Swanty Racing #1350 race report

Rory

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What an epic race, not the result we were looking for but we gave Baja all we had and came up short. I apologize in advance for the long winded report.

Our race weekend started early Tuesday morning with a caravan down to San Diego. We waited in line with a bunch of other racers to get across the border and it seemed to be taking longer than normal. Turns out a bunch of guys in front of us had no paper work on trailers, race cars or tow vehicles. Once we got to the front of the line I handed them the paperwork for all three vehicles and we were on our way within 45 seconds....literally.

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From there we went straight to tech/contingency and put the truck in line. I have NEVER been to a SCORE race where everything from registering for the race and tech went so smoothly. If we would have had our crap together better we could have had the truck through the tech/contingency line in an hour and 45 minutes from start to finish. We got held up with a GPS problem and the Stella mount that never made it to the race shop before the race so that added 2 1/2 hours. Still, for a Baja 1000 tech day, that was a breeze!

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We put the truck to bed and had some dinner and some good times. Wednesday we got up early and finished some last minute things to the truck. Nothing like NOT having to sit in line ALL day at tech the day before the race, all of our guys were well rested for the next day. We had a plan to have 3 race teams for this race. Race 1 would be myself and Wes Green taking the truck to race mile 365 and handing it over to Race 2 (Tracy Rubio an RD Miner). Tracy and RD would then hand the truck over to truck owner Cody Swanty and Ken Devault at race mile 785 to the finish (Race 3).

I had race 2 and 3 head south in the afternoon to get some miles under there belt for the long race to come. The plan was to have both teams well rested before they got in the race trucks (and chase trucks) so we didn't have anyone blowing bubbles on the hwy or race track because they had been up all day and all night. Once the race truck work was done it was time to send the guys south. Thanks to Jacey Swanty for setting up the chase trucks with medical supplies. We each had a medical bag with IV equipment and some meds if anyone needed them.

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Wednesday night we were setting the lights and had a small electrical fire in one of the Hella lights. It was confined to the one light but still a little unsettling since this wasn't my truck and Cody had already been on the hwy for about 5 hours heading south. I figured minus one light was not going to kill us so we unplugged the light and continued setting the lights. We buttoned up the truck and now it was time for bed.

Race morning we parked at the Coral Marina hotel so we could relax before getting in line. We wanted to get through town since we were staying near LaBufadora and left early just in case there was traffic issues. This is the worst part about racing.....hurry up and wait.

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We finally head to the staging area and still have another 1 1/2 hour wait. Ed Yeager stops by and tells us he wants input for the new MagLOCK air clips he developed. If you guys have not seen these yet they are awesome. Instead of me trying to explain it to you, just check out the website..... Maglock
I also brought along my 9 year old Ironclad gloves ( Ironclad Performance Wear - Gloves that get the job done. ) as a good luck charm. These are the same gloves I used in our 2009 win at the Baja 1000 and was looking for any luck I could find.

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Finally, the start line was here. I was extremely nervous because i had never driven the ProTruck before except for the day before and the last thing i wanted to do was screw up and not get the truck to race 2 and race 3. 75%, that was the goal, don't be stupid, don't take chances.
GREEN FLAG....GO!
Our only competition was Jason Vanderborn in 1377 and he started right in front of us. Jason and his wife are from Canada (ay) and are super good people. He was crusing right along and was going under the 37 mph speed limit so I snuck by him out of town and we smiled and waved.

The course was pretty rough on the other side of Ojos and thats when i first discovered that the ProTruck did NOT like big bumps. The carb would flood out and take a minute or 2 to start. The 2nd time it happened around race mile 40 1377 got back around us but he stopped first to see if we were good....class act. We gave him a thumbs up and then we got going again. We caught 1377 again around the 60 mile mark and then headed to the road crossing at KM 77. It was pretty dusty over there and the wind was non existent. RDC got a shot of us around race mile 80 as we plowed through a small silt area...

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The truck was starting to be much more predictable and I was getting the hang of this "truck racing thing". I could not believe how well this truck worked, it was so fun to drive and did not want to jump around all over the track. It has its limits but I never felt like I had any "Oh S*%^#&@$#&" moments.

**Footnote. To the guy in the VERY NICE luxury Ford Raptor preunner (white with camo wrap), if you're gonna drive on the race track during a race, maybe take a look behind you every once in a while and make sure you're not impeding the races of RACERS as they have enough to worry about over 1134 miles. I must have followed you for 4 miles and you had no clue we were back there. I was so mad when you finally pulled over I stopped just to let you know you were #1 in my book.

