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TORRA

Well-Known Member
The Buffalo Soldier 200 will start in down town Sierra Blanca, TX. Traveling clockwise around the 95 mile loop the racers will be on the fastest portion of the course until around race mile 23 where the road narrows and starts to wind it's way up to Indian Hot Springs Ranch where the drop offs beside the course are somewhat breathtaking. The first Stop and Go checkpoint is at RM 31 at the Indian Hot Springs Compound. The West Texas Raptor Group (WTRG) will be manning the checkpoint and working recovery at that portion of the course. They will also be acting as a publicly manned pit area and will be there to re-fuel or help fix any issues the racers may have at that stage. Heading out of Indian Hot Springs Ranch the racers will find themselves running right beside the Rio Grande River along the border with Mexico. Paralleling the river for around 20 miles the road still winds but widens out some allowing some faster speeds. But, washouts are common in this area so be mindful. At RM 52 the main road turns to asphalt, for the next 12 miles the track will run alongside the pavement where whoops, humps, rollers and washouts can be found all the way to RM 64 and the second Stop and Go Checkpoint and pit area. After the second Stop and Go and maybe a splash of fuel, the racers will be on the pavement for just over half a mile before dropping off into the Byuca. For the next 25 miles the wash, which starts out wide, will pass under I-10 and other bridges along the way before the wash twists and turns, narrowing down just before popping out of it around RM 89. Again, the road straightens out some transitioning to the ancient pavement which was the old El Paso Highway. After reaching town and the main pits for a splash of fuel racers will start the second and final lap. Thanks for racing TORRA! Let's #makesomedust, #dddayz
 

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scary fast hummer

Well-Known Member
Looks like fun!
 

Dschick88

Member
Ya'll are doing great things for the sport in Texas keep up the good work. Hopefully I'll have my truck finished for next year!
 

TORRA

Well-Known Member
Here is the recap of the Buffalo Soldier 200, we had a great time at our last race of the 2016 season!



The 2016 Buffalo Soldier 200 was set to be an excellent close to the inaugural season of the Tejas Off Road Racing Association. The race was also a part of the 2nd annual Dusty Desert Dayz festival in the town of Sierra Blanca, Texas in beautiful Hudspeth County. Racers and townsfolk had been looking forward to this race all season. Much preparation was in order and TORRA had work to do to prepare 95 miles of race course.
The course marking began Wednesday before the race with mileage marked every two miles and direction, corners, turns, and cautions all marked with signage and ribbons. While this was a very similar course as used during our inaugural race, the Vaquero 400, this area is very dynamic through out the year with intensive changes occurring due to a large amount of rain and the flash flooding known to the high desert region. This weather can create drastic changes in the terrain, specifically the 35 miles of Bayuca or river bottom. Accurately marking a course such as this took a couple of days and was finished on Friday.

Racers began to arrive for tech inspection and registration on Friday. The community of Sierra Blanca has been gracious enough to us to offer their facilities for us to utilize during our events. This includes their Ag barn in which we held tech inspection and registration and who's parking lot in which we setup our pits. Our Tech and Registration lasts all day Friday from 8am to 10pm and is open to the public. This allows for spectators to have an up close and first hand look at the race vehicle and to speak with teams to wish them look and learn about what it takes to be a desert racer. This time is also used by our racers for last minute preparations. This time is also used for the multiple film crews in attendance to collect footage and interview teams for their different video projects. This year we had Kyle Walker who was key to organizing the film crew at the Mesclaero 175 with the Little Bird helicopter, we also had a French documentary crew in attendance speaking with teams about the reasons they are passionate about off road racing. This crew, lead by Sebastien Floc'h, who was working on a project to document different motorsports across the United States.

Through out the day race teams arrived from all across Texas and the surrounding states to test their metal against our final race. The day was filled with excitement and enjoyment as the teams mingled with the townsfolk and spectators who were setting up for Saturday's festivities.

Many of the competitors had arrived by Friday evening to participate in the prerun. On a course this large an open prerun is not feasible at this time so a controlled lap is taken. The teams experienced heavy dust as a precursor to conditions on Saturday and dealt with running through parts of the course in the dark. Some of the vehicles required a splash of fuel which was handled by our volunteer pit program at one of the chasable pits. Once all of the vehicles were in from the prerun some feedback was given by different classes and slight course adjustments were made to accommodate clean lap finishes. The rest of Friday night was used by us to continue to register entries and the teams to ready their vehicles for the next day's race.

