The SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge is one of the most unique off-road races of the season in that it mixes the best of long distance desert racing with spectator friendly short course viewing. The race consists of two days of racing eight laps around a rugged 6.25-mile course, including an infield with the famous “Laughlin Leap” as part of the course. Racers start two vehicles wide, drag racing to the first jump leading out into the treacherous Nevada desert. Considered the best off-road race for spectators, it features multiple spectator viewing areas, including a stadium seating area which features the extremely popular SCORE Vision, a gigantic large-screen LCD display, showing live footage from approximately 95 percent of the race course. The 14th annual SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge featured motorsports fans and racers from 17 states, as well as racers from Mexico and Germany all converging in Laughlin, NV, the desert resort town along the banks of the Colorado River.
On Saturday, BJ Baldwin rocketed off the start drag racing Robby Gordon to the first tabletop jump and out into the desert. The racing was heated as drivers battled for every inch of every lap. By lap five BJ had fallen back due to mechanical issues. Prior to the race, a new floorboard had been added to BJ’s #1 Trophy Truck to lengthen the brake pedal for increased leverage. The new floorboard had no holes to allow rocks to fall out. Every time a rock got behind the gas pedal the throttle would stick wide open. In order to prevent a catastrophic accident BJ had to shut the ignition off to get his truck to slow down and then re-fire it after un-jamming the throttle. The final result of the day was a 5th in trophy trucks and 5th overall for BJ Baldwin.
Sunday would prove to be even more frustrating as the two time defending Laughlin Desert Challenge champ showcased his spectacular driving, climbing from the 5th position to 1st on time when his transmission suddenly failed. Not one to give up, BJ whipped the truck into reverse (the one gear left working) and finished almost a whole lap in reverse. Upon crossing the finish line to cheering crowds, BJ set out to finish the 8th and final lap, but was unable to do so within the time limit.
“ This course is always tough. Tavo did great on Saturday. We had trouble with the throttle sticking wide open for all 8 laps on Saturday. It progressively got worse. It slowed us down a lot. Sunday was great! I felt really good. The truck and the new General Tires were working great. I was pacing myself but trying to move up steadily. I had caught up with Robby on time and put about 33 seconds on him when my transmission went. I was so bummed when I felt it go. I thought I might be able to limp it on in, or at least complete all eight laps, so I put in reverse and attempted to complete the race. My new General Tires actually work great in reverse too! Robby Gordon did great this weekend, he drove smart both days to take the win. Now I am going to focus on getting ready for Parker,” stated the confident BJ Baldwin.
Check out BJ Baldwin’s website for race results, photos and video at http://ballisticbjbaldwin.com/
BJ Baldwin’s next race will be the BITD Parker 425 February 6th – 8th.
BJ Baldwin is sponsored by:
General Tire, Vision-X lights, and King Shocks
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