Continuing....made it to BFG pit 1, no issues, 55 gallons of fuel and we were on our way. The sun was setting and we headed towards Diablo dry lake. The dust in San Matais was horrible and while messing with the lights I hit the trans fan switch. 5 minutes later the trans temp was climbing and it took a minute to figure out why. I cruised for about 5 miles just in case and let the trans cool. The fastest I could get across the lake bed was 85 mph and then we hit a block wall of blinding dust. I knew the first silt bed was coming and i didn't want to get stuck behind anyone going blind into it so i backed off. As soon as I did that I got a break in the dust and saw a place to pass a UTV and Baja challenge car before the silt bed and did it. We stayed wide left because there was already a small car lot forming in the silt bed. No issues and it was on to San Felipe.

I hate San Felipe....

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The whoops south of town are bad. The ProTruck doesn't like them, I don't like them and my co-rider doesn't like them. I tried to get on top of them and I did for a short time but it was beating the poor truck to death so i just slowed down and crawled through them. No reason to use up the truck 200 miles into the race. Around this time my kidneys were shot. i had to pee so bad my teeth were floating. We pulled over and "checked out the truck", did our business and continued on. 1377 never got by us so we were still leading.

We jumped on the hwy, thank gawd, and that gave our bodies a break from the pounding we were taking over the past 30 miles. I was also starving and we radio'ed to BFG that we were coming in for fuel "and a couple sammiches if you have any". BFG pit came back over the radio with "Peanut butter and jelly or Tri- tip"? No need to answer that. I can tell you they fueled us up and we had to pull forward of the pit 50 feet and put the truck in park so we could finish our sammich. Yes, you heard it right we finished our sammich before we took off....hahahaha. That would turn out to be a smart move because next up was the 2nd car lot at race mile 292.

Before pit 2 I had a pounding headache but after some food myself and my co-rider Wes felt much better. Before we dropped into the wash at race mile 291 I saw a ton of amber lights and I knew something was up. Sure enough it was about 10-15 cars/trucks stuck up to there axles in soft sand. I stopped short without getting stuck but with no where to go. I sent Wes out with a flash light to find a way around. It took about 20-25 minutes but Wes found a spot. I knew I was going to get stuck but at least there wouldn't be anyone in front of us. I blasted through an opening in the trees and almost made it out and started to get stuck. We pulled out the Maxx traxx and within 5 minutes we were not stuck anymore. I did drive about 1/4 mile to find some hard packed dirt to pull over and wait for Wes to show up. We lost about 45 minutes but still did not get passed by 1377.

Onto Coco's. All the chase crews using the race course as a chase road were very considerate and I tried to go around them without blasting them. Then there was the idiot in the black Jeep Cherokee that wanted to race us and drive against traffic at 80 mph right in front of us, passing LINES of chase vehicles and making it very dangerous. Needless to say I was not impressed and I hope he is searching Craigslist for a new windshield and head lights after I roosted him. Not professional on my part but I was caught up in the moment.

We had an uneventful run thru Frog canyon and El Crucero. The Stella device worked great and everyone pretty much moved over when buzzed. I think a few of the UTV guys, most likely new guys didn't truly understand the concept because they would pull over a little but they wouldn't slow down to let you pass safely. Not all but a few.

I was to turn the truck over to Tracy and RD at race mile 365 (BOLA hwy) and radioed to them when we got close. At race mile 356 I saw my buddy Reid Rutherfords 3000 truck stuck in a ditch. It didn't look that bad so i stopped. They had a tow strap out and I told them I'd try it once so make it count. We pulled him out with no issues and we were back on our way within 5 minutes. I was hoping that a little Baja Karma would help, we can use all we can get. I would find out later Reid won his class....congrats buddy.

We pitted at 365, Wes and i got out, Tracy and RD got in, we adjusted the top lights, replaced 3 missing lug nuts on the rear wheel (wow), and sent them on there way.

Short story from here since I don't have all the details. Truck ran great to race mile 524, still leading, then they got into the rough stuff and silt. The truck started flooding out again and every time it happened it resulted in getting stuck. 5 hours to do 80 miles. They got to the BFG pit that was shutting down and tried to repair the carb. More hours were lost working on the truck We had a spare carb but some parts were missing so it wouldn't work. They also noticed the jack was now missing and the next BFG pit was soon going to be closing and they were 150 miles away. We don't have answers yet for the carb issue but hope to figure it out. The difficult decision was made to pull the plug at race mile 606...

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Well the trip home was even more exciting than the race. Truck was loaded on the trailer and they stayed at a hotel for the night. When they woke up they noticed the spring hanger on the trailer was broke. no problem, local welder fixed it in about 2 hours and they were on the road to Coco's...

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Halfway down the dirt road to Coco's the rear hub decided it didn't like being attached to the trailer anymore so it took a hike...

