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NORRA 2017 Legend Buggy #129 Race Report

LantanaTX

Well-Known Member
First off I want to congratulate NORRA on putting on a great race! with 100 more entries than they have ever had before I was wondering how NORRA would handle 260 entries. I can tell you they did great!!! Also new this year was a stop in San Filipe which broke the previous day 1 in half and the use of Stella. Both of these changes seemed well received by all.

I flew to CA on the 19th just 3 days before we were to leave for Mexico. Our Funco still had some prep left to do and the Feldkamp truck was still getting put back together after blowing its head gaskets. Dave was swamped with the truck and thank you Kevin Conlin for helping to finish the prep on the Funco while I made the trip to Dana Point to pick up all the graphics and decals from Jim Richardson. By midnight Friday we were packed and ready to go with a 4am wake up.

5am ready to pull out of the shop




Saturday - Contingency

We left the shop at 5am and breezed through the border arriving in Ensenada at 9am. We probably should have come down Friday because we ended up very busy with Tech inspection, Stella installation, Contingency, Stella Training, Registration and Drivers meeting. We did manage to hit our favorite taco place which was the most important. One of the coolest things was seeing T Shirts for sale with our car on the back.

Entering Contingency


In line behind our teammate Bubby Feldkamp. This picture shows how small our car is!


Beautiful Bottle of Tequila was so nice I didn't realize this was the back of the bottle


Drivers Meeting was Standing room only


I had to buy this T shirt!!!


Sunday Race Day 1 Ensenada to San Filipe

We stayed at the hotel that had the most off road racing history, The San Nicolas. I was still on Texas time and was the first to wake up, so I went to check to see if the start times were posted and the only other person up that early was Lynn Chenowth.



They weren't showing the legend Buggy Class much respect and our start time was 12 noon, 200 and something! We also had an interesting race in a race as I had bet Rory our little funco with stock VW suspension could beat their Larry Ragland 400+hp Porsche powered Monster with twice the suspension travel to San Filipe on time. After making the bet, Rory called me a few days later questioning the bet because I might put Jake Johnson in the car all day. I really wasn't sure what our plan was at that time, but I thought regardless I might have made a bad bet. This was truly a David vs. Goliath race to San Filipe. So since their was money on the line, I put Jake in the car for Day 1. He was then also scheduled to drive day 3 with me driving 2, 4, and 5 which would give us both about equal seat time.

When the results were in dust settled Jake had smoked the Ragland car and most of the rest of the field! We finished day 1 32nd overall with a 20 minute lead for the Legend era overall and almost an hour lead in the Legend Buggy class! The car was awesome and only needed to be washed.

Cleaned and ready for Day 2


Day 2 San Filipe to Bay of L.A.

This day consisted of three stages. Thanks to Jake's awesome effort on Day 1 we were starting 32nd. It was fun being at the start and only seeing the really fast stuff there including some TT specs starting behind me! I was hoping they would use the Stella and not their bumper on me!! The first stage was sandy and a ton of woops! Nothing slows our car down like woops. I pretty much held my own but got passed cleanly by 4 modern race cars on the last long set of woops before the end of the stage. The second stage is when things went bad. Not far from the start we dropped into a wash. The exit of the wash was hidden by a sharp left turn behind a huge shrub/tree. The course was lined with large boulders and as soon as I took that blind left turn I was in very deep ruts and could feel myself getting high centered. I managed to get the front tires completely out to the left but my right rear dug into the left side rut and I was stuck! I looked for locals for a push but NO LOCALS! I activated the Stella as I was in a very bad spot and didn't want to get run over while jacking the car out. After getting the car lifted out of the whole it was in I rolled about 8 boulders out to the way to give me a clean shot out of the wash. A little later on, I got a left rear flat and after coming to a stop noticed some guys under a shade tent about 10 feet in front of me. What luck! It was Mag 7!! I moved 10' forward and let them practice their NASCAR pit stop. The 3rd stage was went well but this stage had quite a bit of narrow single track lined by thick cactus. The competitors before me had smashed into so much cactus that it was all over the course and I now had no spare tire. The only close call was when I was running a washed out rutty course and saw some smooth graded just to my left. I took it and it suddenly dropped down and I was starring at what looked like a wall. I shot up it and could only see the sky. Up in the air the car leveled out and seemed to stop before dropping straight down on all fours. the car wasn't even moving after I landed! I thought I might have four flats but then took off again with no issue. While our overall lead evaporated to about -3minutes, we still had a larger lead in class.

