to the first Pit at race mile 27 or so, we didn't have anyone at this pit so we cruised through and slowed our pace as the transmission came down to around 200F. A few miles later we hit another long straight and opened the bronco up, sure enough our transmission temp quickly pegged out ~250F. We were pretty worried as we were really not pushing the Bronco very hard and so far the course was relatively easy. We knew the hard stuff was coming up and we would have a tough time keeping our finish pace if the transmission was overheating. Again, we slowed down for the next 10 miles or so and finally got into some technical narrow race course through the mesquite trees and through some very rocky and torn up gulleys. The transmission finally decided to cool off. At Race mile 74 we meet up with our chase team for the first time at Pit 2, for a quick 1 min stop for a visual and off we went.

The next 15 miles were pretty rough, huge rocks, huge ruts, deep river bed silt and did i mention rocks? Yes, rocks.. lots of them, it looked like the bigger trucks threw dynamite out the windows as they went by. At mile 100 we started to hear some clunking from the suspension. We took some pretty big hits and thought we had thrashed the rear end or drive shaft. We pulled over and crawled under the bronco looking for the obvious stuff and just couldn't find anything. I knew we had about 20 miles to go to the next pit and the Bronco was still running and driving great so we jumped back in and headed on down the course to Pit 3.

We radioed ahead to our crew about the suspension issues, the banging was more of a hammering and in time with certain cycles of the suspension. I knew it was on the drivers side and it was somewhere near the front. I suspected we had blown an air bump or lost a bushing. Pulling into pit 3 the crew immediately saw the front axle moving back and forth and sure enough we had lost the drivers side radius arm bushing completely, there was nothing left of the front half and the back half was already half gone.

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The crew quickly assessed the situation, dug through the parts bins we started to formulate a fix, possibly using used bearings and random poly bushings, luckily digging further through the spare parts bins we found a used set of Radius arm bushings! The guys lept into action strapping the front axle and pulling it forward to get the radius arm out of the mount - bushings in we noticed the passenger side was just about done but still in place. Time was ticking, each pit has a closing time and if you are not underway before it closes you are done. Additionally we were told that the fire has worsened and they had shortened the race, the finish line would be at Pit 7. We decided that the bushing could wait as we had a fuel stop with BFG at Pit 4 and we would swap the bushing there.

The next section seemed to be even rougher than the last as I tried to keep the passenger side axle from taking too big of hits. This section was filled with rocky washes with deep ruts and lots of high centering possibilities but we didn't have any issues and arrived at BFG pit 4. Taking on fuel and with the BFG folks help we got the passenger radius arm bushing swapped in and even a little time for a couple of new decals :)

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At this point we were told that the race was shortened once again - this time the finish would be at Pit 6, about 70 miles away. We decided to have the crew skip Pit 5 and we would just meet them at the finish, a bit of bummer but we enjoyed the last 70 miles as it was the best so far, lots of elevation changes from sandy washes then into the mountains (where we came across the helicopter crash from earlier) and then toward the end nice open roads and huge sweepers. We even got to run with our new light bar for a few of hours in the dark and with the temps dropping and faster course we were having a great time!

A couple miles before Pit 6 we rounded a corner and crossed the finish line, a quarter mile later we were greeted by the BITD crew, race tracker removed and then headed down the road to Pit 6 - where there wasn't a soul in sight...


We radioed our crew and were told they were a few miles down the road, apparently they were stopped from coming to the finish line - later found out there was allot of out bound traffic from the pit earlier and thats why they restricted two way traffic. So we headed off down the road and finally found them in a field, loaded up, had a beer and headed home.

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A huge shoutout to #bfgoodrichtires and the BFG pit support. They flat out rock, nothing better than seeing the big Red white and blue truck out there! Most of all i have to thank my crew - no way we would have finished with them.

Upon further investigation we found that the brand new rubber bushings that I had installed recently in the Racer had metal re-enforcements in them. The metal re-enforcements were discs that fatigued the bushings and acted like a razor blade and destroyed the bushing from the inside out. I know the vendor I bought them from doesn't make them and have reached out to them to let them know. I will be replacing the rubber bushings with poly AND keeping a spare set of polys as backup :)

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Thank for letting me bore you! We have a bunch of 360 degree 4K video we are reviewing from the race and some on course actions shots and will post up soon.
 

landshark

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I just posted some video from the race however it looks like we forgot to turn on the camera at the start line so only have the last 80 miles or so from Pit 4 which is where we replaced the passenger side radius arm bushing.

