About 6,000 Feet Above the Sonoran Valley
Only a bit over a hundred miles long, Special Stage One set the bar high. Nearly 6,000 feet in fact. It almost came as a surprise, leaving the hour-long liaison through a rolling desert valley to end up scaling a mountain. The turn was quick; the climb was steep; and the change in scenery was staggering. Sagebrush and saguaro gave way to granite, gravel and boulders. An already narrow path became much less welcoming when the road slimmed down to two-track and wound its way up to the summit in a Zed pattern. Ricky Brabec, last year’s Yokohama Sonora Rally winner, crossed the starting line sporting the #1 plate with 2018 champion, Skyler Howes #2, and BAJA 1000 winner, Colton Udall #4, hot on his trail. In the end, the stage gave the athletes and observers alike a triumphant finish just outside of San Felipe de Jesus. What was once a slippery, sandy wash cutting through the route had been transformed by heavy rains into a waist-deep...