The course set in front of the competitors would start in historic Sierra Blanca with a sharp right turn right in the center of town to head south towards Sunset Ranches. After a high speed run in the dirt across long straights, sweeping curves, and rolling jumps the course would lead them directly towards Old Mexico and into the mountains where racers would find ruggedly majestic terrain that is likened by some to the remote areas of Baja. This section of the course enters the Indian Hot Springs Ranch and gives racers a 2500' elevation change and breathtaking views across a narrow ridge line. After reaching Checkpoint 1 and Remote Pit A racers continue out of IHS towards the telephone road which consisted of about 15 miles of steep rollers along FM 192. This lead racers to Checkpoint 2 and Remote Pit B, our only chasable pit. After a splash of fuel if needed racers continued down 192 a short distance to drop into the Bayuca and continue on their last 35 mile stretch to town. They are rewarded with the excitement of racing directly under Interstate 10 and a few active and abandoned rail bridges. The layout of the Bayuca allows for racers to pick their best line, especially on the second lap when the gritty sandy bottom has loosened up after multiple cars passing through. Rocks and flood debris must be avoided providing a heightened sense of awareness, especially for the handlebar classes. The end of the Bayuca is through a narrow deep canyon wide enough for single lane traffic with a steep hill climb out to reach flat land and the last five miles to town. Once racers are out they open up their vehicles in the triple digits (if capable) along Old El Paso Highway, and abandoned stretch of deteriorated and broken highway. With town in their sights racers continue along dirt paths where the county had built a few jumps and short whoop sections. After climbing up and dropping off the levee a choice is presented, either pit or continue your lap.If pitting racers made a left hand turn and continued down the pavement on a speed limited pit road to find their pit and back down this road to reenter the race course. If continuing their lap and not pitting, racers jump into the canal in town right front of the city park and hit a feature table top jump built just for the spectators. They continue down the canal and towards the timing gate to complete their lap and start their second.

5:45 came early the following morning and was met with a driver's meeting in the Ag Barn for the handle bar classes and Stock UTV class, the community supported this early rise by offering breakfast and coffee to the racers at the driver's meeting. We covered minor changes to the course, safety precautions, and remote pit and check point usage. Racers were staged in the pits in their starting order and parade lapped around town to reach the start line in the middle of Historic Sierra Blanca.

Our solo quad rider kicked the race off at the break of dawn and set the rhythm for the other competitors to follow. One by one each competitor left the line to battle each other and the course for the next two hundred miles on their way to victory.

We started the morning event with a single quad, nine motorcycles (one of which was James Lowenberg's teenage son Max), and two stock UTVs. By the end of the race only two bikes would not complete their intended laps. An interesting note about this race and the handle bar classes; our race logo featured an old solider straddling a motorcycle to pay homage to the Iron Riders, a division of the Buffalo Soldiers (who our race was named after), who were the the first unit in the US Army to test the feasibility of bicycles as transportation for message running and in the battle field. We felt it important to represent this iconic group in our logo, in fact out of all of our classes the motorcycle class had the greatest turnout.

By this time other activities had begun surround the Dusty Desert Dayz festival including a 1/4 mile hand drop drag race between Gully Brothers Motorsports and the El Paso Corvette Club. There was much excitement developed around racing a ready Class 1 car against a C7 corvette through the closed streets. The crowds grew in town at the park as the bands warmed up their instruments and players warmed up their bodies for the mud volley ball tournament. Many other festivities had begun including a Semi truck show, motorcycle rally, and vendor booths.

As the early afternoon settled in and the morning race had finished up, racers for the afternoon event were rounded up and gathered together at the 4H Ag Barn for their drivers meeting. Roll Call was taken to ensure as many teams were represented as possible and points of interest discussed including the operation of the pits, use of sheriff's deputies to block off the roads, slight changes to the course, caution areas, and starting order. After the conclusion of the driver's meeting the cars were staged in the pits in their starting order and escorted through town toward the start line. The inflatable arch was set across the roadway, deputies in place to regulate the traffic, and spectators lined the sides of the road to watch the start. Classes left the line in order from assumed fastest to slowest, Unlimited, Water Cooled, Pro UTV, Desert Trucks, and finally Air Cooled.

Separation between vehicles was timed to one minute to help provide gaps in the dust as racers reached the dirt. As the green flag held by our official trophy girls dropped the racers lit up their tires to put on a good show for the spectators in town.