Also of note, this was a new camera mounting location and it didn't work out too well. The arm on the camera mount was too long and the mounting point on the aluminum roof flexed too much.

Video is horribly shaky and really tough to watch - so just warning ya!


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PHOTO CREDIT: @dirtnationmag and @logangallaghervisuals
 

landshark

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So after chatting with a few folks and they mentioned following this post I never updated it! i guess 2020 was a blur - We ended up doing Vegas to Reno in 2020 and Ran NORRA in 2021. I have lots of photos of both and a write up somewhere from Vegas to Reno that I will upload soon. In addition we have our eye on a race this November.. trying to get the pieces to fall into place to make it happen!
 

jon coleman

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radius arm pivot takes an Incredible amout of force, can you leggaly run a uniball type bearing setup in the pivot bracket?( its how we made the stone stock pivots live ,along with chro mo arms
 

landshark

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#4535 Vintage Bronco 2020 Vegas to Reno race report

I was really excited Best in the Desert was able to pull off the 2020 Vegas to Reno, it’s un-imaginable the amount of work it must of took to make it happen, a big salute to all the folks at Best in the Desert for making 2020 a little better!

I have been wanting to race Vegas to Reno for many years, however with the 2020 NORRA Mexican 1000 scheduled for October and the huge expense that it demands for our small team I wasn’t sure I could pull off Vegas to Reno in the same year. As things most things this year, NORRA canceled all plans for 2020, bummed for sure but it opened the door for us to race the 2020 BITD Vegas to Reno.

With lessons learned from the Silver State race we inspected the transmission, changed fluid, added a one-way valve into the cooling line and repaired the pinched hardlines which had led to our transmission issues. We removed the used/spare radius arm bushings that we replaced during the SS300 and put in new poly bushings. The stock rear housing was slightly bent since day one and I decided that it was time a new replacement, two weeks later and some patient welding I got the new housing tucked up underneath. Our brakes have always been sub-par so I spent some time to make some slight improvements, made sure there were no high points in the system, moved the proportion valve, added some length to the brake pushrod and replaced the soft lines with shorter ones then bleed the crap out of the entire system. Better, but not great.

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The trip West from Denver was pretty uneventful, a hundred-mile detour to pick up my co-driver due to I-70 being shutdown (Wild Fires) and then some long hot miles into Utah and Nevada. On this trip I was fortunate to have two great friends with a brand new F350 towing the race Bronco, saved our bacon and allowed both trucks to travel lighter and faster (and a little cooler). We arrived in Vegas in the evening and found a spot next to the Gaucho Marks Bronco, then headed into the host hotel to grab some grub.

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The next morning, we got up early and headed to registration so we could scoot through inspection. Inspection turned out to be uneventful and we spent a few hours prepping some small things on the Bronco and noticed there was a screw in the front tire. A quick trip to BFG to patch and plug then we installed it back on the racer. After lunch, I headed off to grab a few things before the race. A couple hours later in North Vegas my chase van started to throw some interesting codes and wasn’t happy. I finally got it back to the Hotel parking lot and we diagnosed a bad alternator. Awesome, nothing like changing an alternator on a diesel van in 115F heat in a hotel parking lot the day before racing 15+ hours. Anyway, four hours later and a few gallons of sweat, the new alternator was in and issues seemingly resolved and we headed in for some dinner and rest.

Race Day - Up early for breakfast and a couple of quick stops for last minute items we headed to the start line near Amargosa Valley Nevada. This was a new start location for the Vegas to Reno race with most of the first 50+ miles unused since races in the 80’s or 90’s. We pulled up a few hours early, it was hot (really hot), and you could see that dust was going to be spectacular. Fun.

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We unloaded and headed to staging and sat with the rest of the vintage class awaiting our starting time. At 12:28pm we left the line.


As expected, we entered the soft stuff and dust right from the start. We settled into a nice conservative pace the first few miles to try and avoid as many of the soft holes and gotchas as we could then made the first turn north.

We weaved our way through the first 30 miles, passing a few folks and trying to stay ahead of the dust. The ruts seemed bottomless and we quickly learned our narrow track didn’t fit, so began the start of the world’s longest slot car race. I knew from looking over the course in Google Earth there could be options outside the main track in the new section. This proved to be true. I took advantage of any alternative lines that seemed to keep us out of trouble.

