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724F Baja 400 Report - Jeep Gladiator

Dave Cole 4454

Well-Known Member
We have been chasing the SCORE 7F Class Championship all year in the Savvy Offroad 2020 Jeep Gladiator. After an auspicious start at the San Felipe 48 (evidently most of the other teams were told they were racing 250 miles), we barely missed a class victory by finishing 12 minutes outside of max time at the 500. Coming into the inaugural Lucerna 400, we needed to break the ice and bring her home for a finish.

The Jeep JT was built at the beginning of the year for Erik Miller (KOH Champ) and Robby Gordon to complete the EMC Challenge, finishing 5th. Dan Fresh and I have been campaigning the truck in SCORE. It is a 2020 Jeep JT Gladiator with stock 3.6 motor, stock 8 speed auto and stock transfer case.

Savvy Offroad upgraded to Dynatrac 60s, Fox Shocks, Raceline Wheels, and Falken Tires. Other than that she's bone stock including the XM Radio, heated steering wheel and AC. Even running the stock radiator we have never gotten warm, even running the AC in San Felipe.

Dan started the 400 and quickly made it the front of the four car 7F field. Running a conservative, but clean, pace Dan and his codriver, Mike Kim, handed the car off at the crossover road with a 30 minute lead.

Dan's last words to me at the drivers change were "dont put it in 4, it makes bad noises" and off we went. 2wd was more than enough until RM 260ish, the big silty climb had two ledges. Matt "Texas Jesus" Fallis jumped out and locked the hubs. Dan was right, there was definitely something operating outside of factory specs.

We made it up and continued on, and with only a drivers error flat back left, made it to Urupan at 330 with a 90 minute lead over Justin Park in the 714F Ranger.

Thats when things got a little weird. At RM 360 we found the practical limits of a High Pinion Rear D60 gear set.

40 miles to go, Broken rear R&P and a hobbled front end which turned out to be a bad carrier bearing, and a max speed of speed of 9 MPH we started playing the 'what if' game, did we push too hard? Where do we pull off course at...etc. We made it to Crew Chief Johnny Rocha and lead mechanic Logan Slykhuis just before the meadow. There was nothing that we could fix, we had to keep pushing. Not getting over 35 MPH for the last 40 miles and probably averaging 12...me made it to finish in just over 13 hours
..first in class.

I have been fortunate to log a few miles in baja. I have won a few Norras and podiumed a few times in SCORE, but this was my first SCORE win. Huge thanks to SAVVY Offroad, our team, families, and partners.

Time to get ready for the 1000. It will be another first, my son Bailey will join Dan and I for our first race together in Baja.

 

Dezertpilot

Well-Known Member
Awesome, congrats! How does she ride? Let's see some close up shots/build piks.
 

Crusty Shellback

Well-Known Member
As they say, to Finish First, First you must Finish.
Awsome effort by you and the team. Congrats on the win.
 
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