Finish at BOLA


Day 3 BOLA to Loreto - Disaster strikes

Day 3 was Jakes day to drive. We went on to the P-Mex in San Ignatio for the planned pit stop. Mark Stahl came in and I walked over to say hi. He looked at me very concerned and asked If "I wanted news or had news"? Not knowing what he was talking about he told me that Jake had crashed but was out of the car and appeared to be OK. We started back tracking and figuring out how to retrieve him when we saw him coming down the highway with the right tire bent waaay out. One thing that is important is to know the rules. We should have limped and checked into the next stage and then either 3 wheeled it 170 miles or put it on the trailer. The car looked done so we just put it on the trailer which got us a 30 minute penalty which would haunt us on Day 5. Jake was on a high speed straight just catching the next guys dust. GPS showed straight as an arrow and Jake went for the pass. He never saw the Chicane and launched the car off a 3' berm into boulders. Evidently this chicane took out other competitors as well. When Jake got back on the course the MAV TV class 1 car and the Bob Gordon/Arciero car were there torn up and getting retrieved.

We trailered to Loreto to see our good friend who opened up his shop for us. He had a similar beam that was bent on the opposite side. He suggested cutting off what we need and section it into our beam. At midnight the car was fixed and ready for more battle.

Charging to the finish with excessive toe out


Cutting off the damaged area


What was left of the donor beam after we took what we needed


Day 4 Loreto to La Paz

This was a good day for the car but not the driver. After working late into the night to fix the car, I woke up with the killer disease. After 4 trips to the toilet, I thought "I am good to race as there couldn't be anything left inside me!". Well about 15 cars from the start I had to jump out of the car and run into the La Mission to doo a little business. When I came out, our Loreto friend Rick Stiles, handed me a pill and some water and told me it should help. And off I raced! The run was fun and uneventful except that I was worried about dehydration from the killer disease and needed to pee! No problem, I probably had the same catheter that malfunctioned for Jeff Furrier. I went to go and could feel a lot of pressure as a water balloon seemed to be filling up between my legs. All of a sudden it burst. At the end of the stage I was feeling the killer disease again and had Jake take the car into La Paz. I jumped out hoping Jake would just think the black vinyl seat was covered in sweat. I took off the fire suit and threw on some clean shorts so I could sit on jake's leather seats in the chase truck. later we stopped for a pee break and noticed I smelled like urine. I learned you should never rinse yourself with water that just came out of a Yeti Ice Chest! I am pretty sure my scream could be heard in La Paz! Well it was overall a good day as we were the fastest Legend Era car that day. Bud Feldkamp took the team out for an amazing dinner where I met Harry Jackman. Harry and I made a deal on our car so that we can now start prepping the Chenowth for the Baja 1000.

Dinner for the 129 and 829 teams (The Feldkamp way... not too many people)


With Bud Feldkamp and Harry Jackman


Day 5 La Paz to San Jose del Cabo

I was feeling better but still had the killer disease and drove the entire last day. We started the final day about 27 minutes out of the class lead in second. Now I was thinking about the 30 minute penalty which could have been avoided if we had limped to the check in after the Day 3 crash. The day was too short to make up 30 minutes so I went big picture and had a nice Sunday cruise to secure 2nd. I think the 3rd place car had a similar amount of time to make up on us. Here are a few pictures from the day and evening.

Climbing the mountain outside of La Paz


Both our car #129 and our teammate Buddy Feldkamp #829 finish the 2017 NORRA together!




Party Time!


I guess I should feel pretty blessed. Dave Tilton worked his butt off to get two race cars to NORRA and even though there was a ton of attrition we managed a 1st and 2nd and everyone made it home safe. See you next year NORRA!

The Hardware! Special thanks to our crew, Mark Miller, left, driver Jake Johnson, second from left, and Dave Tilton builder and prepper of #129 and #829, Also thank you to the Feldkamp's and Glen Helen Raceway, Mickey Thompson Tires, Joe Gibbs/Driven racing oils, Bob Giese Racing Engines and Wright Gearbox.

 

Rory

Crayola Killer
"We also had an interesting race in a race as I had bet Rory our little funco with stock VW suspension could beat their Larry Ragland 400+hp Porsche powered Monster with twice the suspension travel to San Filipe on time. After making the bet, Rory called me a few days later questioning the bet because I might put Jake Johnson in the car all day. I really wasn't sure what our plan was at that time, but I thought regardless I might have made a bad bet. This was truly a David vs. Goliath race to San Filipe."