Shortly before Pit 1 shifting became a chore, it seemed the transmission shift lever was in a bind or the cable was pinched. Since our belly had been on the ground as much as our tires, I suspected something was stuck in the transmission linkage, it took so much force to shift and I had no feeling for what gear it was in, but it was still shifting just fine, we radioed it in and pulled into Pit 1.

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Arriving at Pit1, the guys didn’t find any issues with the linkage and it didn’t seem to affect the gear changes so off we went, time was ticking. Little known to me, the new rear differential housing was slightly wider and during the first 15 miles compressed and crushed our exhaust at the rear crossmember which moved the exhaust up into our shift cable which in turned shrink wrap itself...

Leaving Pit 1 and into the ruts, they never end! I was still trying to get a feel of how to drive our narrow track in these soft ruts and was riding the berm on either side of the track in rear wheel drive. That quickly escalated into a near disaster when the rear end sucked down into the ruts which pitched us end around and both left side wheels dug in and we nearly took a nap. Stuck in the center of the course ass deep in silt, enveloped in a cloud of silt, I engaged the front driveline and floored it. Unbelievably the bronco pulled itself out and we headed north, lesson learned: rutted silt = 4WD for us.

We continued on at a good steady pace to Pit 2, where we did a quick visual and plodded on. We were navigating more ridiculous silt just before Pit 3 (Cottontail) and came up on #6003, they were buried in the silt and both of them looked ready to collapse we stopped and gave them a tug out. They went on to place 3rd in Trophylite!

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Arriving at Pit 3, we took on fuel, an air filter, fluid check, water and quick snacks. We had a good pace going and wanted to create as much of a time cushion as possible.

At mile 145 we squeezed through the road underpass with about 3” to spare and did some not so elegant rock crawling over the boulders on the exit.

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About 8 miles before Pit 4 we happened upon another truck which was sideways stuck in the silt with busted steering it was a really tight spot and just a crappy location. We stopped and after a few tries got them pulled off the course.

At Pit 4 we stopped briefly to grab some more water and the crew noticed there was some fluid leaking from what we thought was the power steering reservoir. Decided to wait on it and continued on.

This section of the course was interesting, not sure if it had ever been run before but again more silt, more rocks then we ended up on a salt flat or dry lake for a short while and then, guess what? More deep rutted silt! There was no wind whatsoever and the silt just hung in the air. We had no choice but to slow down, just too many other racers stuck or broke to take chances. A couple miles after the lake bed we popped out of the dust and saw #2920 upside down on its roof off the course. We pulled over as I saw movement inside and I helped them out of the vehicle as my co-driver put out a little fire that kept popping up out back. We made sure they had contact with their team, BITD, water and food and headed off. I felt a little guilty for not pulling them upright but our time was ticking. A couple miles later we saw a BITD truck headed their way and that made us feel better. The ladies of #2920 made it to the finish with 30 seconds to spare – incredible!

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At Pit 5 we removed the passenger headlight, it was trying to stay in Tonopah and diagnosed the power steering leak as a steering box sector shaft seal. A quick PS top off and off we went into the dusk into a brilliant sunset.

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It didn’t take long to make it to Pit 6 and although our crew didn’t make it due to some chase truck issues, so we cruised through. The next 50 miles where a mix of sandy/silty pole lines and rocky dips and rises. Shortly thereafter we started to get a curious misfire. We racked our brains on what it could be, carb issues? Ignition? Fuel? Plug wires? The engine was running really well but throttling at low rpms made it backfire and jerk then it would be fine. I tried switching ignitions and coils, then tried switching fuel pumps but it made no difference.

Right before Pit 7 we started to smell something burning, we both started to try to think would could be going on and if it was related to our PS issue – maybe a pump burning up or maybe related to the ignition issue. A few miles later we passed Ryan Arciero’s burnt-out trophy truck, a bunch of folks were trying to drag it onto a flatbed - what a bummer.

We had planned a major stop with BFG at Pit 7, seeing their semi out there was spirit lifting! Our steering seemed fine but there was a leak somewhere so to be safe we decided to swap the steering box, take on fuel, a new air filter and then troubleshoot our ignition issue. Turned out the steering box was cracked and the misfire was a burnt plug wire. BFG made some quick work of both, got us fueled up and away we went.

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While in Pit 7, I was told my chase van was giving the crew fits. Apparently, it was shutting off periodically and they could not find the issue. Let it sit or wave a wand and it would seemingly start right back up. No Bueno, I was super bummed as not only was this an extra pain in the ass for the crew, but we were also out in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night.