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The hub assembly was found and rewelded to the truck in Gonzoga bay (unloaded the race truck and drove it to the PEMEX) and they were on there way to San Felipe. If that wasn't enough the trailer kicked up a rock from one of the pot holes and threw it through the windshield of the chase truck following closely behind...Poor Joey had glass all over him but no injuries...

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We were soo bummed we couldn't get the truck to Cody Swanty, he has put so much time and effort into this race and for him to not get a chance to drive is disheartening. If you don't know Cody, he's one of the coolest guys you'll ever meet. He spent a ton of money to race this race and when he didn't get a chance to drive his own race truck at the Baja 1000, how did he act? Like a true gentleman. No yelling and screaming, no pouting in the corner, he just brushed it off and said, "well, it is what it is". While sitting in line at the border, Cody tried to make a little money back by selling some snacks....

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LMAO. Hopefully we can talk him into racing the SNORE Rage at the River in a couple weeks, no prep on the truck, just checkers or wreckers!

Do the guys a solid, if you're looking for a new car or truck, come visit the guy at Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram & Used Car Dealer Kingman AZ and give him your business. Nothing like giving back to those in the industry.

I'd also like to Congratulate Jason Vanderborn and his wife who won the ProTruck class after 45 straight hours behind the wheel. Those two did the entire race themselves and poor Jason was blowing bubbles at the finish! Congrats buddy we'll see you at the next one.

Sorry for the long winded report guys, there is no easy way to tell our story.

**
BFG Tires- No Flats, I don't know how that can get, the rocks were brutal. still look new.
Method Wheels- No wheel issues, only lost 3 lugs but that's on us. Thanks Jaime!
Kroyer- Motor pulled hard and the power was amazing. Completely happy with the motor program.
Collins Motorsports- Best prep job ever per Cody Swanty.
Mastercraft Safety- Best in the business
UPR racing- Thanks for the GoPros and Helmet Jeff!
King Shocks- Performance was outstanding.
MagLOCK- check it out guys, really!
Ironclad gloves- Nice to have if you have to work on the truck
Ntense Tee's- Thanks for the great Apparel Chad.

Special thanks to Cody Swanty for trusting me enough to let me race his truck with NO experience at all. I wish we could have at least got a finish for him but Baja always has the final word.

Big thanks to the chase crews: Pete VanRooy, Mario Gutierrez, Ladell Fletes, Joey Buchanan, Cody Swanty Jr, Jacey Swanty, Robert Pittman, Lee Latimer, Leonard Bacon, Tad Levandowski, Horacio Baca. Julio Pichardo, Tomas Pichardo, Cory Hetner and Mike McCarthy.
 
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sb4pro

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Awesome write up sorry Baja won but then again does Baja ever really get beat :)
 

NicksTrix

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fun read rory. sorry the story didn't end as everyone wished for but that's part of the adventure. curious what you find on the carb issue.
might want to check your new trailer out real well. suck to have weld issues.
 

ErikIrvine

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Great write up, thanks for sharing Rory!
 

Gary Plagman

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Great write up

Thanks for sharing the fun read Rory!

If you don't know Cody, he's one of the coolest guys you'll ever meet. He spent a ton of money to race this race and when he didn't get a chance to drive his own race truck at the Baja 1000, how did he act? Like a true gentleman. No yelling and screaming, no pouting in the corner, he just brushed it off and said, "well, it is what it is". its Fate.

Baja won ,but then again does Baja ever really get beat it's true adventure.
 

J Burleson

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Great write up Rory! I was the 2nd car at the parking lot at 292 I was running all by myself and came around a tight left to a TT buried. My only out was to blocked by the driver shoveling. We tried to direct everyone the best we could, but it got ugly QUICK! There must have been 20+ cars in various states of buried by the time we got pulled out. HUGE Thanks to the guy in the silver Jeep.
And that butthole in the camo raptor was all over the course with no regard for the race going on!
 

Rory

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Couple videos I just uploaded to YouTube. I'm pretty much driving like a sissy for the first 30 miles due to I've NEVER racing a truck before and the last thing I wanted to do was be THAT guy after Cody Swanty dumped a ton of money to come race. Was planning on GoPro-ing the entire race but the power cord was damaged the day before the race so we only had battery power. I got about the first 65 miles and that's all she wrote. I might have more footage from Tracy Rubio's run going into BOLA but I haven't received the GoPro yet to check the footage. Enjoy....

Race mile 8- 15-ish....


Race mile 15- 27-ish...

 

JayQC

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Oh F yes.

I love long onboard Baja videos I watch every single one of them.

Thank you so much
 

Rory

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Race mile 27-40-ish...


Race mile 40-48-ish...


Race mile 48-55-...


Race mile 55-59...

 

loufish

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Really enjoyed reading your report, considering the race you're covering it was not too long...:D
 
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