Congrats on the $20 bet Bob. Jake was on fire on Day 1, pushing a little too hard for our liking as he beat us by a good margin. That little Funco scoots and people underestimate them, although Jeff Furrier and myself drove the Chenowth 1000 in 2011 so we know how fast they can be, especially in the tight twisty stuff. Jake and I had been talking before the race and we were having a good laugh about the bet and decided AFTER San Felipe to pull your chain a little.....all in good fun. On a side note, maybe next year we can bet again but this time you can actually do some driving instead of having your hired gun do all the work...hahahaha. Maybe we should have snuck in Larry Ragland for the day, I guarantee the results would have been different (since he is a real race car driver, Ed and I not so much :D)

Ed and myself had to remind ourselves on day 1 that they were not handing out trophies in San Felipe and to keep our eyes on the big picture. With that being said, you guys beat us fair and square and it was fun trash talking about it over the last month or so. This is what NORRA is all about, having good times with good friends. See you guys next year, $20 bet for 2018 in affect. LOL

Bob, did you guys win one of these cool Era trophies?!?!?! :D
norra-mexican1000-2017-finish-4230 (2).jpg

Photo credit RDC
 

LantanaTX

Well-Known Member
"We also had an interesting race in a race as I had bet Rory our little funco with stock VW suspension could beat their Larry Ragland 400+hp Porsche powered Monster with twice the suspension travel to San Filipe on time. After making the bet, Rory called me a few days later questioning the bet because I might put Jake Johnson in the car all day. I really wasn't sure what our plan was at that time, but I thought regardless I might have made a bad bet. This was truly a David vs. Goliath race to San Filipe."

Congrats on the $20 bet Bob. Jake was on fire on Day 1, pushing a little too hard for our liking as he beat us by a good margin. That little Funco scoots and people underestimate them, although Jeff Furrier and myself drove the Chenowth 1000 in 2011 so we know how fast they can be, especially in the tight twisty stuff. Jake and I had been talking before the race and we were having a good laugh about the bet and decided AFTER San Felipe to pull your chain a little.....all in good fun. On a side note, maybe next year we can bet again but this time you can actually do some driving instead of having your hired gun do all the work...hahahaha. Maybe we should have snuck in Larry Ragland for the day, I guarantee the results would have been different (since he is a real race car driver, Ed and I not so much :D)

Ed and myself had to remind ourselves on day 1 that they were not handing out trophies in San Felipe and to keep our eyes on the big picture. With that being said, you guys beat us fair and square and it was fun trash talking about it over the last month or so. This is what NORRA is all about, having good times with good friends. See you guys next year, $20 bet for 2018 in affect. LOL

Bob, did you guys win one of these cool Era trophies?!?!?! :D
View attachment 180655
Photo credit RDC
Haha, I couldn't afford to drive the whole race and Jake shared expenses. We tried to split to total race miles. He didn't use up the car at all on day 1 and gave me a perfect car for day 2. You guys were very fast but the terrain on day 1 favored our car. I am sure you smoked me on all those whoops leaving San Filipe! 6" front and 8" rear travel really slows us in the really rough areas.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

jps1145

Well-Known Member
Man! just think, I could've been there! I have to make better plans next year! Nice report!
 

Fast Eddy

Well-Known Member
A great lesson learned here is always go through the details when you place a wager. LOL. I wasn't going to deviate from my style of wheeling the car no matter what. Little story on what happened in Loreto. I went off the line 33 and Mark McMillen went off 34th. in 2016 I went off in 34th and Mark went off in 35th. I know this because the time sheet was still on my hood from 16. Over 100 more entries and we actually moved up 1 spot from the previous year. When you get a chance to pace your race off a legendary winner like Mark it helps a ton. 75% of the cars that passed us we passed back on the same special. Sometimes, and in our case all the time going slower is actually faster. Take no chances, keep air in your tires and try like heck to never get out of the seat. Look forward to next year.
 

Jeff Furrier

Well-Known Member
ADVERTISER
I didn't see a Chicane either, I all I saw was a giant hole that almost gathered me as I was looking at the Gordon car. I checked up,, then got on the gas hard and rode a sweet nose wheelie praying the front bumper wouldn't dig.

Its hard to judge times on these stages, there way too many variables that effect times like on a closed circuit. Its a tough balance at NORRA figuring out how hard to push the car, but keeping it rolling at 80 percent is usually a better strategy than running a 100 percent and risking down time. That said, we weren't pushing too hard and had all kinds of down time! I'd give up the 20 bucks to lose the battle but win the war any day. The Funco is fast for sure, especially for its age.

What did Rod Hall used to say? "Slow enough to win"
 
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