Leaving Pit 7 the Bronco felt better than ever, back into the rutted slot track… We are a track width of around 58 inches following hundreds of vehicles with 80+ inch track widths... some 90+. Most of our race consisted of riding in one rut and then the other or straddling the center – this made for some interesting corners. No idea how that VW made it but they do it in Baja too – incredible.

Pit 8 was a roll through and then we headed up into the mountains to about 8000 feet and back down to Pit 9 which I believe we also rolled through, the pits started to blur at this point, but I do remember the silt… so much silt and I think this section had the endless pole line road which was rough at night.

About 10 miles from Pit 10 our upper lights went out…

Pulling into Pit 10 – 369 miles. The Chase Van, which had all of our spare parts was sitting in the town of Hawthorne and didn’t make it to the pit. Luckily we just needed fuel, some water and a fuse. After digging out the silt inside the Bronco we found a fuse had blown and swapped it out. We tested the upper lights, they finally popped on but then our front lights stopped working. Well, we don’t have time for shenanigans so off we go, if we lose the upper lights we will have to stop and figure it out since that’s the only lights we have left working, but until then we need to keep moving.

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The plan was to do a final fuel dump at Pit 12 and head to the finish line for all. Hopefully the van would make it, needless to say it did not. So, the plan was to nurse the Van to Fallon, and have the other chase truck fuel us at 12 then help the van along to Fallon and rendezvous in Dayton – to the finish line.

Leaving Pit 10 we made some great time along the huge graded road leading to a massive mine. About mile 385 we dropped into a wash and then our silt friend showed up again. Just before Pit 11 we turned into a silt submarine, Silt waves crashed through the windshield opening, through the hood cracks and through the floorboards. We ate the stuff. It seemed literally bottomless and a few times it just turned was dark. I dropped into 2nd and floored it. We kept going.

Remote pit 11 – 400 miles, we kept a promise to the remote BFG crew there and honked at them on our way by.

Arriving at Pit 12 we dumped what fuel we has left into the Bronco and dumped more water and caffeinated whatever into us and pushed on. 75 miles to go.

I don’t remember much between Pit 12 and Pit 13, although it did rain earlier, and at least the dust disappeared and the mud appeared. The good news is that it finally cooled down. It had been unbelievable hot almost the entire race up until about pit 10, even all through the night it just remained hot all the time.

We passed through Pit 13 and headed down into a dry wash, then onto an old paved road and started up into the last tough rocky mountain section leading to the finish. It was obvious it had rained allot here as there were large puddles and previous racers had graciously covered the rocks in mud, you couldn’t distinguish little blobs of mud from rocks and we slowed way down picking our way through the mess and over the summit. We broke out of the trees at the summit into a rocky muddy mess and rounded a corner to see the lights of Dayton Nevada. We had just passed mile 504 and knew we just had to keep it on the road and finish. A few more tight corners coming down the mountain and a quick dash across the finish line we were done.

At the finish we dropped into the rodeo grounds and stopped at the BITD trailer to exchange high fives and receive our finishing pin and then onto the finisher’s platform.

I had no idea what time it was, but I did think just for a silly moment that we had somehow beat the sun and it was just about down. That’s when the announcer said congrats, you made it just before sun up! Ya, that was the sun coming up you dummy… Anyway, we made it, 5:25 am.



Once again, this is never a one-person effort and as always it takes everyone in a team to make it a success and most importantly make it fun. I truly could not have started or finished this race without all of the team members who give up their family time, vacation and sanity to do this stupid stuff. While not everything went according to plan, and it never does, almost everything worked out in the end.

A huge shout out to USMag Wheels. Light weight and tough, plus they just look right at home on an early Bronco.

I also would like to give a shout out to BFG, once again not only did our KM3’s stay trouble free the whole race, but their pit support is the absolute best, they aren’t even one of our sponsors – but we did get a couple of free stickers last race, so I guess that counts.

Jason’s Automotive here in Arvada Colorado helps us out every race and Jason is an early bronco owner as well. His cage saved our bacon in Baja last year as did the rest of his fabrication skills. Highly recommend Jason if you’re in the Denver area.

Nick at Nicks Tricks – running his real HD shackles, they have held up perfectly! Nick was also a great resource for a few issues I was troubleshooting before the race.

Wildhorses 4x4 – one of big three Early Bronco suppliers with excellent customer support and they always go above and beyond the call of duty. When our radius arms bushings failed, they stepped up and helped us out with a few sets to test. So far so good on the new ones!

And Last but not least, my beautiful wife, who puts up with my endless nonsense! Racing is so dumb.

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