The right hand turn leaving downtown provided an excellent location for racers to drift their cars southward towards the dirt and gave photographers and videographers in the crowd an opportunity for an exciting shot.
The race course would right away challenge drivers and teams with one car spitting a piston causing a small but quickly contained fire only miles from the start. Over the next few hours a hand full of other vehicles would succumb to the course before the end of their first lap. In all 8 vehicles would not complete their first lap, showing that the Sierra Blanca loop was a serious race course to contend with. As the time clicked by the first signs of dust could be seen rising in the distance to the west of town signifying the location of the racers coming in hot on Old El Paso Highway.

Communication among the deputies was organized and accurate, noted by their movement around town to seal off the roads once the leading race vehicles were spotted a few miles from town. Excitement in the park grew as the sound of the unlimiteds could be heard echoing off the buildings and levee walls as they thundered towards the canal crossing. Most would hit the pit first and then the jumps in the canal providing a spectacular show of noise and color for the spectators in the park. They roared down the rest of the course to the timing gate and raced out of town to start their second lap.

By the time most of the racers began their second lap news had arrived to race ops that one competitor who has missed the start of the race was ready to test their metal against the remaining daylight. Billy Lowfatbug Dobbs in his 1600 buggy had been dealing with an odd electrical issue while the field had been racing their first lap. His determination to repair his car in the pits was rewarded with a running car able to enter the race course before the final lap cut off time. He would continue on his lap and make an impressive showing being the only air cooled to complete an entire lap and doing so setting an approximately 2 hour and 30 minute time. We were glad to see Billy and his co driver Joseph GoJoe Chavez cross the finish line after all the trouble they worked through at the start of the race.

Lap two claimed a couple more cars and as the sun began to fade behind the mountains the remaining racers made their way in and found our trophy girls enthusiastically waving the checkered flag for them. Out of 32 competitors 20 completed all of their laps including young Max who was slated to finish one lap on his motorcycle. The racing was close with many classes separated by mere seconds and a few racers posing for their checkered photos with their competitors in frame. When an off road race turns into a drag race towards the finish, the excitement is felt by all!

Morning Race Results:
Motorcycle
#759 - Lowenberg James
#62 - Michael Keagle
#013 - Jacob Foster

Quad
#383 - Juan Jimenez

Stock UTV
#1959 - Kevin Gutierrez
#1997 - Leonardo Gtz

Fastest Morning Lap
#013 - Jacob Foster - 2:09:07

Afternoon Race Results:
Unlimited
#116 - Mike Perez
#123 - Christopher Lee Saenz
#1569 - Cary Francis

Water Cooled
#1023 - Omar Navarro / Nves Razing
#1059 - Brady Richard

Pro UTV
#936 - Alex Nicholas
#1958 - George Felix

Desert Truck
#807 - Jared Blocker
#852 - Jose Perez / Bullfrog Racing
#804 - Manuel Rico

Fastest Afternoon Lap
#123 - Chris Saenz - 1:54:42

Races like these would not be possible with out the support of volunteers to help keep things running smoothly. We would like to thank Michael Roche and Vanessa Kost for running our timing gate and keeping track of racer positions, Steven Dodd for tech inspecting our race vehicles as well as Steven and his wife April along with Todd Lord for operating Checkpoint 2 and Remote Pit B, Jeremy Luna and his crew with DangerClose Off-Road/ Warfighter Welding Services for helping mark the course and running Checkpoint 1 and Remote Pit A, Don Owings, Jimmy Lance, and their crew for helping mark the course and providing recovery assistance during the race, Holly Rush for helping with recovery, Art Parra and Carlos Redes and his team assisting with recovery, Jason Busby, Ashley Gordon, April and Israel Sosa for helping with registration, checkpoints, photos and videos, and Miriam Mitsu and Vanessa Padilla for being our awesome trophy girls. We would also like to thank the town of Sierra Blanca for hosting an incredible weekend, Hudspeth County Extension 4H for allowing us the use of their facilities, Hudspeth County Sheriff's Office for providing deputies to ensure our race course and spectators are safe, and North Hudspeth County EMT for being on stand by should we need them. We would also like to thank Dennis Walker and his family and Terrye Wellborn Shirley at Indian HOT Springs RANCH along with ALL of the residents of Hudspeth County for their hospitality and graciousness in allowing us to use their land during our races. This was a spectacular way to end our inaugural season and we would like to thank our partners, Tri-Ace Tire USA, PCI Race Radios, Camping World, SLIME, Midland Safety & Health, O'Reilly Auto Parts, Weddle Industries, and Off Road International. We are very excited about the future of off road racing in Texas and look forward to seeing more of you out with us as spectators and racers during our 2017 season!
 
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